Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

How to capture great photos in bright sunlight

How are you going to take good photos in vivid daylight? As chances are you’ll remember, capturing on sunny days – particularly round midday – can typically appear not possible. When you’re not cautious, you’ll find yourself with harshly lit pictures which are stuffed with undesirable distinction, blown-out highlights, lens flare, and ugly colours. So what’s a photographer to do?

Luckily, there are easy strategies for doing images in vivid daylight. You simply have to decide on your strategy rigorously – and at instances, get a bit inventive.

And on this article, I’ll show you how to navigate the difficulties of direct daylight and supply suggestions and methods to get the absolute best pictures. I supply 14 sensible suggestions that actually anybody can use to degree up their sunlit photos, irrespective of their degree of expertise.

Backside line: Whether or not you’re into portraiture, panorama images, close-up capturing, road images, or another photographic style, there’s a approach to make the solar give you the results you want, so let’s dive proper in!

Why is images in vivid daylight so troublesome?

how to photograph in bright sunlight

You’ve in all probability heard seasoned photographers advise in opposition to capturing in direct daylight. However why is that this the case? For starters, vivid daylight is a type of onerous gentle. It creates deep shadows and stark distinction, making it troublesome to seize flattering photos—whether or not it’s of individuals, landscapes, and even flowers. Take into consideration portrait images at noon. You’ll find yourself with sturdy shadows, typically in awkward locations like beneath your topic’s chin, because of the overhead angle of the solar.

Then there’s the difficulty of publicity. Arduous gentle makes it difficult to seek out that candy spot between too vivid and too darkish. You’ll typically discover areas of your shot which are overexposed, washed out, or underexposed and too darkish. You received’t simply battle with publicity; even colours can seem much less vibrant in vivid daylight. A vivid purple rose, for example, can look surprisingly uninteresting when photographed in harsh daylight.

Ever seen these circles of sunshine that present up unexpectedly in your pictures, like within the shot of the airplane under? That’s lens flare. Whereas it may be used deliberately for inventive impact, as a rule, it’s an unwelcome distraction that reduces the general distinction of your picture.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

However worry not! As I defined above, taking good photos in vivid daylight may be very attainable. It simply requires a little bit additional know-how, which leads us to some primary methods you may make use of to enhance your sunlit pictures:

5 primary methods for coping with vivid daylight

So you end up outside, digicam in hand, and the solar is blazing. It’s clear that the sunshine circumstances aren’t excellent, however what are you able to do?

There are 5 basic approaches you may take, every with its personal professionals and cons. The effectiveness of those methods will rely in your particular scenario, so it’s a good suggestion to familiarize your self with all of them and choose totally different strategies as wanted.

1. Diffuse the sunshine

We’ve established that vivid daylight is a tough gentle supply, creating these deep, dramatic shadows. One approach to counteract that is to make use of some form of diffusion materials between the solar and your topic.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

The material will disperse the sunshine over a broader space, successfully lowering these problematic shadows and firming down distinction. The tip result’s a softer, extra pure look.

2. Block the sunshine

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

Diffusion isn’t at all times an choice; possibly you don’t have the required tools or just can’t place it successfully. In such instances, blocking the sunshine is your subsequent greatest wager.

Basically, you’re seeking to shade your topic. This doesn’t imply shoving them beneath a tree, though that would work. However you could possibly additionally use objects like a constructing and even a big umbrella to solid a shadow, which helps to cut back distinction and makes the lighting in your topic extra even.

3. Add extra gentle

When you discover that the pure daylight is casting harsh shadows in your topic, why not add your individual supply of sunshine? This could possibly be an off-camera flash or a reflector that bounces gentle again onto your topic.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

Certain, it’s a bit difficult – utilizing flash outside can really feel intimidating, and getting the stability proper takes some apply. However when completed accurately, this system might help remove these unflattering shadows and provides your topic a extra balanced, pleasing look.

4. Anticipate the sunshine to alter

When you’ve got the luxurious of ready, it may be a terrific technique. Clouds can act as pure diffusers, and the setting solar presents a softer gentle that’s simpler to work with than the tough noon solar.

In different phrases, clouds are your mates right here; they soften the sunshine, making your job a complete lot simpler. The environment has the same impact throughout dawn and sundown, providing you with a softer, extra subtle gentle that’s typically simpler to work with.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

5. Embrace the sunshine

Final however not least, why not lean into the problem? Vivid daylight brings with it deep shadows and excessive distinction, however these aren’t essentially unhealthy issues. You should utilize them creatively to make compelling photos.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

As an illustration, stark distinction can really add a way of drama to landscapes or make a portrait extra intriguing. This strategy is all about experimenting, about attempting out high-contrast pictures and easily appreciating how direct solar renders topics in a novel means.

