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Using Open Shade to Make Better Photographs

Often, we have an opportunity to take a spontaneous photograph of a friend outdoors, on a bright sunny day. If the sun is high up in the sky, it's easy to end up with a picture where the person's eyes are in deep shadow, and they are squinting.

When a situation like that arises, it's time to look around for open shade. Maybe there is a tree close by that you can put the person under, or a doorway they can stand in (as in the example above).

Or maybe there is an overhang on a building. In the situation below, I put the subject just behind where the sun would have hit her face directly under the roofline of the shed. That way, the exposure was still at a high enough shutter speed that I could hand hold the camera, but I could get the benefit of the soft light provided by the overhang.

Whatever the options, look for opportunities to get your subject out of the harsh, overhead light, and into open shade. The results will certainly be worth the extra effort.

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