Quick Photo Fix: How to Take Better Photos in Bright Sunlight

Quick Photo Fix: How to Take Better Photos in Bright Sunlight

As photographers, we’d all love to have the luxury of shooting in great light all the time. You know, that wonderful, golden light at sunrise or sunset, or even that soft, dreamy light on a cloudy day.

The reality is that we’re often forced to shoot when conditions are less than ideal, like on a bright sunny day in the middle of the afternoon with the sun high in the sky. Whether you’re a professional wedding photographer, or a parent trying to get decent pictures at your child’s birthday party, these lighting situations can pose a real challenge.

That being said: with the right approach, you can still create some beautiful shots on a sunny afternoon. You can get great pictures in bright sunlight with these quick, easy adjustments (requiring no extra equipment!):

Get rid of squinting subjects & harsh shadows.

No one wants a photo featuring a squinting subject, unflattering smiles, and harsh shadows. To remedy this, place your subject between yourself and the sun. This may not be a classic back-lighting situation (depending on how high the sun is in the sky), but usually you can find an angle so the sun is off your subject’s face and coming from behind. This will remove the harsh shadows and make it easier for them to avoid squinting.

Remove dappled shadows.

When the sun filters through the trees, you can get what’s known as dappled shadows on your subject. If you can’t find even shade, try to once again back-light your subject so the dappled shadows are behind them.

Looking at the side-by-side comparisons above, you can see that even a simple adjustment can make a dramatic improvement in the quality of your photographs.

Now, it’s your turn! Try out these tips, and don’t forget to show us the final product. Good luck!


  1. thanks for reminding me how simple this can bee

  2. We're glad you liked it, Kay!

  3. what would you say would be the maximum distance from the subject that fill flash is effective?

  4. How about fill flash? Many cameras have a pop-up flash. If it's set correctly, it resolves a multitude of sins. But be careful… if it's too much, the subject looks like a deer in the headlights.


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