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Monday, 28 January 2013

How to Photograph in Direct Sunlight


It's always preferable to shoot in the morning or evening, because the light from the sun is softer and provides a greater ambience. However, sometimes, this isn't possible, and due to your time, where you are, or whatever other reason, your only option may be to shoot in the sun. Therefore, whatever your camera, even a point and shoot, you'll need some good tips on what you can do to downgrade this issue, and end up with better shots.
Tip #1 Move your Subject
If you can, avoid the direct sunlight altogether, and move yourself and your subject into the shade, and take your shot there. Of course this may not always be possible, but seek the easiest solution first and then go from there.
Tip #2 Create a Shady Area Yourself
If it's not possible to move your subject into the shade, try to create a shady area yourself. You can do this a number of ways, depending on your subject size, you could create a shadow over it yourself, or you could use an umbrella, reflector, or any number of things to bring your subject out of the direct sunlight.
Tip #3 Alter Your Position
Move away from the sun by altering your viewpoint of the subject, perhaps to the side, above it, or even beneath it if possible. This could actually lead to some pretty new perspectives that you may not have considered.
Tip #4 Use a Fill Flash
Generally, you should always photograph with the sun behind you, but in certain circumstances this may not be possible. If you are taking a photo of a person, then they are likely to be squinting with the sun in their eyes, so if you switch positions, you could end up with things like lens flare, but most noticeably, quite a dark subject. This is where your flash will help, and light up the subjects face, providing a more balanced shot.
Tip #5 Filters
Using a filter on a DSLR is a great way to reduce the effect of sunlight. Unfortunately, not so much of an option for a point and shoot, but filters help diffuse the light resulting in a better photo.
Tip #6 Metering
Normally, you would probably meter off your subject, but try to experiment a little and see if you can get a metering off of something neutral between the sunlight and dark subject. Play around with your settings if you do not get the result you desire, and use the histogram to help determine what you need to do.
Tip #7 HDR
Try using HDR (High Dynamic Range), take your shots on three different exposure metering, and then merge the results using Photoshop's HDR plugin, or the superior Photomatix Pro. This method can produce some very interesting results, and solve the direct sunlight issue.
These tips can have a great impact on your photos, and provide good solutions to the direct sunlight issue.
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