Full Sun by Murielle Cascone

Full Sun by Murielle Cascone

My gear:

Sony Alpha a7iii

24-70mm f2.8

20mm f1.8

85mm f1.4

This is the light most of us can actually shoot in and it’s the one the most intimidating! It’s not

most photographers’ fave light for so many reasons. But really there are ways to start

appreciating this light.

What we like:

  •  So many fun activities happen in full sun, especially in the summer when the sun sets late: beach days, pool time, park visits, farm visits…

  •  Very low ISO can be used! If you don’t like grain, chances are, you won’t get any

  •  Beautiful blue skies with puffy clouds can be captured

  •  Editorial portrait look can be achieved in full sun!

What we fear:

  •  Harsh light

  •  Eye squinting

  •  Blown highlights and hot spots

  •  Shadows, shadows, shadows!! Harsh shadows. Yours and your subject’s

  •  A bit harder to edit

Full sun is part of our daily lives. To be a well-rounded photographer, I believe we should try to

embrace shooting in full sun. Whatever camera you are using, you can get beautiful results in

full sun. And the more light you have, the better most cameras focus and perform in general.

Even your phone cameras!

Shooting tips:

  •  Properly expose for the subject’s face.

  •  If taking a portrait, avoid squinting eyes, so re-position your subject so their back is to the sun. Otherwise, use open shade area (trees, building…)

  •  For portraits, shoot for side light or back light.

  •  Have your subject wear sunglasses if possible.

  •  If using open shade, watch for hot (white blown) spots on your subject’s body.

A great idea when shooting in full sun is to shoot wide! Use your wide angle lens and shoot for

storytelling and documenting, that way, no one is looking at the camera squinting and you

shoot the whole scene with the big blue sky! On a beautiful day, you can have beautiful puffy


When it comes to shadows, the rule is to watch where they fall. Are they flattering? Are they

telling a story? If not, try to avoid them. Re-position your subject or move yourself (if your own

shadow is in the way). When shadows fall on your subject’s face, ensure that it’s flattering and

not weird and choppy with hot (blown) spots. Is your own shadow in the photo? Sometimes it’s

hard to avoid that but you can always edit it out in post. For a creative self-portrait though (solo

or with your family), add your shadow! If close to interesting lines and shapes, or trees, add

them to your photos for creativity and interest.

Reflections: you can get fun water reflections in full sun. Use that for some creativity!

In post-production, my personal full sun editing tips are:

  •  Reducing my exposure if necessary

  •  Reducing the highlights. Sometimes, I reduce it all the way!

  •  Reducing the whites

  •  Adding a bit more contrast

As professional photographers, we sometimes get clients who request midday photo sessions.

If you can convince your clients to move their sessions to later in the day, great! If that’s not

possible, then don’t worry and do your best! Shoot with the sun behind them and expose for

their faces.

Now, it’s time to practice! Like everything else in life, the more you do something, the more

comfortable you become. Don’t let summer pass you by because documenting in full sun is so

daunting. Embrace it and have fun!

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