Shooting in the Sun

19 May

Because people take a lot of pictures during events and outings that means a large number of those pictures are taken during the brightest part of the day. One would think that abundance of sunlight equates to getting better picture, but in reality, it ain’t so. Look closely at some of those high-noon snapshots that hang on your wall or refrigerator. Strong light makes for harsh shadows. Sometimes those shadows fall right into the subjects eye sockets giving them a raccoon appearance. Sometimes the harsh light makes the subjects perform a not-so-lovely squint. Other times the front of the subjects are in shadow while  the background is perfectly lit. There are tricks to overcoming these problems.

  • Position the subjects with the sun to their back and force your camera to flash. This will fill in the shadows and provide a more decent picture. This is called “fill flash” and is a long time standard technique. If you don’t have a flash OR if you want to try something different use a large white object to capture the sunlight and bounce it back into the subject’s face and body. Be careful or you may overpower your subjects eyes and cause squinting.
  • Instead of shooting in harsh daylight, find a shade. This will provide more even lighting and more flattering pictures. Look for over-hanging roofs and tree branches to provide relief from the sun.
  • There is a simple technique for fixing the squinting problem; have your subject close their eyes until you tell them to open them. Give the command and snap the shot immediately after given the command. You want to get this right in the first few tries or your subject may tire of this exercise.
  • Pick another time of the day to shoot. You may not always have this option, but if you do, it is your best choice.
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Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Photography Advice


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