What is the best angle for taking photographs of people on a sunny day?
I am wondering what the most flattering angle is for outdoor photos - obviously NOT with the sun in ones face while they are squinting lol - do you want the sun to be at their side, slightly behind them? I am not a "people" photographer, but would love to get some outdoor shots of family members for a photo project I am working on.
Although photographing anything during the midday does not usually provides the best photographs, if there are clouds that can diffuse the light even better. But if not then photograph your subjects by positioning them at a 45 degree angle to the Sun. Do not photograph them while the Sun is directly above them or behind them.
By mindful of any distracting background elements or better if you use a wide aperture to blur anything behind the subjects. Also be on the look out for any overhead items that may cast a shadow. These will look worse on film than in real time.
photographing people in direct sun is rarely recommended, instead try finding a nice shady area underneath a tree and use the dappled effects of the shade to good effect.
If you have no shade then i would position the subject with the sun to one side and then fill in the other side with some flash, alternatively you can position the subject with there back to the sun and then use your flash to highlight the face etc.
Remember to have fun and experiment with different positions etc.
Avoid it! But if you must, look for cover. Trees can work, even gazebos or shelters, but beware of shadow patterns that are unavoidable. The best is a nice smooth overhang such as a low-hanging roof, park shelter, or school hallway. Also, if you have an assistant or something to hang it on, a white sheet or cloth stretched over the subject like a roof diffuses the light nicely.
I agree with all the others answers, and I would add one additional tip. If you are in bright sun, and cannot find shade, then, yes, at 45 degree angle is best. If you find that there is shadow on the subjects' faces, then also use a fill flash to bring out the facial details, and prevent a sillhouette effect.
As a photography lover I find you should shoot as many angles as possible. Some will say never have the sun behind the person, but someone took one of me like that and it turned out with rays of light coming through my hair with beautiful rainbow effects with no special lens. If the sun is in someone's face you are right they quint, but if in that moment you can have them look away long enough for the snap, or a tilt of the head can fix that. Good luck!
Photographing people in the middle of the day is a daunting task at the best of times. Your choice of shooting angles can be limited, especially when you're covering a sporting event.
When photographing golf tournaments, I had only seconds to get a portrait shot of the players as they were coming off the greens. The aid of an assistant and a professional grade flash gun was my only viable option for capturing quality professional portraits.
To shoot tight portraits (head to waist) I would have my assistant hold a large white patio umbrella angled to diffuse the direct sunlight. I would bracket my shots and use fill flash to cancel out any harsh shadows.
When shooting wider portraits, I'd lose the umbrella and bump up my flash output to compensate for the strong sunlight and have my assistant bounce light from a white or silver/gold reflector disk back onto the subjects.
It takes a bit of practice to get the right amount of flash and reflector disk bounce light, but after a few tries, you'll be shooting like a pro.To process the images I use Nikon's Nik Software plugin for Photoshop to correct the white balance.
I think people often haphazardly make photos black and white, but if you follow everyone's advice and then remove the color, this is a great time to use try it out. Bright sunlight leads to a very high contrast picture that can be really lovely in a black and white format. Often people don't add enough contrast to their black and white images and in this case you don't have to.
If you are in an urban setting, look for shade. Use a reflector to bounce light back onto the subject.
If you are in nature, look for shade. Use a scrim to eliminate dappled light caused by light coming in through the trees.
This photo was shot at about 2:00 pm in the corner of a church that was painted white. I used a white reflector to viewer's right, and a smaller one right in front. This was shot with a Canon 5DMIV using the Sigma Art 50mm lens.
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