As a photographer, you most likely understand everything about the role of lighting in photography. Lighting is the center of every portrait and without light, there can be no photograph. But sometimes too much light, like on a bright sunny day, poses a difficult scenario for every photographer to click the best portraits. One of the greatest photographers’ challenges is taking photos in direct sunlight. From scouting out locations for a photoshoot that will look good on a sunny day to getting dressed up as a professional photographer in a comfortable yet stylish manner, there is a lot to follow and keep in mind. Sunny day photography tips are all about using, manipulating, creating, or blocking the light to create portraits that are not burned-out or shadowed. Sunny day photography challenges show us that light can be sometimes a little challenging! 

One of the best photography tips for both beginners and advanced photographers is to avoid direct sunlight while creating the photography timeline. It is a great idea to avoid taking pictures when the sun is at its brightest. For instance, moving your subject into the shade to avoid high contrast and strong shadows can be a great start. But there are times when it is inevitable and you have to shoot under the glaring and bright daylight. Perhaps it’s a family photoshoot on a bright beach day. Sometimes sunny portraits can be stunning especially if you know the tricks of harsh sunlight photography. Here, making your clients comfortable during the photoshoot can be directly achieved by playing it natural and using these amazing photography tips as your guide to assignment prep! All you have to do is think a little harder and be more creative with your camera.

Great Sunny Day Photoshoot Tips: 

Find shade on bright days 

All shades are not created equal. Solid shade from a building or a tree with thick foliage is ideal, not the patchy shade that might be found under a less leafy tree. While dappled light is excellent for hiding, it is not ideal for photography because your subject will appear spotty. If you are shooting under a tree, make sure your subjects are towards the light and the tree is behind them. This is known as open shade since it is accessible even if the light has been softened by the tree, it is still reaching the landscape, and the direction of the light makes a difference. 

Create your own shade 

Creating your own shade is another approach to escaping direct sunlight on your portraits. If you can’t get the subject into a shaded region, you can always make one. You can use an umbrella, a large piece of cardboard, or almost anything else to cast a shadow on your subject and filter off the sun’s harsh light. 

Use a fill flash 

The midday sun is very intense and harsh. It not only brightly illuminates subjects, but it can also cast very dark shadows. You will want to use a fill flash to light up some of the darker regions if your subject is wearing a hat or is looking away from the sun. Most of the time, your built-in flash will suffice. To avoid using too much flash when only a tiny amount is required, simply change the settings to fill-flash mode. Using a flash during the day may seem unusual and counterintuitive. After all, there’s plenty of light, so why would you need a flash? This is why. It has to do with the fact that the lighting is uneven. Because the sun is so bright, the shutter speed is adjusted so that no part of your photo is overly bright. As a result, the darkened portions will appear even darker than the bright areas. To compensate for the darkness, you must add more light to the darker regions of the picture, bringing them in line with the rest of the image. Your subject will look at you strangely if you do this, but it is a great sunny day photography hack.

Find a reflector 

You could need a reflector to perform the same thing if you don’t want to utilize fill flash or if it isn’t enough to adequately illuminate your subjects. In order to light up some of those shadowy areas, bounce a little light into your subject’s face. Almost any white or bright surface can act as a light reflector, and when held at the appropriate angle, you can use it to provide a little extra light to your subject. For instance, ask your subject to wear a white t-shirt for this, but you could achieve a similar effect by placing your subject against a white wall or placing various white objects just out of frame to reflect light. 

Move around 

If you can’t change the position of your subject, you might be able to move yourself to get better photographs. You can adjust the angle at which the light hits your subject by shifting your posture. It may also enable you to take a better shot by presenting your subject from a different angle. Instead of shooting a subject straight on, you may crouch down and shoot upwards. You might also shoot down from an elevated platform or you can also roam around the subject and experiment with other perspectives. 

Use doorways 

This does not have to be a real doorway. A tunnel entrance, an archway, right inside a barn door, or even inside an automobile are all excellent photographic locations. Basically, anything with a roof that can stop the indirect light from the outdoors will nicely brighten your subject. It is termed as indirect because even if sunlight streams through the doorway and shines directly on your subject, the light will be unpleasant. If the doorway is in the shade, though, the light that creeps in is gentle and ideal for clicking portraits. Photograph your subject from the outside by positioning them just inside the doorway, facing out.

Wait for a little while

Waiting for the sun to go down a little will sometimes work wonders for your photos. This is why golden hour photos during sunset and sunrise are so beautiful. Not only will you be able to avoid direct sunlight, but you will also be able to see stunning colors. If there are clouds in the sky, you might want to wait until they completely cover the sun. You would have to shoot quickly or hope the clouds stayed put for a long period. 

