Many of us are familiar with the following scenario: We might be trying to take a photograph of our family at a famous landmark or a beautiful scenic viewpoint when on holiday. The opportunity is not to be missed; you might never visit this unique place again! Alas, here comes the problem. You are facing the sun. You do your best to shift your position, you ask the people you are taking a photograph of to move, but to no avail! The final photograph always ends up the same, everything is darkened by the overly-bright sun.
Such a scenario is quite common, and might end in disappointment for the amateur photographer. However, it might not be acceptable to the pro, or aspiring ones, who cannot afford to miss out on an opportunity of the perfect shot. Such ones might also worry about damaging their camera with strong sunlight. So how do you do it? How do you take great photos when facing the sun? Let’s find out some simple ways that even the beginners among us can apply.
Create Your Own Shade
If you cannot avoid taking a photo in the direct sunlight, one simple way to achieve a good outcome is to simply create your own shade. Whether using an umbrella, a backpack, your hand or anything else, block out the sun, and take the shot! If taking a still photo, this technique can be used in an even more advanced way. If access to photo editing software is available, simply take two identical photos, one normal and one with the sun covered. Then join the two photographs using software, infilling the blocked sun with the sun from the full photo! The effect can be surprisingly good.
Shoot with Flash
If taking photos of subjects in close proximity, it’s possible to fix the contrast of the photo with fill flash. The flash will light up the subjects, including the most shadowy parts, such as hat, nose, or eye shadows, and balance out the photo.
Make Use of Filters
If possible, take advantage of filters. Filters such as a neutral density filter and a polarizing filter can reduce the amount of light that enters the camera. This can give you more control over exposure, contrasts, and colors.
Fixing Strong Contrasts
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a photo editor and are taking a photograph of a still scene, there is an easy method you can use to fix big contrasts between overexposed skies and dark foregrounds. Simply take multiple identical photos at different exposure settings and join them together into a single HDR photograph using photo editing software. If an action photo is what you are after, don’t despair. It’s possible to use editing software to lighten darkened spots, even on just a single photograph. While it is true that some parts of the photo might acquire noise, the effect will not be so noticeable, unless the photo is shown in its original resolution.
These methods mentioned are only some of the many ways to take a successful photo while facing the sun. However, there is no doubt, taking good photos in such a setting is possible!