Shooting Outdoors With Bad Light

When shooting portraits outdoors, you will hear many photographers saying you will get the best lighting within a few hours before dusk or after dawn. Unfortunately, there are many times when you find yourself shooting at other times of the day. Depending on the skies, the sun could be producing a much harder light than desired. 

Coming from the creative duo at Mango Street, here are some of their tips that can help you achieve some great photos even in this harsh, bad light. A great additional piece of gear that is used for many of the tips is a 5-in-1 reflector. These reflectors have many applications that can help with indoor and outdoor photography, with and without the use of additional lighting gear. 

If you don't happen to have a reflector with you, the reflector isn't the only thing that can help. Scout the area for white walls to act as a bounce in the same way they used the white reflector. You could also use white ceilings or even other walls if you have a flash, but be mindful of potential color casting.

While these are great tips to help change "bad" light to maybe more desirable lighting, I would also say don't be afraid to embrace harsh light and see what you can create. What's your favorite time of the day to shoot outdoors with the sun?

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3 Comments

Alex Yakimov's picture

Solid tutorial. Great pick. Thank you, Alex.

barry cash's picture

really nice job next one give the kids some exposure values to start with and some tips on how exactly to hold a reflector and where the model should stand and what side of the light you want your camera to be shooting from.