How to Make Outdoor Light Work For You

by | Light


Hopefully, the April showers are bringing in the May flowers where you are and allowing you to get outside and practice your photography. Spring brings with it longer days, fantastic light, and many more chances to work on shooting for the light and not the location, and you don’t have to be a professional to know how to make outdoor light work for you.

Like there are a few steps to shooting inside using natural light, there are also a few steps to take your outside photos to the next level!

Make Outdoor Light Work for You

1. Set Your White Balance

You’ve probably been doing a lot of indoor photography during the winter months, so the first step when heading outside is to make sure you set your white balance. Nothing says novice more than the dreaded blue photograph. Set the white balance, and you are already on your way to making your photos look more professional.  

2. Try to Avoid the Mid-Day Sun

When the sun is directly overhead, it casts hard light, thus causing harsh shadows on your subject. Avoid shooting in that hard mid-day sun, if at all possible. If that is the only time available, remember to shoot in open shade.  

How to make outdoor light work for you
Outdoor Light: Harsh Mid-Day Sun
How to make outdoor light work for you
Outdoor Light: Open Shade

3. Avoid Dappled Light

Dappled light is the spotty light that comes through the trees. It creates spotty shadows on your subject.  

How to make outdoor light work for you
Outdoor Light: Dappled light

4. Aim to Shoot in the Golden Hour

The golden hour is one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise. The light is magical…golden and wraps itself perfectly around your subject.  

How to make outdoor light work for you
Outdoor Light: Golden hour

5. Position Your Subject So That the Light Hits Them Just Perfectly

Photographers know a secret… it’s called the circle test. Place your subject where you want them, and then have them slowly turn in a circle until you see the light fall across their face in precisely the way you like. This is the location to have them when taking their photograph.  

How to make outdoor light work for you
Outdoor Light Photography

Like other aspects of your photography, learning how to take amazing photographs in outdoor light and make outdoor light work for you comes down to practice. Don’t be afraid…grab that camera, go outside and let in the light! And don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for my photography tips!



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