Quick Outdoor Photography Tips

Summer is beginning to wind down and people are hurrying to take their last-minute vacations before school starts back up in August and September. One feature of these end-of-season vacations is that they will generally involve a lot of outdoor photography. So, to ensure that you get the best photos during the brightest part of the year, we have a few quick tips for you to keep in mind when you’re out and about with your camera.

1) If people are involved, don’t have them face into the sun — For some reason, many photographers forget that the eyelids are not completely under voluntary control. If a person is facing a bright light source (and you don’t get much brighter than the Sun), their eyes will squint. They cannot control it. Yelling, threats, pouting, and the like will not convince them to somehow magically gain control over involuntary functions. So, move around a bit so that they are not looking into the sun.

2) Make use of shade and reflectors to control the lighting — Cheap and light-weight light-bouncers or reflectors can easily be made out of cardboard and aluminum foil. These tools can let you reflect or bounce light into a shady area, brightening it enough for photography without blinding any eyeball-possessing subjects. You can also, with a bit of practice and skill, fine-tune your control of the light with several reflectors/bouncers for greater effect.

3) Carry around a fill flash — Sometimes there will be too great a contrast between the sun and the shade and your photo will come out all dark with blotches of overexposed white. A fill flash can help you get around this problem and UV filters can also help cut the sun’s glare and reduce the contrast to more manageable levels.

4) Faster shutter speeds — More sunlight means more light in less time which means that you can speed up the shutter speed in order to help avoid overexposing an image. Also, if you’re capturing action shots of kids playing or sports events, a faster shutter speed is necessary to keep the images sharp instead of blurred.

5) A prime lens is a good ideaPrime lenses give you the best control over fast shutter speed, high ISO, and wide aperture. These three things can be vital in summer outdoor photography so consider investing in a prime lens for your summer photography line-up.

— da Bird