How to Capture Flattering Portraits in Harsh Light

Portrait by Stephanie Skiff

Many photographers shy away from harsh, midday light because they feel that they can't produce attractive images that time of day. But schedules and assignments don't always align with your lighting preferences. Plus, it's just not true. You can capture great environmental portraits any time of day.

This portrait of Francesca Parnigoni by TDS Workshop attendee Stephanie Skiff was captured midday in contrasty lighting conditions at the beach. The trick to controlling the light is to add a top diffuser, such as a collapsable Westcott 40" white diffuser available for $29.

The diffuser is positioned between the sun and the subject.


If you have a second set of hands, you can add a fill light from another collapsable disc on the other side. One of the many advantages to this technique is that you can shoot in burst mode because there's no worry about flash recycle times.

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