Shooting in sunlight can lead to images that have high contrast, blown out highlights, lens flare and colors which may even look overly saturated. If you’re shooting portraits they could also resulted in the ‘squint factor’.
So what’s a photographer to do? Here are eleven simple and easy tips at combating the down sides that bright sunlight might bring when shooting outdoors:
With some subjects you’ll be able to move them (and yourself) in the shade. This is particularly relevant with portraits where your subject is especially portable. Sometimes the best solutions are best.
If your subject is just not movable (for example if you’re shooting macro work with a flower) you could make your own shade. Use your own shadow, the shadow as someone else or bring an object with you (as an umbrella, a reflector or large sheet of card) to close out the sun.
Most people were taught to put the sun behind you when choosing a photograph so your subject will be well lit. Shooting in to the sun can result in lens flare or a dark subject – but from time to time it can improve it drastically – notably if you use a flash to add the shadows which might be created by doing this (find out more about using fill flash).
Another way to add the shadows caused by sunlight is to utilize a reflector. These bounce light up to the face of one’s subject and so are great since they allow you to definitely shoot to the sun – just like when you’re using complete flash.
Sometimes moving your subject isn’t possible – but moving around it might give a different impact. This might be moving to the other side from the object, shooting from directly above or perhaps getting down low and shooting up. Doing so changes the angle of the sun hitting both your subject and also the camera and present your image an absolutely different feel.
Suffering from lens flare? If your lens came which has a lens hood – obtain it out and use it. If you don’t have one – it’s not so difficult to construct one out of card – as well as to even use your hand to shield your lens from the sun. Just make sure that the shot is free of one’s hand or the STK Canon BP-819 Charger that you’re using (find out more on eliminating lens flare).
Sometimes a filter can be handy when shooting in bright sunlight. I try to take a Polarizing filter or Neutral Density (ND) filter with all the time. The polarizing filter might help cut down on reflections and both will lessen the light getting into your camera to help you to use slower shutter 90devypky and smaller apertures if you’re searching for more control during these elements of exposure. Polarizing filters have the added bonus of providing you some control over some colors – especially when you’ve got a blue sky in your shot (learn more about using filters).
Many digital cameras come with the ability to choose different white balance settings. While you’ll be able to make adjustments later on post processing (specially when shooting in RAW) choosing the best setting at the time of shooting could be worth experimenting with. I personally shoot in RAW and do this afterwards my computer – but have friends who prefer to perform it in camera.
Direct sunlight makes correct metering tricky. In these conditions I generally choose spot metering mode on my DSLR and judge the main subject from the scene that I’m photographing (the point of interest) to meter off. Alternatively select a mid-tone area to meter off if you would like everything being exposed relatively well. Check your shots immediately to see if you’ll want to adjust your technique (your histogram they can be handy here) of course, if you hold the luxury of time – take multiple shots metering off different parts of the scene so that you can choose the best one later.