Thursday, July 23, 2009

how to photograph in direct sunlight

pool party

It's summertime, and I find myself spending more and more time outdoors in the bright sunshine, camera in hand to capture my cute little girls splashing around in the water. We've discussed how shooting in broad daylight is not the best lighting situation for photos, but what's a girl (or boy) to do when the kids are playing and the sun is high in the sky? Here are some tips:

  • find some shade - the easiest solution is to move your subject into the shade of a tree or building to take the photo. You could even try to use yourself as the shade (check out this tip over at Pioneer Woman).
  • block out the light - if you must shoot in direct sunlight, try using a lens hood or even your hand to block out the harshest rays.
  • use fill flash - click here for my post on fill flash. Flash in direct sunlight sounds like overkill, right? But it makes sense - the direct sun overhead can create some pretty severe shadows, especially on faces. Fill flash can help to even out the light - no more ugly shadows darkening your photos.
  • try a longer exposure - for this tip, you will need to work in shutter priority or manual (click here for more on camera modes). The longer the shutter stays open the better chance of getting a more even exposure between the really bright and really dark places in your photo. Try a shutter speed of 1/100 or longer (i.e. 1/80, 1/60, etc.).
  • use a filter - a polarizing filter will help cut down on the amount of light coming into your camera, allowing you to use a slower shutter speed (see above).
Any questions? Leave a comment.


Angela July 23, 2009 at 5:47 PM  

Hey, thanks for that. Light is my biggest headache with my Canon 450d SLR. I just cant get it right.

Angela July 23, 2009 at 5:55 PM May be that link will work!!