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When shooting portraits in natural light there are three different scenarios: in full blown sunlight, in the shade, or a combination of the two. Each lend themselves to different situations and effects, but by far the most reliable for a standard portrait is to shoot in the shade.
The biggest reason: consistent lighting.
With two types of light, you’re getting a result that you need to meter twice for.
With sunlight, you’re often getting a result where you may create unflattering shadows or have a super crazy difference in metering (which could be okay).
But when shooting in the shade, you get completely even lighting to work with when it comes to the exposures. The lighting also usually comes from the side if you’re working with something like an awning. This can give off a natural softbox effect.
Keep this in mind when shooting portraits!