Earlier this month, I traveled back home to the Chicago area for a family barbecue. I was so excited to go home! It was my first flight since the Pandemic, and it was a chance to get away from the routine of home. I knew that I was going to take pictures during the barbecue, but I hadn’t planned on a session at the beach!
My Aunt Linda and her niece, Shanti, were interested in portrait sessions. I originally had planned on some self-portraits at the beach, but the heat and crowded beach quickly changed my plans.
Shanti wasn’t sure how to pose. I told her that the best poses are unscripted ones. I encouraged her to just walk on the shore, kick her get in the water occasionally, and look up at me when I gave her direction. The first and biggest issue with the shoot was the time of day. We were there at noon! I didn’t bring any lights with me because I was traveling light, and it was too windy to handle a reflector on my own. With that, I put the sun to Shanti’s back. We managed to get a few shots, but I know that I could have done better.
We ventured into Downtown Evanston in search of shade for Aunt Linda’s portraits. We parked the car near the El Station, and I saw the perfect location to photograph her. It was a tunnel leading to one of the entrances to the train station. It was shaded, and the tunnel provided a great dark backdrop for the shot. I was pleased with the images.
So, how do you get better shooting in harsh light? You shoot in harsh light. You learn how to operate your gear. I don’t typically shoot at that time of day because of the heat, but I do intend to improve my images by using that type of light. Also, I would have fared a lot better if I had a neutral density filter.
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