4 Tips for Managing Outdoor Spring Light Outside of the Golden Hour

For all of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere spring officially arrives tomorrow! Hip Hip Hooray! Where I live, spring typically creeps in at a turtle’s pace however by the end of March we can usually begin to head outdoors more often. Along with warmer weather spring brings us more daylight stretching those beloved evening golden hours to later in the day. I find that sometimes it becomes less practical to venture out during the golden hour and often our time outdoors begins to take place beyond golden hour times when the light is higher and harder. Here are a few tips and ideas on how you can manage outdoor spring light.

1. Say hello to hard light

I mention full sun and people cringe but I think it is beautiful light! I adore how full sun deepens colours and evokes a strong and bold mood. Don’t be afraid to pull out your camera during full sun and play with the hard light. Front lighting your subject can work really well in full sun.

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

Full sun also offers really fun and unique light so embrace the harsh light! Look for unique situations where you can play with dappled light or unique full sun highlights and shadows.

ISO 100, 200mm, 3.5f, 1/1250SS

ISO 100, 200mm, 3.5f, 1/1250SS

If the sun is still quite high in the sky and you are worried about those dreaded racoon eyes falling across your subject’s face from the strong overhead light take the opportunity to capture a faceless image or try focusing in on detail.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3f, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3f, 1/500SS

Don’t be afraid to experiment and capture your subject from a variety of angles in the full sun. You’ll learn a lot about light and shooting in full sun by experimenting and I bet you’ll come away with a fun and unique look that you never thought you could capture with full sun!

ISO 100, 120mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 120mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

2. Look for shade

Perhaps you’ve had enough of full sun but the light is still too high for that golden hour look. One trick to find softer light is to place or encourage your subject to play in the shade. This will allow for more manageable light. Your subject will be more evenly lit and you won’t be dealing with as many strong highlights. Also, observe your scene because there’s magic in the shade. Sometimes light will catch on the trees and branches that are creating the shade your subject is playing in. This light shows up in a magical way in the form of sparkle bokeh! I adore looking for this type of sparkle, it’s a favourite of mine.

3. Filter overhead light

Filtering the light in my environment is also one of my very favourite things to do because usually in the spring if I’m in a location with tall trees I can still fake a close to golden hour look or at least soften the sun in some capacity.  

ISO 100, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

ISO 100, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

4. Shoot up at your subject

This is similar to filtering the light except in this situation I use my subject in such a way as to block the strong sunlight. In this situation I’m very often lower than my subject and I’m shooting up at her or him. This technique is really fun to play with different angles and embrace creativity for different looks!

ISO 400, 140mm, 4.5f, 1/800SS

ISO 400, 140mm, 4.5f, 1/800SS

I really look forward to seeing how each of you uses spring light so be sure to tag @thephotographersnotebook with the hashtag #thephotographersnotebook on Instagram so I don’t miss your beautiful spring captures!

Happy Spring!

all content and images © Gina Yeo Photography, 2019