Did you know that it is better to shoot photography on cloudy days? Any photographer will tell you the same. Direct sunlight isn’t necessarily bad, but it is difficult. It creates high contrast, shadows, oversaturated colors, lens flares and more. And let me tell you, while not impossible to correct, this photographer would recommend avoiding that harsh, direct light. The reality is, though, sometimes you just have to accommodate for it. Here are 4 tips for better photos in harsh sunlight:
Okay, I know, I know. Here I said I would give you tips for taking photos in harsh sunlight and the first thing I tell you to do is find shade. But let me tell you, this is a wonderful tip!
Moving into the shade allows you to cut down on shadows and post-production editing. So move your portrait in front of a leafy tree.
If that’s not possible, you can always create your own shade. A beach umbrella creates a beautiful shade. If you are looking for a more professional route, you could use a pop-up diffuser, as well.
Position your subject away from where the sun is facing.
We all squint when we see the sun, or we pull out our sunglasses. Either way, it won’t produce the photo we are looking for. Instead, face your subject away from the light. This also gives you the opportunity to create a shadow with your body, allowing your subject to be shaded.
Change your perspective.
Sometimes you just can’t move out of the sun or create enough of a shaded area, and that’s okay. Move around your subject and look for the best angle and position to take the photo. This will change the angle at which the light hits your subject, giving you multiple photo opportunities without moving your subject. For example, bend those knees and shoot up toward your subject or find an elevated surface to shoot down toward your subject. You could even move left or right and gain a new view completely.
Use your tools.
One of the worst parts of shooting in direct sunlight is the shadows. There’s an easy solution, though: a flash! What?!? Adding more light to the light? Yes! The flash will add light to the dark parts of the photo, eliminating, or at least lessening, any shadows.
Another option is a reflector. While you may get lucky and find some natural reflectors, having your own reflector will help direct light where it needs to go to eliminate the shadows.
If you are suffering from lens flares, consider using a lens hood. The hood will essentially block any light that is causing a flare. OR go with it. You can create some really neat photos using lens flares.
The last tool is a filter. A filter can help lessen the amount of light getting into your camera. I recommend either a polarizing filter or a neutral density filter.
Although direct sunlight is never ideal, there are some ways to help with it. I still recommend waiting for a better time of day before trying any of these tips, but sometimes that’s just not possible. That’s when these tips come in handy!