Shooting a Session at Midday, The Exception to the Rule

I would almost always advise not shooting at midday.  However, this session was the exception to the rule. We were unable to reschedule this session for another day due to their vacation timing and my project schedule.  The weather man predicted rain and thunderstorms for afternoon we had scheduled to shoot their family portraits.  With naps and bedtime, all the kid routines, etc. we did not have the luxury of winging it… so we decided to shoot at 11am.  The strategy was to only shoot in the open meadow when it was cloudy and for the most part that is what we did.  One thing that surprised me was there were a few images I delivered that had midday harsh sunlight in them.  I purposely edited those to have a vintage family photo look to them and I actually like how those images turned out.  My top recommendations for shooting at midday:

  1.  Use open shade and place the sun at your subjects back to reduce dabbled light.
  2. If a cloud covers the sun use direct light or backlight and take advantage of shooting in the open.
  3. If you are caught in open space have your subjects turn their faces up to the sun, cuddle and close their eyes.
  4. Try shooting your subjects with the sun at their back.  Use your histogram to ensure you will be able to recover your shadows and that you don’t blow out your highlights.

Check out this family’s film on my EXTRAS tab.

Elopement and Family Photographer, headshot image of EJ Dilley


Intimacy and adventure is what I am all about. I absolutely love families who are just fun, who are real and let it fly.  I want to see you!  They don’t mind if they get their dress dirty. They may be down for a short hike and are not afraid of getting in the water at the end of your session, you are my people. They don’t mind if things don’t go perfectly and that is just perfect. 

The best parts of life are the parts that surprise us, and the best photos are usually the ones we didn’t know were coming.