Skip to content
How to Embrace the Sun When Taking Photos

How to Embrace the Sun When Taking Photos

Sun Photos

One of the most difficult lighting conditions for photography is taking images and videos during the time of day when the midday sun under direct sunlight shines harsh light on your subject or object. Taking photos under a bright bright sun can cause overexposure problems with your image. Whether you are a beginner in the world of photography, or a seasoned professional, you want to make certain you have the right equipment for those bright sunny days and blue skies.

Start by getting the right lens for lighting situations. Using a lens hood when you want to avoid lens flare or protect your camera lens is the right move. Lens hoods can come with UV lens protection filter as well, which will be great come time to take photos in bright direct sunlight protecting the surface of the lens.

Vloggers looking to get their creative content onto social media are going to want to make certain that any vlogs done in bright sunlight get the best visuals for their viewers and subscribers. You don’t want people not to revisit your social media page because of poor quality image content on your video often caused by direct sunlight.

Outdoor activities from beach vacations, pool parties, family picnics, tennis matches to outdoor weddings are occurring all over the country right now. The harsh sunlight can create quite a challenge when it comes to trying to photograph these fun and exciting events.  Here are some tutorials and photography tips for capturing some great fun-in-the-sun shots this summer.


Setting Up Your Camera

  • You are going to have to move out of your comfort zone on this one and move away from your automatic settings. Try Aperture or Priority mode instead. We do recommend manual mode. Taking photos or videos in manual mode will give you the most availability to access all your camera settings for those bright sunny days. Preparing your camera settings and presets for bright sunlight is imperative. Harsh light is not ideal as it creates harsh shadows on the skin that highlight facial details showing a better skin tone. This is especially helpful when taking portrait photography.

  • As a Wedding Photographer for example, getting the right light source is crucial. When many weddings take place outdoors in the middle of the day under bright light, which make shooting in these lighting conditions more labor intensive. Try using spot metering when taking direct sunlight photos, even more at at midday sun peaks. Using spot metering, will allow you focus on a small point on a subject’s face, instead of having to adjust the amount of light around the other areas of the subject or the entire scene.

  • Remember that images and videos taken in direct sunlight will often produce exposures which are typical of sunny days. Often times, your images or videos will require additional post-processing work in photoshop like adobe lightroom. Connect your camera to it’s supported app or as mentioned photoshop apps. Lightroom can help you work with images shot in RAW footage as well.

  • Try having your main subject stand in a doorway or even shade outdoors. Doing this will help divert the harsh light from the direct sun away from your subject’s face and allow natural warmer lighting conditions for your image or video exposure.

  • Try setting your camera to open shade on the mode dial. This is very useful when the subject of your image or video is standing in the shade with the harsh sunlight radiating above them. This will result in a image or video that has awesome natural light on your subject’s face.

  • With the sun beating down on you, you’ll need to have a low ISO. An ISO of 100 is ideal.

  • To ensure that you capture natural colors, set your white balance to auto.

  • This may seem redundant, but turn on your flash in order to brighten some of the shadows that may be cast from the brightly shining sun.

  • The key to getting the perfect shot anytime is taking multiple photos. The same holds true when shooting photos in bright sunlight. Shoot low, high, and from different angles by moving around your subject until you find the best light.  The slightest repositioning can make all the difference in the way the light affects your image. By moving yourself and the subject all around you will have many angles of light hitting your subject from which to choose while also seeing the angles of light you’ll want to avoid.

  • Set your camera’s shutter speed to a lower speed like 1/1000. The shutter should not be open for too long otherwise, more harsh light from the sun will enter your image.

    • When taking photos of people, avoid having the sunlight come directly from the side because this will create harsh shadows.

    • A reflector or filter of some type to bounce light back on the subject and fill in the shadows comes in handy under these conditions as well. This can be a handheld diffuser that you can carry around and position yourself, or it could be something in the vicinity of your photo shoot like a light colored wall or a sidewalk bouncing light back up to your subject.

    • A Polarizing Filter which is also a great way to help with harsh light on a sunny day is a great filter option. A polarizing filter cuts down on whiter light while still allowing the colors of the light, subject or object to come through in your image or video, clearly without harsh shadows.

    • The key to getting the perfect shot anytime is taking multiple photos. The same holds true when shooting photos in direct sunlight. Shoot low, high, and from different angles by moving around your subject until you find the best light.  The slightest repositioning can make all the difference in the way the light affects your image. By moving yourself and the subject all around you will have many angles of light hitting your subject from which to choose while also seeing the angles of light you’ll want to avoid.

    • When taking photos of people, avoid having the sunlight come directly from the side because this will create long shadows.

    • Keeping the sun behind you while photographing people doesn’t usually work out well either because this means the subject will be facing the sun causing squinting. However, this is the perfect method for for landscape photography or even action shots when the subject won’t be looking directly at the camera.

    • Keep the sun in front of you and behind your subject creating a type of back-lighting. This causes the light to hit the subject from behind, creating a rim of light around the subject. This works best when the background behind the subject is darker than the backlight.

    • When you get ready to take your next picture this summer, look at the subject before you place the camera in front of your face and see how the light is hitting the subject. Also, avoid letting the sunlight shine directly into your camera lens. This could create a lens flare or overexpose the image. It will also make it difficult for the camera to auto focus if you are .

      Golden Hour

      The golden hour is the opportune time to shoot photos with what is known as bokeh effect, or backlit subjects using a wide aperture. In order to achieve this effect, you must be facing the direct sun whilst capturing your image. 

      If images are properly shot, than you will be able to highlight everything in the air. A great way to capture the warm natural light in the sky is to shoot with a daylight white balance preset. We recommend not choosing auto white balance which may make your image appear flattish.

photos
Previous article Summer Photography with Canon

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

x