Taking pictures on a sunny day! - Dreamstime

When the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day, I feel the urge to go outside and explore the world and this also means taking pictures.

Taking pictures when the sun is bright during the day is not easy, you can get hard shadows, flat pictures and if you want to photograph people, they can have strange expressions of pinching their eyes because of the sun.

Sometimes you just don't have an other option. The ceremony is at noon, you are on vacation and just passing by, ... and you just can't wait for the "Golden hours".

Here are some of my tips and tricks to shoot with bright sunlight.

1) Be aware of overexposure. Make sure that your shutter speed is quick or decrease your aperture to reduce the amount of light coming in through your lens. You also want to keep an eye on your histogram.

2) Use natural light and bring a reflection screen.

This is also a perfect way to lighten up the face of your model.

3) The sunny 16 rule. An old rule that is still used. On a sunny day, you set your aperture at F/16, then you set your shutter speed to the inverse of the ISO. It's an easy one to remember and a good starting point.

4) Work in the shade. Move your object into the shade if it's possible. This will give you consistent light and is easier to work with. If you want to try something different, try experimenting with shadow. Look for pattern's and directions,... the result might surprise you!

5) The Lens Hood is a good friend to avoid flares also keep your lens clean! Check your lenses and make sure you carry some simple cleaning kit just in case.

6) Create shadow.

If there is NO shadow, bring a white umbrella you can use as an soft box between the model and the sun.

7) Use a polarizing filter. Certainly with landscape photography. This will help you with reflections, gives you more control over colors when sky is blue and darkens 1 to 2 stops.

8) Use a fill flash to brighten shadows.

If your background is brighter than your subject use your flash, it will light up the foreground and will benefit your picture.

9) Move around. The object you are shooting, might not be as mobile as you! Moving around, getting new perspectives, can create surprising pictures.

10) HAVE FUN! Enjoy shooting on a sunny day and don't forget to protect yourself from the sun while you are taking pictures, you wouldn't be the first to get sunburned while concentrating on taking pictures!;-)

Photo credits: , ClaireCphotography.

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March 04, 2015


F16 is actually an aperture I prefer not to use. Because diffraction starts on many lenses at that level, even on some pro glasses. Using the sweet spot of the lens with a circular polarizer attached works better for me I think...

June 16, 2014


Very useful!!!!

June 14, 2014


Thanks for sharing!

June 10, 2014


Very practical advices. Thanks!

June 01, 2014


Good points but gray days often make life really difficult ; sun and blue sky is my preference but with the precautions you outline. David

June 01, 2014


love the sunny images and some great tips! thanks!

May 30, 2014


Thank you so much for sharing. Love the young fern photo ... its very lovely :)

May 29, 2014


Useful! Thank you for sharing!

May 28, 2014


Liked your "sunny images"! Good job!

May 28, 2014


Thbaks for sharing, great tips to take better images.

May 28, 2014


Around noon, always use the flash on your camera between 1/3 and 1/2 power to fill the dark shadows under people's eyes. And, if you're using Photoshop, go into IMAGE, then adjustment followed by shadow/highlights. Adjust each accordingly to tone down the contrast ratio.

May 28, 2014


Good tip! Thank you :)

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