Finding a beautiful spot of light to photograph can take a good shot and make it a great one all by itself.
During the summer months, a wonderful place to find beautiful light is in the open shade.
When photographers talk about open shade, essentially they are talking about the regular shade where you like to sit on a hot summer day. The only difference is that with open shade you are standing fairly close to the edge of the shade (but still all the way in the shade) and looking out into a sunny area.
In the spirit of Ashley’s AWESOME diagrams, I’ll attempt one of my own. I give you. . . .Open Shade ;)!!
Open shade is a nice place to photograph because it gives you nice soft, even light. There is no harsh bright light or distracting shadows as there might be if you stepped out into the sun.
The reason to have your subject looking out into the light instead of toward the building (see above diagram) is that this will still you get nice catch lights in the eyes. Catch lights keep the eyes bright and alive as opposed to dark and dead-looking.
A few examples of photos taken in open shade.
In front of a blue dumpster—YES, even dumpsters give some shade!
Lens: 50mm f/1.4 Aperture: f/2.0 Shutter Speed: 1/1000 ISO: 200
Sitting in our yard.
Lens: 50mm f/1.4 Aperture: f/2.0 Shutter Speed: 1/800 ISO: 200
One thing to be aware of when you are photographing in the shade is that the light is much “bluer” in color than when you are in the sun. You’ve probably taken a photo in the shade and had it turn out a bit blue. To fix this, set your camera’s white balance to the “shade” setting. The camera will add a bit of warmth to account for the different color of light.