Have you thought about photographing your clients in harsh sunlight? Seldom we schedule any shoot right at the mid-day afternoon between 11 to 3, but most often with wedding we cannot control the time and location. Photographing under direct sun during noon will cast shadows all over the face. Skin tone also require some good adjustments in editing software. One way to produce beautiful photos in harsh lighting conditions is, of course, use strobes. However, you may not have the lighting equipment with you, the location may not be favorable to set up lighting without an assistant (eg: windy cliff), or you have limited time for that location. Below we can explore some tips if you are planning to have a photo shoot during a noon sun and using natural light only.
Find shade! This one may sound obvious but often in time, you may find yourself scrambling to find the right spots on location. If the clients want to shoot outdoor in the garden, but the lighting condition is horrible, you generally have a couple of options. One is to use your strobe and embrace the sun! Two is to find shade. Place the subjects under the shaded tree or an awning or the side of the building where the shade is. Sometimes the shade may provide a good reflecting light that makes the skin tone even better! Keep in mind that the shaded area may cast color onto the skin tone, so pick that area wisely to avoid extra editing time.
Embrace backlight! We love backlit photos any time during the day, even at night! If you have to bring the subjects under the sun, then locate the direction of the sun and place the subjects with light source behind them. Since we are only referring to the use of natural light here, instead of a flash, you can use a reflector to cast some light onto the subjects' faces. Under the shade and backlight is one of the best combos for harsh sunlight wedding or engagement portraits.
Get silhouette! When in doubt, try silhouette. That would be nice isn't it since you don't need to worry about the facial expression. However, you still want to be creative with the silhouette photos. Choose an interesting background, play with negative space, use other moving subjects. Find a good area with a strong contrast of shade and light and place the subjects in the shadow with a strong bright background that will give you the optimal result for a silhouette photo. If you are photographing a couple during engagement or wedding, place them closer to each other to create a sense of intimacy.
Just do it! If you have no choice, you can also place the subjects right under the sun. However, you have to be careful where the light is hitting their faces. If the sun is directly above them, you will have shadows all over the face and it's not an easy fix in editing after. To save you time, always get the photos right in the camera instead of relying on editing. Try to look for the direction of the sun where the light does not cast a weird shadow on the face, such as a hard shadow right underneath the eyes. Front on light may be better than top downward light (unless you are going for a creative shot).