Backlit with direct sunlight

Backlit under open shade

I recently took a course on lighting with "Brittany Bruce Education" and used my daughter this morning to put some new insights into practice. In the course she stressed the importance of backlighting, finding natural reflectors, and open shade. The above left image is an example of placing my daughter with full sun to her back. This was taken within a few hours of the sunrise so it's not that harsh midday sun. I had her move forward a handful of sidewalk squares to a place where the sun was still behind her but just peeking through a nearby tree. In both spots the light gray sidewalk was a natural reflector but you can see a big difference in the evenness of the light. By putting her in the shade with open sky above her she was covered in even light (no harsh shadows) and the sidewalk bounced the sunlight back into her face. The left image has been edited and required the shadows to be brought up quite a bit to brighten her face.

One of the biggest takeaways for me from this learning is that you can capture beautiful portraits almost anytime of day. Midday really limits the amount of open shade available so I still prefer morning (7-10am) or evening (4-8pm). These photos were taken on my front sidewalk (at 9am) also proving that finding the right light is so much more important than finding a beautiful backdrop. Lighting and a wide open aperture really make the subject pop.


This video shows a quick example of what goes into editing each image. You will always receive a fully edited gallery within two weeks of your session.

RAW image straight out of the camera

Image after Lightroom edits