Top 5 Tips for taking photos on a sunny day
Are you enjoying this wonderful weather we’ve been having recently? Out and about, in the park, on the beach, taking a few photos of friends and family enjoying the rare British summertime.
Unfortunately a fantastically sunny day with lots of light doesn’t always result in great photos – in fact, sometimes when you’re shooting portraits in bright sunshine you can encounter real problems.
Here are our top five simple tips for taking photos on a sunny day!
Avoid the mid-day sun
It’s not just the weathermen that tell you to avoid the mid-day sun, photographers do too! In the middle of the day the sun shines directly overhead giving harsh, unflattering shadows under the eyes and chin. If you’re trying to capture a portrait consider waiting until later in the day when the sun is lower in the sky and the side lighting is softer and more complimentary to skin tones.
When the sun is lower in the sky the light on your subject’s faces is a lot more flattering!
It’s sunny with bright blue skies, why would you want to sit in the shade? In the shade the light is much softer. Sit your subject under a tree; the key is to find a spot where they have a nice even light falling over them. Choose the background carefully and with greenery or colourful flowers you can still give the impression of a beautiful summer’s day without the harsh sunlight spoiling the shot.
No shade? Take a pale coloured umbrella – white is ideal – and ask your subject to hold it over themselves (but out of shot), the fabric will act as a giant diffuser giving a lovely soft light.
Think about where you position people
Stand them facing the sun and your subject will have an unsightly squint. Along with harsh under the eye shadows this is not a good look!
But be careful about having the camera facing directly into the sun as, although it does sometimes produce a beautiful effect, it can cause camera flare. With the sun behind them, try to find a tree or dark background to stand your subject in front of, this will create a lovely halo of light around them! Take a bit of time to check your positions; just moving a few centimetres can make a huge difference to the lighting of your final image.
Just moving a few cm can produce different lighting effects from beautifully even lighting to artistic flare!
Backlighting your subject can give you a lovely halo of light around them
On a sunny day you may find that the background of your photo is lovely and bright and captured perfectly, but the person in the foreground who you are trying to photograph is dark and shadowy.
It might sound crazy but the best way to eliminate shadows created by sunlight and to compensate for the dark shadows is by turning your flash on! This will throw a little extra light on the darker areas, lighting up faces and shadows, and producing a photo with even lighting across foreground and background. This is called fill-in-flash.
Don’t panic, whilst manually setting fill-in-flash can seem complicated, most newer digital cameras will set it automatically for you, all you need to do is turn on the on-camera flash in a bright environment and the camera will do the rest!
Make the most of a glorious sunny summers day and shoot landscapes. Stand with the sun behind you to get beautiful blues skies and use a wide-angle lens to capture miles of the stunning countryside. Watch how the light changes across the vista as the sun sinks lower in the sky, the ‘golden hour’ just before the sun sets can be magical! Or perhaps get up early for sunrise when the light is just as beautiful!
We’d love to hear how you get on trying out these simple tips, how about sending us some of your sunny photos!