In the early days of my photography shooting into the sun was a no-no, a hard and fast rule "never shoot into the sun".
Not only was that a hard and fast rule, but shooting in direct mid-day sun was not something I would do because with your subject facing the sun they would be squinting so hard it would look like their eyes were nailed shut and to shoot with the sun on the side would give you half of a face that was too bright, and/or the other half too dark.
So I would either find shade, or just avoid that time of day.
Then a couple years ago I was in LBI New Jersey shooting a wedding with Stacey Kane and had my eyes opened, the wedding ended in the early afternoon and the "formal portraits" had to be done immediately after the ceremony and the only place to shoot was a gravel parking lot, lots of bright sun, no shade to be found anywhere.
Stacey put folks with their backs to the sun and with me shading her lens she shot away, these are the kind of images she got.
The quality of the image and the beauty of the back-lighting converted me into a "shoot into the sun" kinda guy right then and there.
Though there was a problem, when shooting alone (which is often for me) I have no-one to shade my lens, and depending on the angle of the sun the lens hood doesn't give me enough shade coverage, both of these are big problems.
That is until I got a flexible lens shade, the lens shade attaches to the lens hood via a Velcro wrap significantly extending shade coverage (no lens hood? It will also attach to the lens itself), it's very light weight (barely over an ounce), and is so flexible I can shape it to give me shade regardless of the angle of the sun.
The flexible lens shade is made out of a ballistic nylon shell, has double stitch sewing on the seems making it durable, professional, and lightweight. Because it stores flat it takes up almost no room in your camera bag.
Here is an image from a senior shoot earlier this week, shooting into the sun, shade provided by the lens shade.
A cool feature about the lens shade is that because it's so flexible you can easily bend it up and out of the way if you want to capture in image with a bit of "flare".
There are some tricks to shooting lens flare and here are two very good tutorials, one from the Digital Photography School and the other from Expert Photography (which also includes how to shoot flare using speedlights).
I'll wrap up today's post with two things, first letting you know you can get the flexible lens shade from Adorama for just $39 and the shipping is free and with our video review below.
Click on any of the above mages to view larger.
I hope you enjoy the video.