Next time you hop in your car and adjust the mirrors, be sure to notice how amazing you happen to look. = ) There's a reason why so many selfies are taken in the driver's seat these days. The light is perfect because your car makes a fabulous little lightbox. The roof blocks the harsh sunlight, the windows bring in diffused light, and the car hood acts like a reflector, making you look bright-eyed, even before your coffee kicks in.
Whether you're using your phone or a camera, good lighting makes for great pictures. And it's pretty easy to find, once you learn how to look for open shade. Open shade is when you're standing in the shade, but can see the sky above you. That kind of lighting is nice and bright (on a sunny day) but doesn't have harsh shadows. And if you can find open shade while standing in a gravel or concrete driveway, even better, because those surfaces will reflect some nice light back into your eyes.
You may already be using open shade next to buildings. White or light-colored buildings, especially, can make your pictures really pop, since the walls act like a giant reflector and throw light back onto your subject.
This picture of Lisa was taken in that exact setting:
Lisa and I were scouting a location for a commercial shoot near Nashville, just before her business meeting. The light bouncing off the concrete patio and the stone walls made the perfect place for a quick headshot. We took several shots for her to use in her marketing in just a couple of minutes.
Here's another example. Madison was facing west in this one, toward the late afternoon sun and the light was super harsh. We found just a sliver of shade next to this building and jammed her in it. Even though the building is dark, the sun was reflecting off of the street and sidewalks and still provided great light on her face.
Once you start noticing open shade, you'll see it everywhere. If you're not already using it, you'll see your images really improve! Try it and let me know what you think!