Using the Sun as a Key Light

On this video, photographer Jay P. Morgan from the website the Slanted Lens takes a look at a seemingly simple shooting scenario – capturing a trick lasso expert with a  50 foot lasso outdoor with a nice natural background.

Sometimes a relatively simple shoot can be made more difficult by external factors. On this video Morgan faced some difficulties with the environment – a house on one side, a sun on another and ugly power lines on the side. This restricted his options and with the time restrictions he was more or less forced to work with the sun as a key light and photoflex flex flash as a fill light.

Morgan looked for 3 things in this shoot:

  • Isolate the talent in the background.
  • Overcome the lighting challenge from that background.
  • Make room for the 50′ rope.

One of the key things Morgan mentioned on the video and this is a great lesson to remember is that what separates an ameatur from a pro photographer is making things happen in the timeframe and the situation given. Being able to take great photographs when you have no time, place or equipment restrictions is great but in many cases pro photographers needs to be able to mange with less than ideal conditions  and make the most of what they have.

P.S. the video seem to end after 6:40min  but it continues for another minute or so with another short bit in the end (is this an “easter egg or just sloppy editing – we have no idea…).

You can find lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid, and you can find all of Jay P. Morgan’s videos here on LensVid on the following link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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