Positioning Your Subject in the Sun – Photography Lighting

Peeking through the trees during a 1:1 photography mentoring session last summer, there was this patch of soft sunlight on the ground. I am like a magnet to these kinds of lighting scenarios. Instead of running from the sun, it’s fun see how positioning your subject in the sun can create various looks and even drama. I think this particular image gives a sense of independence – she is confident and strong as a dancer – and serenity in one. The session we were doing was revolved around this sweet, 11 year old, dancer named Anna. You can see the entire dancing session Here. I wanted to convey the story of her movement and all of the practice, hard work, and dedication that goes along with dancing through these photos.

We were shooting in a downtown setting and this particular spot is an alley.

Instead of running away from the sunlight or trying to position her for open light and seeking those catch-lights, I wanted her right in the middle of nature’s spotlight.

Had Anna been facing me, her face would have had shadows coming in from the side. One half of her face would be lit, the other dark. Because she is facing the right of my frame, it works. She is highlighted, so the background almost fades away and your eyes are drawn to her. And, her shadow from the sun was the icing on the cake. The sun wasn’t at it’s peak in the sky, but it was before the golden hour.

Image by Marie Masse.

positioning your subject in the sun


Need more inspiration? Get lost in these posts:

Documentary of a Toddler on a Shopping Spree

Session Pricing, Traveling, and Client Vision

It Is Her Home – Iconic Photo Submission from Jacob Loafman

Take the Dare to Photographers

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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