Methods to take good photos in vivid daylight: suggestions and methods

On this part, I supply loads of detailed, sensible tips for capturing portraits, road scenes, landscapes, and extra – even within the harshest of sunshine!

1. Use a pop-up diffuser

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

It’s possible you’ll affiliate diffusers primarily with indoor flash images, however they’re extremely helpful in outside settings as properly. A diffuser is actually a chunk of translucent materials that scatters gentle, softening these harsh shadows and lowering distinction. When working with a flash, you should utilize diffusers in numerous varieties, from white umbrellas to softboxes – however when working outside, a regular sheet or a rounded pop-up diffuser will do the trick.

You or an assistant can merely maintain the diffuser between the sunshine and your topic, and the outcome will typically characteristic a pure lighting impact. This system is especially helpful for portrait and close-up images, however keep in mind that diffusers do have their limitations; you may’t precisely maintain one over a constructing or a large panorama!

2. Transfer into the shade

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

The best approach to take stunning photos in direct daylight?

Simply transfer into the shade.

Clearly, as with diffuser strategies, this isn’t at all times possible – you actually can’t transfer a whole seascape! – however with some topics, heading into the shade is fast and simple. It’s resolution when capturing portraits, assuming you’re not tied to a selected location.

In spite of everything, generally the only options are greatest!

3. Make your individual shade

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

For small topics that aren’t movable – for example, a small flower in a discipline – create your individual shade!

You could have just a few totally different choices, some extra handy than others:

Block the sunshine together with your physique
Ask an assistant to face between the topic and the sunshine
Maintain a chunk of cardboard or an umbrella above the topic

Observe that a few of these choices might be more practical relying on the course of the sunshine (e.g., if the brilliant solar is instantly overhead, it’ll be robust to dam it with your individual physique).

4. Use fill flash

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

One of many largest issues with capturing in direct daylight is the tough shadows. As an illustration, portrait topics will get undesirable shadows beneath the chin, flowers will get heavy shadows beneath the petals, and pets will get darkish shadows beneath their head and physique.

Generally, these harsh shadows look unhealthy, however there’s a straightforward resolution:

Fill flash.

Merely level a flash towards the darkish shadows and hearth away! Ensure that the flash is on a low energy setting – in any case, you don’t need to make the underside of your topic brighter than its prime! – and experiment with totally different flash angles for the perfect outcomes.

You additionally would possibly attempt placing the solar behind your topic, then utilizing the fill flash to brighten up your topic’s entrance. It might look actually good, although be careful for lens flare.

5. Use a reflector

Wish to fill in harsh shadows however don’t like utilizing flash?

You could have one other straightforward choice:

A reflector.

Reflectors are white or metallic objects that bounce gentle again into darker areas, and so they’re very easy to make use of. Merely level the reflector on the space you need to brighten up, then modify it till you get some good fill (by angling the reflector backwards and forwards, you’ll see the mirrored gentle change place, and you should utilize this “preview” to fine-tune the impact).

portrait with backlight

Observe you could additionally attempt the identical tactic I discussed within the earlier part, the place you place your topic in entrance of the solar and bounce gentle again onto their entrance. A reflector isn’t as highly effective as a fill flash, so that you’ll have to rigorously angle it for optimum impact – however in the event you get it proper, the outcomes might be wonderful.

6. Change your perspective

Generally, shifting your topic into the shade isn’t doable – however shifting round your topic may give the identical impact.

As an illustration, in the event you’re capturing an attention-grabbing tree within the forest, you would possibly transfer to the tree’s different facet, you would possibly discover an attention-grabbing a part of the tree that’s shrouded in shadow, otherwise you would possibly get low and shoot up.

bright sunlight looking up at trees

The concept is to watch your topic rigorously, on the lookout for methods to maximise shade and reduce vivid highlights and annoying distinction.

7. Use a lens hood

Affected by lens flare?

Whereas flare might be inventive, it may also be very annoying, particularly in the event you’re after a clear, simple picture.

Luckily, many lenses include hoods, which block flare-causing gentle and preserve your pictures flare-free.

a lens hood

When you don’t have a lens hood, don’t fret; it’s not that troublesome to assemble a hood out of cardboard or to make use of your hand to protect your lens from the solar.

(Simply ensure you preserve your makeshift lens hood and your hand out of the shot – in any other case, you’ll be doing loads of cropping in post-production!)

8. Think about using a filter

a filter

Sadly, filters don’t supply a magical resolution for vivid daylight – there’s no “keep away from direct daylight” filter, at the least not presently – however filters might be useful for direct daylight images.

As an illustration, a polarizing filter will assist lower down on reflections, plus it’ll show you how to obtain vibrant colours (together with a wonderful blue sky).

