I hadn't taken an outdoor booth shot in at least five years. I changed my display a lot since then, so it was time. Earlier this year, I realized there was only one show this entire year where I would have a chance to take photos during daylight hours, without any customers around. This was at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, where setup takes place starting at 6pm on the day before the show. It's the middle of summer, so the sun stays out past 8pm. All of my other outdoor shows this year had setup hours in the early morning or after dark.
I once paid a professional to photograph my booth, but I wasn't happy with the result (he might want to ease up on the sharpening filter). However, I did learn a neat trick from him while he was shooting. He took a bracketed range of photos, from underexposed to overexposed. The final photograph was a composite of different exposures, choosing areas of each shot where the lighting was ideal.
I had to shoot these photos around 8pm, with the sun starting to sink. I took a bracketed range of photos. Here is a darker one. Everything here is too dark, but I like that the canopy is not glaring white, and the bright ray of sunlight on the right wall is not too glaring either.
Here is the lightest photo that I took. The pots along the back wall of the display are now correctly exposed. But everything else looks obviously blown out. The canopy is still brighter than the display, and it is closer to your eye than the display, which means it draws more attention that it should.
Here are the two photos combined. In Photoshop, I layered the darker photo on top of the lighter photo. I added a Layer Mask to the darker layer. Then I selectively erased areas of the darker layer, using a soft-edged brush on the Layer Mask, to reveal areas of the lighter photo. This is mostly the dark photo. The light photo is only used for the pots and the logo curtain.
I also straightened and cropped the photo, leaving just enough details of my canopy for a knowledgeable juror to recognize it as a Light Dome, which is a well-known brand. And I applied the right amount of sharpening.
You might be wondering why I didn't just take a medium exposed photo, and lighten and darken areas using Photoshop tools. That's because making those types of edits results in data being thrown away from your original file. In some publishing situations, that loss of data can come back to bite you. In terms of good Photoshop habits, you should avoid throwing away data whenever possible. Also, if you don't have a good touch, inventing your own shadows and highlights can look very fake. Your camera does a much better job of calculating these things than Photoshop ever can. It's not a fair fight, your camera has the actual subject to work with. By combining two original photographs, you are not throwing away any data. And it's almost impossible to make it look fake.
So glad it wasn't raining that day! I would have had to wait for another year.