Shooting in sunlight can lead to images that have high contrast, blown out highlights, lens flare and colors that may even look overly saturated. If you’re shooting portraits they are able to also lead to the ‘squint factor’.
So what’s a photographer to complete? Here are eleven quick and simple tips at combating the issues that bright sunlight might bring when shooting outdoors:
With some subjects you’ll manage to move them (and yourself) in to the shade. This is particularly relevant with portraits where your subject is very portable. Sometimes the easiest solutions are best.
If your subject just isn’t movable (for instance if you’re shooting macro work which has a flower) make your own shade. Use your own shadow, the shadow as someone else or bring a physical object with you (like an umbrella, a reflector or large sheet of card) to bar out the sun.
Most individuals were educated to put the sun behind you when going for a photograph so that your subject will likely be well lit. Shooting in the sun can lead to lens flare or a dark subject – but occasionally it can improve it drastically – notably if you use a flash to fill out the shadows which can be created by doing so (learn more about using fill flash).
Another way to add the shadows caused by sunlight is to make use of a reflector. These bounce light up into the face of the subject and so are great given that they allow that you shoot in the sun – just like when you’re using fill in flash.
Sometimes moving your subject isn’t possible – but moving around it could give a different impact. This might be moving on the other side of the object, shooting from directly above or even getting down low and shooting up. Doing so will alter the angle in the sun hitting both your subject along with the camera and provide your image a totally different feel.
Suffering from lens flare? If your lens came with a lens hood – have it out and use it. If you don’t have one – it’s not so difficult to construct one out of card – or even use your hand to shield your lens from your sun. Just make sure that the shot is free of the hand or even the Canon BP-819 Charger that you’re using (find out more about eliminating lens flare).
Sometimes a filter are needed when shooting in bright sunlight. I try to take a Polarizing filter or Neutral Density (ND) filter with at all times. The polarizing filter may help cut down on reflections and both will reduce the light stepping into your camera to let you use slower shutter 90devypky and smaller apertures if you’re looking for more control of these elements of exposure. Polarizing filters have the added bonus of supplying you with some control over some colors – particularly if you’ve got a blue sky within your shot (find out more about using filters).
Many video cameras come with the opportunity to choose different white balance settings. While you can make adjustments down the road post processing (particularly if shooting in RAW) choosing the proper setting with the time of shooting might be worth using. I personally shoot in RAW and do this later on my computer – but have friends who prefer to complete it in camera.
Direct sunlight makes correct metering tricky. In these conditions I generally choose spot metering mode on my small DSLR and select the main subject with the scene that I’m photographing (the focus) to meter off. Alternatively pick a mid-tone area to meter off if you want everything to be exposed relatively well. Check your shots immediately to see if you have to adjust your technique (your histogram can be handy here) of course, if you hold the luxury of energy – take multiple shots metering off different parts in the scene so that you’ll be able to choose the best one later.