And a impartial density filter will scale back the sunshine hitting your digicam sensor, permitting for slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures at noon.

(Why would possibly that be helpful? Generally, you’ll need to shoot with a large aperture for the shallow depth of discipline impact, otherwise you’ll desire a gradual shutter velocity to convey movement blur.)

9. Play together with your white stability settings

Today, just about each digital digicam enables you to select between totally different white stability settings (for example, you may dial in a white stability preset, similar to Cloudy or Daylight, or you may set a customized white stability based mostly in your scene).

Now, you may modify the white stability in a while in post-processing, assuming you’re capturing in RAW. However in the event you shoot in JPEG, otherwise you merely choose to get issues proper in-camera, you’ll need to rigorously set your white stability from the beginning.

How is this beneficial for taking good photos in vivid daylight?

Effectively, white balances can supply inventive results that improve the look of highlights and shadows. A cooler white stability, for example, may give a neat impact to extra monochrome photos – whereas a heat white stability will make vivid daylight seem softer and extra inviting.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

10. Use spot metering for the perfect outcomes

Harsh daylight makes right metering difficult. So right here’s my recommendation:

Use spot metering. This may power your digicam to reveal based mostly on a focused portion of your scene; you may intention at your fundamental topic, then dial within the really helpful publicity settings.

woman in the bright sun

Alternatively, you may spot meter off a midtone in your shot – this can guarantee all the scene is uncovered comparatively properly (versus the previous approach, which is able to make sure you expose on your topic).

After taking a picture, test the again of your digicam for a preview; chances are you’ll want to regulate your approach relying on the outcome. Right here, your histogram might be very useful, particularly as a result of it’s robust to precisely consider an LCD preview in vivid daylight.

Additionally, if in case you have the luxurious of time, attempt metering off totally different elements of the scene whereas taking a number of pictures – that means, you may select the best choice in a while.

11. Rigorously select the time of day you shoot

camel silhouette

Most of us don’t have the luxurious of sitting round all day ready for the proper gentle.

However heading out an hour or two earlier or ready till an hour or two later is perhaps possible – and if that’s manageable, I extremely suggest you think about it.

You see, the time of day can dramatically affect your shot. Noon presents disagreeable, harsh gentle, however in the event you exit within the early morning or late afternoon, even direct daylight begins to look good. You’ll lose the undesirable distinction, you’ll lose the ugly shadows, and also you’ll get smooth, golden gentle that’ll flatter your topics.

Make sense?

13. Shoot silhouettes

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

Because the saying goes:

When you can’t beat ’em, be a part of ’em!

And that applies when photographing topics in vivid daylight. If the solar is inflicting you issues, simply use it to your benefit; make your topic stand in entrance of the brilliant gentle, then seize gorgeous silhouettes all day lengthy.

I like to recommend getting down low (so that you simply’re capturing in opposition to the brilliant sky). And compose so your topic is clearly outlined in opposition to the background.

13. Work with the distinction

Distinction would possibly seem to be your enemy – however with a little bit of creativity, it may be your ally. Contemplate the realm of road images, the place dynamic gentle and shadows can create compelling photos. A well-placed shadow can add depth and curiosity to your compositions!

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

And in portraiture, {a partially} shaded face may give off a mysterious or moody vibe. The secret is to be intentional together with your use of distinction. Whereas this strategy might not be fitted to each event, when completed proper, it may end up in really fascinating pictures.

14. Go black and white

If you end up battling an excessive amount of distinction and washed-out colours, why not think about a monochrome strategy? Black and white images thrives on the play between gentle and shadow, making it a robust choice when coping with vivid daylight.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

You don’t must decide to black and white from the outset, particularly in the event you’re capturing in RAW format (and also you undoubtedly needs to be!). Simply seize your photos and later convert them to monochrome throughout post-processing. You would possibly uncover that the highlights and shadows really enhance your compositions!

Methods to take good photos in vivid daylight: ultimate phrases

Navigating the challenges of vivid daylight in images could appear daunting at first, however with the suitable strategies in your arsenal, you may rework your struggles into alternatives.

From using diffusers and embracing distinction to even venturing into the world of black and white, there’s a variety of choices out there that will help you seize gorgeous photos, whatever the solar’s place.

Photography in Bright Sunlight: 14 Easy Tips for Beautiful Results

So the subsequent time you end up squinting in opposition to the obtrusive solar, digicam in hand, don’t shrink back. As an alternative, bear in mind the following tips and switch that harsh gentle into your inventive playground!

Now over to you:

Do you battle to shoot in vivid daylight? Do you may have any suggestions or methods for coping with these points? Share your ideas (and pictures) within the feedback under.