Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tips for Shooting in Sunny Conditions

1) Use a polarizer filter. A polarizer reduces glare and reflections, and saturates colors. It's great for making blue skies bluer. It also acts as a protector for your camera lens- it keeps dirt and grime off of your lens glass, and prevents chips or cracks in the glass since the filter would crack first if hit or dropped. (Reference our past filters posts 101 and 102 for more info.)

2) Use a lens hood. A lens hood keeps sun flare out of your images. This will help to not only prevent the spotted design that may appear in your image from flare, but will keep the colors more saturated instead of allowing the sun to wash them out as well. A hood also acts a lens protector by helping to keep outside elements away from the lens glass.

3) Never look at the sun through a camera. If you are trying to compose an image where the sun is in it, or you're trying to capture bright sun flare, be sure not to look at it through the viewfinder. Simply viewing it through a VF does nothing to protect your eyes. The same results as staring directly into the sun (retina damage and blindness) are possible.

4) Use a lower ISO. You'll want to set your ISO at 100 or lower for shooting in sunny conditions so that you can get the best exposure. Likewise, you'll probably need to use a smaller aperture.

5) Find shade. Sunlight can cause blow outs and high contrast. If there's shade available, you may want to step into it (or create your own shade).

6) Use a fill flash. You may think using more light when the natural light is already bright is too much. But, a fill flash can reduce harsh shadows created by sunlight, and allow you to get a proper exposure for both background and foreground. (Another additional lighting technique to reduce harsh shadows is to use a reflector.)

7) Use the sun to create effects. Instead of preventing effects such as sun flare and silhouetting when shooting in the sun, purposefully use it to your advantage. (More on these techniques coming soon)