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 the worst, and that usually means 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.

Your first two tips for shooting in bright sunlight are fast, easy adjustments that can be made with no extra equipment:

 

If your photo looks like this…

 

Before photo in bright sun

 

Try 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.

Photo after using back lighting

 

If your photo looks like this…

 

Before photo with harsh shadows in bright sun

 

Try this!

 

Avoid dappled lighting caused by the sun filtering through the trees, which casts pockets of light and 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.

 

After photo using back lighting technique

 

The side-by-side comparison is striking. Even a simple adjustment can make a dramatic improvement in the quality of your photographs.

Before and After Photos: Taking photographs in bright sunlight

Now it’s your turn! Try out tips #1 and 2, and don’t forget to show us the final product. Share your winning shots with us on Facebook or on Instagram @nationsphotolab, and stay tuned for the next round of tips for scoring a winning shot in the most challenging of lighting situations. 

Good luck!

4 Comments

  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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