Capturing Summer Stunners


Remember: The sun is your friend.

When I first got into photography, I would regularly curse the sun’s presence because, as a newbie, I didn’t know how to get the big ball of blazing gases to work for me.

These days, I am well aware of the “golden hours” (the half hour before, and half hour after, sunrise or sunset) and the benefits of owning a diffuser. What’s more, I now know not to take aim at photo subjects at high noon on a bright and sunny summer day. Photographing people in the middle of the day is far from ideal, as the sun casts dark shadows on their faces, or causes them to squint and shade their eyes. To avoid this you may be tempted to move your subjects into the shade. However, in many cases, the stark contrast between a shaded subject and a bright background can also yield undesirable shots. If you are forced to shoot in the mid-day light use a diffuser to soften the light. A diffuser is a piece of translucent material which helps reduce glare and shadows by scattering the sun’s light. Those working on a budget could skip purchasing a professional-grade diffuser and opt to have a friend hold up a bed sheet to the side of the camera if there’s no way around taking outdoor portraits in the late morning or early afternoon when the sun is at its hottest.

An easier way to document summer stunners is to simply time your photo shoots so the sun works in your favor. Plan to take outdoor pictures in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays fall at more of an angle, creating longer and softer shadows. The sun’s gentle light will cast a warm glow on your subjects making them appear even more attractive. In addition, you will be better able to capture the mood of a lazy summer day by illuminating your images with rich, saturated colors.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.