Shooting photography in harsh sunlight is often a no-no for a lot of beginners and even advanced photographers. There are times, though, when it’s just inevitable and you would need to shoot under bright, glaring daylight. Perhaps the family is at the beach or you have a client that wants to shoot outdoors at noon. How are you going to do it? Here are some tips for shooting in full sun.
Create your own shade
One way to avoid direct sunlight is by creating your own shade. If you can’t move the subject into a shaded area, then you could just create it. You can use an umbrella, a big sheet of cardboard or just about anything that would cast a shadow on your subject and block out the intense light of the sun.
If you can’t move the subject, maybe you could move yourself so that you could take better sunlight photography. Changing your position would allow you to change the angle in which the light hits your subject. Instead of shooting a subject head on, you could crouch lower and shoot up. Or you could find an elevated platform and shoot down. This would be easy to do with a DJI Osmo Pocket!
Use fill flash
Fill flash is very helpful when you have strong shadows on your subjects, or when your subject is underexposed. Using a fill flash will allow you to “fill in” the dark parts with light. Fill flash adds to the direct sunlight in your photo so that those darker shadows are lit up and the subjects don’t come out as underexposed. This is also helpful in eliminating shadows caused by your subject’s nose, hat or sun visor.
Reflect the light
If you don’t want to use fill flash when shooting in full sun, or if that isn’t enough to sufficiently light up your subjects, you can use a reflector.
Use a filter
There are two filters that could help you tame direct sunlight. One is the neutral density filter, which reduces the amount of light getting into your camera. The other is the polarizing filter, which does the same thing. A polarizing filter can also reduce reflections and help you have more control over the colors in your sunlight photography.
Use the lens hood
Some of the more expensive cameras available now come with a lens hood. Use it to cut down lens flare. If you do not have a lens hood, you can buy one to add to your lens.
Meter your shots correctly
You can meter off the subject to ensure that you’re adequately exposing your photography in bright sunlight. Take some sample shots with your Nikon d3500 from Beachcamera.com and check these to make some adjustments. A good idea when it comes to metering during a midday photo shoot is to use spot metering then choose the main subject.
Mind your white balance
You’ll want to experiment with different white balance settings on your Canon digital camera from Beachcamera.com to see which ones are right for your photos.
Avoid close-ups. Go wide instead
Photographing your subjects up close under direct sunlight is an invitation for trouble. Shadows will be more pronounced and using a fill flash might not make it a better photograph. Go wide when shooting photography in bright sunlight whenever possible.
Go for the silhouettes
Silhouettes are very dramatic or very mysterious if you do it right. To take a silhouette, you’ll need to set your camera’s exposure on the brightest part of the scene. This should be the background, not your subject. Be sure that the silhouette is very distinct.
With these tips, direct sunlight won’t intimidate you and keep you from taking wonderful photographs!