As a photographer, you can either love or hate the daytime. A lot of photographers tend to enjoy daytime photography quite a bit because it would allow them to take advantage of the golden hour, a time of the day when all photographs look absolutely stunning. Photographers also appreciate the fact that during the day you have potential stretches of time where you would get phenomenal lighting that you can’t reproduce unless you have ridiculously expensive equipment and the patience to wait for specific situations where you would gain access to this kind of lighting.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people that hate the idea of their photography being subject to something that is not under their control. Artists tend to be very obsessive and controlling, and during the day you usually don’t have any option apart from waiting for the right moment. There is also the fact that the clouds can make or break your picture, and you would be subject to their movements. After all, as glorious as clouds can look in a picture, it is also important to note that you might not be going for that kind of vibe.
Hence, you need to learn to adapt to the way things are. As a photographer, it is your responsibility to make the best of the situation, because paying clients are going to want results no matter what. There are several ways for you to make the most of daylight conditions, and if you practice enough you will find yourself craving daylight because you would have become so adept at manipulating it!
One example of a situation where the light might not be on your side is to take into account the model’s skin tone or the color of the clothes she is wearing. Having the model block out the sun in your shot can create some powerful images with lighter skinned models, and you can use more direct sunlight the darker the model’s skin tone is. It is important that you learn to manipulate the sunlight to your advantage. A common problem that occurs in such situations involves sun gazing shots. These shots are always in high demand, but the problem here is that the model can end up squinting which would not look very good at all. Framing the picture in such a way that the model can tilt her head without looking directly at the sun can help you overcome this problem with ease.
However, these techniques all involve golden hour photo shoots. Any photographer would know that golden hour photo shoots are not always going to be possible. There are going to be times when you would have a photo shoot scheduled at a time like noon, and this is really going to be inconvenient because noon light is quite abrasive and can saturate all of your pictures. Thankfully, there is a way for you to handle this situation with ease. All you have to do is take your model into a shaded area. This shaded area would still be fairly brightly lit due to the noon sun, but it would not be so bright as to make your contrast settings useless. If you are worried about getting adequate lighting, try to get a white wall in the background. This would provide sufficient reflection which would allow for top notch shots to be taken in spite of the daylight conditions.
A way to further improve conditions during daylight is to make the daylight work for you. Reflectors are a good place to start because they can allow you to focus the light into spots that need it more than others. The Flexfill Collapsible Reflector is excellent for such purposes. It has a gold side if you want yellow tinged, sharp light as well as a white surface if the light you need is a bit on the softer side. Further softer light can be acquired through the use of diffusion scrims. These sheets of fabric break the light apart, diffusing it in such a way that the intensity of the light is reduced without providing any actual shade, thus helping you emulate golden hour conditions without actually having to wait for that particular period of time.
There are situations where none of these techniques would work, however. On a windy day, for example, your scrims and reflectors might end up being useless because you would not be able to make them stay in place. In such situations you might be tempted to call the whole shoot off, but rather than making such a drastic decision you should consider going for something a little more practical like using strobes. Strobe lights can really change the lighting dynamic in your pictures, making them excellent tools for you to look into. The main benefit of strobes is that you can emulate studio conditions in the great outdoors. A lot of photographers prefer studio conditions after all. That being said, it is important to note that a lot of the time strobe lighting would diffuse oddly in outdoor conditions which can be quite unflattering to your model.
As a photographer, you are going to have to improve your daylight photography skills. If you love daylight photography, but only in the golden hour, you have to become a great deal more versatile if you want to succeed. Additionally, if you prefer the studio setting, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t get that type of setting at all times. If you want to turn your photography passion into a viable career, you will have to learn how to make the daylight work for you. As can be plainly seen above, there are so many techniques available for you to use that there is absolutely no reason for you to worry about how you are going to improve your abilities as a daylight photographer.