Conquering Midday Light on Kelby Training!

Conquering Midday Light: Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

I've been insanely busy in the best ways possible recently. If you've been watching I had a month full of travel to Austin, Vegas, Dallas, Montana, San Francisco, Seattle and more. Here's one more exciting thing to share.  I'm happy to announce another great thing in my life... my newest Kelby Training is out! While working on my book "Shooting in Sh*tty Light" I started to think about the most common difficult lighting situation that we all encounter; shooting at high soon. Whether its a sporting event, wedding or portrait, we are often asked to make beautiful images in the harsh direct midday sunlight. I decided to team up with the great people at Kelby to create a video about the ways I deal with this situation: Conquering Midday Light on Kelby Training.

I am a fan of keeping it simple. If I don't have to bring an entire studio lighting set up on location to make a beautiful portrait, then I avoid it. I know I can make stunning images with a reflector, and at most complicated a reflector + diffuser. Below I am including a bit of the class description, the links and also some sample images from the class. I hope you will enjoy it and find it useful!

By the way, watch this week for some of my newest editorials... I am so excited to share them with you!


Conquering Midday Light on Kelby Training

Conquering Midday Light: Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

Description: Direct sunlight light is known for really bright highlights, really dark shadows, and it is not flattering for portraits. Join Lindsay Adler, fashion and portrait photographer, in Central Park at high noon where she teaches you how to take control of midday light. You’ll learn how to use diffusers to even out the light, how to use reflectors to fill in the light, and how to take advantage of a variety of other tools and techniques to conquer midday light.


Conquering Midday Light by Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

In the image above we are photographing in direct sunlight, and the light is miserable, harsh and unpleasant. Below I'll show you a couple of solutions for improving the light. It was a very hot day at high noon in Central Park, and we only had a brief amount of time to make some beautiful images!


Conquering Midday Light by Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

Here we have placed a diffuser (California Sunbounce scrim) overhead to diffuser and soften the light. The light is much improved, but notice that the direction of light is not ideal. She still has highlights on her nose and shadows in her eyes. Its a lot better, but we can do a bit more to take control of the light.

Conquering Midday Light by Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

Here we have found our first ideal solution. In this image we have used the diffuser (as above) but also used a white piece of foam core (or white reflector) to bounce light back into the eyes. We have evened out the direction of light and introduced catchlights. Notice how the contrast on her face is also a bit better than above. The sparkle in her eyes are also engaging. This solution would also work with a silver or soft silver reflector depending on the amount of feather you add to the reflector.

Conquering Midday Light by Lindsay Adler on Kelby Training

Here is another solution altogether. I have completely blocked off light overhead using a piece of foam core. You could do the same with a piece of cardboard or the black side of a 5-in-1 reflector. Notice how the direction of light almost completely evens out and now there is no light on the hair. We have eliminated overhead light and thus most the direction of light on the face. Finally, we have utilized another white reflector to kick light back into the eyes (to create catchlights) and to add contrast to the face. Notice here how she appears a bit more separated from her environment because the ambient light is having less effect on the face/hair.


Above is just a sample of shooting in midday light, and there will certainly be more articles to follow! Be sure to check out the video if this is a situation you regularly struggle with but don't want the hassle of introducing artificial light!


Don't forget I have two other Kelby Trainings! You can watch the promo videos and also see the comments from other viewers of the classes! Fashion Flair for Portrait and Wedding Photography (about fashion techniques for portrait and wedding photographers) and  Fashion Lighting 1, 2, 3!  (How to use 1, 2 or 3 lights in the studio to create stunning fashion light!).


  • Great post, I really like the way you illustrated the different solutions by showing how it changed the light, really helpful! Thanks!