Every so often guests at a wedding, or friends, will ask me, “do you have any photography tips?” And of course, I have lots of tips. But it’s hard to pick just one tip that will help people of all skill levels, and equipment that ranges from simple point-and-shoots to pro-series stuff. Usually, I tell people that equipment is a lot less important than people think, and that light is the single most important aspect to getting a good shot, which is true. It’s far more important than location, or anything else. Light can drastically change the mood and life of a shot, and can take a photo from lack-lustre to epic! And choosing the right light for your desired aesthetic is hands-down the most important thing to consider.
With that said, this tip is what I call “the safe shot.” The goal here is to find open shade, a shaded area close to daylight. The shade can come from a building, tree, or any structure that provides shade during the day (see my little illustration below). Now they key here is to place your subject so that they’re facing the lit area just outside the shade. I usually place my subject as close to the light as possible without getting in it; just barely in the shade. Note that I do not mean face your subject toward the sun necessarily; I mean toward the lighted area just outside the shade. The best-case scenario is when you can have your subject face a white wall or surface (these act as big diffusers that make the light soft and dreamy!).
The shot below of Laura and Jason is a perfect example of using soft light, or the safe shot. The sun is to the subjects’ left, and they’re placed just feet inside the shade provided by the building behind them.
Hope this helps all of you aspiring photographers!