How to make great portraits in full sun!

Let me tell you, making a great photo in the middle of the day is not ideal, but so often it is reality. While many of you are professionals,  most are not really “commercial” photographers, commercial photography is a specialty market done mainly through advertising agencies and art departments. Let’s not get hung up on commercial photography, back to portraits! While you will almost never see a commercial shoot being done in the middle of the day you will however see lots and lots of portraits being taken then. Why? It’s because portrait photographers work with the general public, with people,,,  We try for the best time of day, but find we must work around our client’s work schedule, their family members, their activities, nap times, you know…. Life.

You might have noticed in the last video we did a while back that we used a great big umbrella, not it wasn’t one of the other chopstick guy’s patio sets. It was the Photek Sunbuster, they're not cheap, and they’re not crazy expensive either, right around 250 bucks. It even has a bracket so you can mount it on a light stand. We use a lot of things to scrim light, things like a 5 in 1 reflector or even our own shadows. We are here to tell you, the Sunbuster is our favorite scrim, it’s fairly light and easy to use. The biggest problem is overcoming laziness and just pulling it out! When we do, it’s magic!

 Check out the Sunbuster here at B&H Photo:  http://go.magik.ly/ml/aqqr/

Check out the Sunbuster here at B&H Photo: http://go.magik.ly/ml/aqqr/

So what are we doing with it? Why are we using it? We use it to take off all the hot spots on the model’s face so the light is even, it’s great because it is a diffusion umbrella and it creates a wonderful pocket of light. Sometimes we don’t even need to fill it back in with anything. It also allows your model to comfortably open their eyes in the bright sun (on now, the lack of) and you get better expressions.

At this point as I said you could just start shooting, or fill the face back in with a reflector. Our favorite method (90% of the time) is that we then use our Interfit S1’s to fill back in with beautiful directional light. This… is a recipe for a great photo in full sun. Scrim off the bad light and fill it back in with beautiful tasty light!

 Here is the SunBuster on a light stand:  http://go.magik.ly/ml/aqqr/

Here is the SunBuster on a light stand: http://go.magik.ly/ml/aqqr/

So, give it a try! Next time you are out in the full sun, even if you don’t have a SunBuster, find something to scrim off the bad light and fill it back in with the good. Your subject will thank you!

And don’t forget… Say Sushi!

steve batz