Loving the Light at Mid-Day

I think I’m a little addicted to working in challenging light.

Something about proving that there is no such thing as “bad light” or a “bad time of day” to shoot, brings out the competitor in me.  Here’s some fun images I took a few months ago in full sun in the middle of the day.

Congrats to Keri, who has now officially graduated and is off pursuing an exciting future 🙂












We had a thrilling registration for the Natural Light: From Start to Finish course last week, selling out in under 30 minutes!  I’m so excited to be able to offer this course and show just how versatile and beautiful light can be regardless of the time of day.  If you missed registration this time around, be sure to sign up for the email list to get the chance next time!

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She is a pro at getting up early in the mornings and loves to vacuum. Her favorite subject to photograph is her atomic energy 2 year old in the middle of mischief.

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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4 Responses

  1. Brooke — I tried to comment last night via FB, but not sure it worked. I am a big fan of yours and think you’ve done a great job with the “challenging light” situation. I’m curious, though, if you are showing us these to show the type of results you can get even in challenging light, or if you actually prefer this style to that of shots from more ideal lighting conditions? I’m assuming it’s the former wasn’t sure based on your description here.

    For me personally, if I were a client, I cannot imagine a situation where I would actually prefer doing a photo shoot in the middle of a field during mid-day versus early morning or at dusk if given a choice. The old school photographer in me does not care much for the blown out highlights that result when trying to get a good exposure on a shaded face. Just curious as to the lesson that you are trying to teach us here. Is it trying to make lemonades out of lemons, or is it a new style choice that you are trying to expose us to? — Sincerely and gratefully, David

    1. David!

      So great to hear from you! Thank you for your comment and your question regarding my mid day light shoots 🙂 I absolutely agree that the light is best at sunrise or sunset 🙂 I too would prefer to have professional portraits of my family done at that time of day and I DO!

      However, as you guessed, I’m trying to teach that it’s still possible to work with the light you have whatever the circumstances. As photographers we find ourselves with opportunities to photograph that dont fall in the golden hour and we should know what our options are and what the characteristics of the light are. If I was still shooting professionally, I would schedule as close to the golden hour as I could. Since most of the shoots I do now are either education oriented or people who twist my arm–I have some rigid guidelines–surprisingly, which involve NOT shooting during the golden hours–since that is precious family time for me. The last year and a half of my work has mostly been shot between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Additionally, in our personal lives we have so many occasions with our family to shoot our events and activities that happen during the middle time of the day that we would do well to know how to shoot the best we can during that type of light.

      And yes, I’m obviously not old school 🙂 I blow my skies out all the time and embrace it 🙂 You can still backlight during the middle of the day and not blow your highlights if you have a darker background. All in all, sunrise and sunset will always be “the prettiest” and likely preferred quality of light for portraits. Too many photographers are scared of shooting at any other time though, and it’s a great lesson to get out of the comfort zone and figure out what you can do! Hope that helps!

      Thanks for your fabulous questions!


      1. Thank you, Brooke! Your answer is very helpful as always. I will continue to experiment. I shoot at all times of the day, but generally seek shade or dark background when the light is the harshest. I’m sure part of it is just preference and there are no ultimate rules, but blown out highlights works for me in something edgy like street photography, but seems too contrasting a style for a beloved or portrait session. As I experiment more though, maybe my opinion will change. Thanks for exposing us to new ideas and new approaches.

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