Surviving Midday Sun
Intentional Storytelling with Daytime Light
IT’S A GORGEOUS DAY, SKY IS CLEAR AND YOUR KIDS WANT TO GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY. You’re dying to take some pictures, but there’s a problem - it’s 1:30 in the afternoon and the sun is high and harsh. What do you do? Do you leave your camera behind because you’re intimidated by the midday sun and extreme contrasts, or do you embrace the conditions and figure out how to make the light work for you? Life happens all day. Sometimes I would love to only shoot those golden hours of the day, they’re magical, but with 3 little kids at home, not at all feasible. I quickly realized if I wanted pictures of my children, I had to shoot around their schedules. I’ve even found that sometimes, the light midday is exactly what my images needed to transfer the energy that we were feeling in those moments. There is also something about the challenge of shooting mid day that gets my creative juices flowing.
SHOOTING MIDDAY CAN BE DIFFICULT IF WE LET IT LIMIT OUR VISION. Yes, at first glance it doesn’t seem as enchanting as that golden hour light with the long shadows and warm beautiful tones, but when we focus on the “brighter” side, we can see characteristics that only occur in full sun situations. Think about the colors achieved midday - they’re bold, vibrant and alive. That intensity is instant energy in terms of photography and it’s easily felt when people view these types of images. The sky will never be bluer than in afternoon sun. The contrast between light and dark is so absolute at this time of day making immensely dramatic images that when converted will also look stunning in black and white. We don’t need to be intimidated - we can still achieve powerful storytelling images midday if we know how to manipulate the light.
SO HOW DO WE LEARN TO WORK THE LIGHT TO OUR ADVANTAGE? Most importantly, we practice. We go outside and we shoot until we find what works for us and our personal style. We learn to seek out the things that can help us enhance or diffuse the light so that we can effectively tell our story. We begin to recognize what types of lighting situations are going to work and which are going to fail. Things that work for me may not work for you, but I’m going to offer up what I’ve learned anyway because some of those things just might. Let’s get started.
Katie Brenkert, of Katie Brenkert Photography, is a lifestyle/documentary photographer living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, 3 kids, puppy, some hermit crabs and a couple of fish. Her photography highlights life as a stay at home mom to her crazy crew because as a hobby photographer, her family is her inspiration and her muse. Although the love for taking pictures started as a passion for documenting, it has over time, morphed into a passion to create art. Kids change every single day and the desire to tell that story is what makes Katie want to pick up her camera. Her work has been published in Birds and Blooms Magazine, included with HGTV, and she has had a photography workshop, Remembering Childhood, featured in the Huffington Post. Katie is a contributing artist with Cavan Images and her work has been published in the marketing material of the humanitarian organization Matthew 25 Ministries.