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Tips for Taking Photos in Direct Sunlight

Tips for Taking Photos in Direct Sunlight

You’re outside on a beautiful, bright sunny day with your camera in tow. The kids are creating snap-worthy memories playing on the beach, poolside, or in the backyard. Your best friend is having a small outdoor wedding in the middle of the day, and you are the honorary photographer for this special event. Whatever the activity or occasion, sometimes working with too much sunlight can be a challenge with outdoor portrait photography lighting. Use these tricks to help you use natural light in photography without the ill effects the harsh, direct sunlight can sometimes cause.

Adjust Your Settings

Using natural lighting photography creates the most stunning images. However, many photographers avoid shooting in outdoor portrait photography lighting if it involves shooting in direct, harsh sunlight. As advanced as cameras are now, it will still be difficult for the light meter to accurately read all of the light bouncing around from direct sunlight. It is best to shoot in manual mode to help give skin tones the proper exposure during natural lighting photography. Direct sunlight also tends to create hard shadows on the skin. These shadows can highlight imperfections on the skin if you’re not careful. When using natural light in photography, you can soften the light on your subject’s skin by using a wide aperture on your Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera from Just make sure you take your time and maintain a sharp focus when using wide open apertures and consider using an ND filter. Also, remember to keep your ISO low, around 100. Of course, don’t forget to set your white balance to sunny.

Tips for Taking Photos in Direct Sunlight

What’s Your Angle?

When using natural light in photography, you don’t want the sunlight to directly hit your subject’s face. Arrange your subject so they are at an angle allowing their face to be completely shaded. This may mean facing their backs to the sun. This could actually create a glowing rim around your subject’s head, adding a nice highlight effect to your natural lighting photography. Just about any lens you pack with you will provide flare with the right angles. But short primes do very well. This technique isn’t possible when the sun is directly overhead.

Tips for Taking Photos in Direct Sunlight

“Flash” Light & Accessories

Don’t forget one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need in your camera bag from When shooting in bright outdoor portrait photography lighting, you need to carry an external flash with you at all times. Use a flash to fill in shadows on the face caused by the harsh sunlight overhead. Make sure you use a lens hood when shooting your natural lighting photography. It will help to block the light from hitting the front of your lens creating any unwanted flare.

Tips for Taking Photos in Direct Sunlight

Summer offers a multitude of opportunities using natural light in photography. With the sun so high in the sky, and casting such strong shadows, can you still get great shots using natural light in photography? Use these tips to learn how to shoot in harsh, full sunlight this summer.

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