5 Tips…. Sunny Day Photography

Bright days are great for many things, walks, days on the beach, beer gardens etc. but for Photography they cause a lot of issues:-

  • very high contrast scenes
  • too bright for flash to work
  • washed out colours in landscape scenes
  • etc.

Here are a few ideas for these sunny days

  1. When shooting people in bright sun, get their back to the the sun to stop them squinting, and use “flash” to light their faces, as their faces will be in shadow
  2. Look  for shadows – in landscape, getting high up a hill and shooing down into fields with trees can create lots of interesting shadows. In the city, look for things like fire escapes, these create detailed shadows on walls.
  3. Look for reflections – if you’re on a narrow street, the chances are 1/2 of it will be bright and sunny, the other side in shadow. When this happens, the windows on the bright side will reflect sunlight in to the dark area. This can create lots of unique patterns – maybe use one of the reflections as a spot light on a model…
  4. Churches – the bright sunlight outside illuminates stained glass windows, showing off their intricate colours. Also the colours create patterns on the floor of the church which you can use. This is an ideal place to practice your HDR skills as the contrast will be high
  5. Street Photography – one thing with “candid street” photography is you are shooting “from the hip”, i.e. not looking through the camera when taking the shot. To do this you need to “pre-focus” the lens and guess how far away your unsuspecting subjects will be – usually 2-3 meters is a good guess, maybe a bit further. The advantage on shooting on a Bright Day is that you can increase your chances of getting sharp shots of people – by using a smaller “aperture”. This gives a larger “depth of field”, which means you get more stuff in focus – on a dull day you need a “large depth of field”, which means you get less stuff in focus, so your chances of getting everything sharp is reduced. It’s not the easiest thing to describe, but basically, you could use F2.8-F5.6 on a dull day, but on a really bright day you can get up to F8 or F11.

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