The sun is an incredible thing. It lights up the world, feeds our solar panels and brightens our moods just by being there. As a photographer, I have to be honest, it is 150% my favorite light source! Hands down! Being able to use the god given light and sculpt it as I please is something that makes my heart sing! Yet, when it comes to the sun, and really any natural phenomenon, you have to work with it not against it! Play nice instead of fight against it! Trust me on this, it makes a huge difference!
So how do you plan to work with the sun?
That’s a great question!
The best way to make sure you have the most control over the sun is to pay attention to the time of day. You want the sun to be either on the way up or the way down, not directly above you. That way, the sun has a direction of light. That way the sun isn’t directly over your head and creating something we refer to as monster lighting. It sounds scarier than it is, PROMISE!! Monster lighting is when the light source is right above your head and creates shadows under your eyes.
Think about it like this, if you walk outside at high noon and look down. What do you see? Your shadow, but a really, really short shadow. This is a great indicator that it may not be the ideal time to plan for your photo session. Alternatively, if you go outside and see that your shadow is either very long in front of you or very long behind you, that is a great time for photography! A direction of light is a beautiful thing, it creates dreamy photos that tell a larger story!
Rule of Thumb: Plan your session either two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset! This will give you the ultimate amount of control over our favorite light source!