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Article: Light It Like Jeff: Shooting Harsh Midday Sun with Natural Bounce & Diffusion | Ep 12

Light It Like Jeff: Shooting Harsh Midday Sun with Natural Bounce & Diffusion | Ep 12

Shooting in the harsh midday sun can be challenging, but with the right techniques, you can achieve beautiful, soft lighting for your photos. In this video, Jeff Carpenter demonstrates how to use natural bounce and diffusion to make the most out of the intense midday light. Here's a quick rundown of his tips:


1. Shoot-Through Umbrella: Jeff uses a large shoot-through umbrella to diffuse the harsh sunlight. This softens the light, reducing the intensity and creating a more flattering effect on the subject.

2. V-Flat: Positioned in an A-frame, the V-Flat helps to bounce sunlight back onto the subject, filling in shadows and providing a more even light distribution.


Positioning: Jeff places the shoot-through umbrella overhead to cast a shadow on the subject. This is crucial as it reduces direct sunlight, which can create unflattering, harsh shadows.

V-Flat Adjustment: He then sets the V-Flat to catch and bounce light back onto the subject. This adds a natural reflector effect, illuminating under the chin and other shadowed areas.

Jeff shows the difference by removing the umbrella. Without it, the light becomes extremely harsh and overexposed, highlighting the importance of diffusion. He then repositions the umbrella and demonstrates the improvement, achieving a soft, clean look ideal for lifestyle and catalog shoots.

Two photos of a woman model sitting on the back of a yellow truck in direct sunlight.
Jeff's shots of the model in direct sunlight with no diffusion.
Soft lit photo of a model sitting on the back of a yellow truck outside.
Final image taken using an umbrella as a diffuser. 

Useful Tips for Shooting in Harsh Sunlight

  • Alternative Methods: While Jeff uses a shoot-through umbrella and a V-Flat, a scrim or an assistant holding a diffuser can also work effectively.
  • Adjustments: Even minor adjustments, like slightly moving the umbrella or changing the subject's orientation, can significantly impact the lighting quality.

Mastering Midday Lighting

Using natural bounce and diffusion, you can effectively manage the harsh midday sun to create soft, flattering photos. Jeff's demonstration with a shoot-through umbrella and V-Flat shows how simple tools and techniques can transform your outdoor shoots. By diffusing direct sunlight and bouncing light to fill shadows, you can achieve professional-quality lighting even in challenging conditions.

Get Connected

For more tips and tutorials from Jeff, check out the Light It Like Jeff Series, and don't forget to follow his photography on Instagram at @readylightmedia. For more in-depth workshops, visit

Wanna Learn More?

We’ve got over 100 videos on our Behind the Scenes page with tips and tricks for photographers and videographers of all genres.


LOVE the truck but thought the final image would be sloppy without a strobe or prettier background and man was I wrong. Simple setup and super shot. That looks so good.

Carle Aldrete

Loved the simplicity of this. And the results are amazing. Beautiful images.

Hari singh

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