Useful Photography Tip #105: Shoot Portraits During the Day by Using the Shadows

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here.

Shooting during the middle of the day can be tough sometimes. One option is to backlight your subject, but another option to give you better control over the exposure of your images and the evenness of light is to shoot in the shadows. Taking your subject into the shadows (such as the shadows provided by a building) allows them to have even light all over by cutting it down in the first place. In contrast, bringing them into the light provided by the sun on the other hand will create shadows under their nose, eyes, and chin–and depending on the situation that can look flattering or not; and it’s usually the latter. To be fair, during an overcast day, the clouds will fix this problems for you.

By keeping your ISO low, your shutter speed high, and your subject in the shadows you can also shoot with a wider aperture to therefore send the background into a bokehlicious haze. Considering the fact that you’re also shooting in the shadows, it is also usually a great idea to expose for the shadows or even spot meter. In general, you may want to be anywhere from 1/3rd to 1 full stop overexposed to compensate for the shadows’ darkness and to also even out the lighting on the subject. That’s how we shot the image above and were able to get the look above.

And always remember: not every single image needs to be an HDR.