Here are a few different ways you can work with natural light when photographing outdoors. I've put together some example images to give you ideas on how to position your model or subject against the sun to achieve a certain look to your photos.
Hopefully this blog post will inspire the thought that you can take beautiful photos in the middle of a sunny day, with nothing but natural light and your camera, and give you some ideas to try it too!
Back-lit images are when the light source is behind your subject. by doing this, your photos will look dreamy and soft, this is one of my favourite ways of shooting! For a golden halo around your model, try diffusing the light behind some trees, a building or a cliff.
When shooting in direct sunlight, position yourself to have your back to the sun, and the sun shining directly to the model's face. This lighting creates a more dramatic look to your photos. The shadows are deeper, the colours are more vibrant and the background is more prominent. Shooting with direct sunlight at the beginning of the day produces more striking images, with more contrast.
In the Shadows
Another option when shooting in the middle of a sunny day, is to shoot in the shadows of a building, fence or tree. The shadows will give your image a nice dark balance, with light still bouncing back onto your model's face from the bright day.
One last way to work with bright sunlight, is to use it as a side light. This gives you a little bit of both worlds; back-lit and direct light shooting! The images are halfway in between soft and dreamy as well as harsh and deep.
If you found this tutorial helpful, or it gave you some ideas of things you can try next time you're photographing outdoors and working with natural light - share it!