Summer is rapidly approaching and your schedule might be filling up with weddings, family sessions and lots of personal family time out in the sun. Anyone that's taken a photograph knows that light is everything in photography and if you've taken a picture outside on a sunny, summery day, you know that too much harsh light isn't a good thing.


We've collected some tips for those summery, bright shoots. Let's start with the Sunny 16 rule...

 

When shooting on a bright sunny day, you'll find that in order to get the least harsh, best exposed pictures, your aperture should be set at F/16 with your ISO the inverse of your shutter speed. So, if you have your ISO set at 200, your shutter speed should be 1/200. This ensures that your camera will have the right amount of sensitivity to the right amount of light let in. I found this graphic on Pinterest via gettotallyrad.com that explained it pretty well.

Another tip that relates to the Sunny 16 rule is to follow your shadow. This video from Barry Phipps explains both the Sunny 16 rule and the shadow rule really well. Basically, if your shadow is in front of you, use the Sunny 16 rule. If your shadow is behind you, you know to open your aperture a bit to something like F/11.

 

If you can, find shade! Sometimes that's easier said than done, but making sure there is plenty of shade before you go to the location with your clients, is incredibly helpful. If you're in a bind and there is no shade to be found, you can create your own! We found this great tutorial/demonstration using a reflector.

 

make-open-shade

 

And lastly, you can double check the lighting with a light meter. You can find them all over the internet or if you have a smart phone, there are dozens of apps that turn your phone into a light meter! I downloaded this app for my iPhone and have had great success with it. You can tap on the subject and it will give you all the settings that your camera should be on. Granted, if you follow light meters 100% of the time, you turn over some of your creativity and freedom, but it can be a good starting point to get you in the right ball park.


It takes quite a bit of practice to really get the hang of shooting in bright, harsh sun, but it is possible! What are your tips for shooting in the midday sun?

Written by Cheeky Lime — June 18, 2013

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