Use a filter 

Direct sunlight can be tamed with the use of two filters. The neutral density filter, which limits the quantity of light entering your camera, and the polarizing filter, which does the same thing, are the two options. A polarizing filter can also help you manage the colors in your shot by reducing reflections. 

Metering the shots 

It’s difficult to meter your photographs under direct sunshine. To ensure that the subject is properly exposed, meter off the subject. Take a few test photographs and compare them to make modifications. When it comes to metering during a noon picture shoot, using spot metering and then selecting the main subject is an excellent option. You may also try to locate a midway ground, somewhere that is neither too bright nor too dark, and meter-off from there. This will ensure that every part of your shot is seen. 

Shoot into the sun 

Although it’s not the best time of day to photograph outside, if it’s 30 minutes before or after midday, you can tilt your subject away from the sun and put their face in shadow. It’s beneficial to them since they won’t have to strain their eyes, but it’s even more beneficial to you! For instance, you won’t get sharp shadows from their nose across their face or from their brows downwards in this way.

Use a lens hood 

A lens hood is now included with some of the top and premier photography cameras. It can be used to reduce lens flare. If you don’t have a lens hood, you can make one with some duct tape and some cardboard. You may also simply shield your lens from the light with your palm! Even better if you can find a shady spot or have someone else stop the sun from hitting your lens. Colors fade and the sky, in particular, is blown out when shooting into the sun. It will be great if you don’t mind a blown-out sky! If not, look for trees or buildings to block out the sky, or shoot on the side of a hill to cover out the sky.

Angles of the sun 

Finally, as a photographer, you should always enjoy the brilliant sunlight. In direct sunshine, certain subjects look fantastic. It’s simply a matter of being aware of where the sun is and what shadows the angle of the sun is casting, and then positioning your subject properly. If you are photographing a landscape or architecture, the angle of the sun may accentuate textures, which would be fantastic. The scene’s colors will be more vivid if the sun is behind you.

Be careful of overexposure 

Since you would protect your skin from burning in the midday sun by applying sunscreen, your camera can go through a similar scenario. The sun can be very bright throughout the summer months, especially at noon. This implies you will have to increase the shutter speed or decrease the aperture to prevent your images from being overexposed. Both of these modifications lower the amount of light passing through the lens. To click the photo you want, don’t be surprised if you have to adjust your shutter speed to 1/1000s or even 1/1500s. In the middle of a sunny day, this can be totally natural! 

Avoid shooting midday 

It’s not only weathermen, professional photographers also advise to avoid the midday sun. The sun shines straight overhead in the middle of the day, casting harsh, unpleasant shadows beneath the eyes and chin. Consider photographing a portrait later in the day, when the sun is lower in the sky and the side lighting is softer and more favorable to skin tones. 

Shooting landscapes and wildlife 

Make the most of a beautiful summer day by photographing landscapes. Sunny days are ideal for landscape photography and wildlife photography since the closed aperture and fast shutter speeds are used to minimize overexposure. Find an open field, position yourself at an angle that gives the scene a sense of scale, and shoot at an aperture of F22 or higher. Use the integrated light meter on your camera to assist you to choose the right shutter speed, and don’t forget the tripod. When going for wildlife photography, you should also take advantage of the extra bright light. You can boost your shutter speed to 1/1000s or 1/1500s around the middle of the day to capture some really fast motions that would otherwise be blurred. To achieve magnificent blue skies, stand with the sun behind you and use a wide-angle lens to catch kilometers of the beautiful countryside. Observe how the light changes over the vista as the sun lowers in the sky; the ‘golden hour’ immediately before sunset may be magical! Alternatively, get up early for sunrise, when the light is equally as lovely!

After you have taken a few beautiful portraits using the professional photography ideas above, try a few experiments with bright light to see if you can add some creativity to your images. It will be great for your photography portfolio! You might as well go for the WOW factor. Try shooting into the sun to get some lens flare (just be careful not to burn your eyes looking directly into it). Alternatively, for pictures with a sense of mystery and drama, consider silhouette photos. When it comes down to it, taking nice sunny photographs under the midday sun requires an awareness of light and the ability to adjust for the individual shooting situation. The amazing sunny day photography techniques in this post will get you started on getting better photographs during the day, and they may even do the majority of the work for you. However, you will want to go even further and there are a lot more things that you can know about light. Follow these guidelines and amazing tips during your photography off-season so that when the peak season starts, you will be ready to get the best assignments!

Join Our Community

We have more than 2000 members around the world

Join Community

Follow Us

Get the latest news and photo inspiration.