With the light positioned five feet away, the three-foot light modifier renders an exceptional transition from highlight to shadow and produces a studio-quality image, despite the worst-case scenario of direct sunlight on half the model's face.
Sometimes, it's possible to use an on-camera flash to produce ample light for a correct exposure. The flash would either add equally to the lit and unlit portions of the subject without lowering the contrast difference much between sunlit and shadow areas, or it would flatten the image by lighting the subject from close to the lens and removing the dimension—highlights and shadows—from the image.
On-camera flashes are bluer than direct sun. As a result, the shadow areas tend to look blue, and sunlight looks yellow, in "Flash" White Balance. Professional strobes, such as Lumedynes, are daylight-balanced and match natural light better.
Color-correction gels can change the daylight-colored flash to match indoor lighting conditions when you want to balance with available light indoors. Similarly, slightly yellow gels will match an on-camera flash to daylight.
Even in the most challenging lighting, by carefully placing an off-camera light and diffusing a larger light source, you can create images no automatic camera could possibly capture.
D.J. LaDez (www.lumedyne.com), of Port Richey, Florida, has 20 years' experience traveling worldwide teaching photographers how to improve their images with off-camera lighting techniques. A wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer, he teaches regularly at the Golden Gate School of Photography, Brooks Institute, The Tampa Bay Art Institute, et al.