shooting at midday sun

How to take perfect photographs in the midday sun

This is the first in a series that I plan to write on photographing at different times of the day. Whether you’re  in front or behind the camera these tips should come in handy.

shooting during midday sun

Photographically, my favourite time of the day is, midday.  I love the high contrast and deep rich colours from the strong sun rays. This time of day doesn’t work for all situations though or for all types of photo shoots. It’s definitely not good for formal posing where you want a group of people to all be looking directly at the camera. The shadows will be too dark and heavy, especially under their eyes. Not a flattering look. But to bring out bright colours and sharp focus, full sun works like a dream. The first shot above, in front of the red wall, works firstly because the amazing colour jumps off the wall and secondly because of their relaxed and somewhat comical stance against the wall. Lily and Scott are wearing hats which create more shadow on their faces  but that’s ok as their body language still helps give a happy feel to the image.

how to shoot during midday sun

I love full midday sun for action shots where people are busy with their own activity and don’t need to look at the camera. Or shots where the subject is in the sea, sun lit from directly above, giving rich deep colours. Generally, midday shots are not soft images but bold and high contrast photographs.

how to shoot during midday sunhow to shoot during mid day sun

how to shoot during mid day sun

how to shoot during mid day sun

If you’re the subject in a midday photograph

Now is your opportunity to wear bright bold colours. Don’t worry about looking at the camera, rather get involved in the activity being captured.

If you’re taking the photographs

Keep your friends looking away from you, up at the sky, at each other or off into the distance. For crisp clean images set the aperture to as high as it will go with your shutter speed nice and fast at least 1/250sec. As it is so bright anyway, you can keep your ISO down to a minimum of 100. Fiddle around with those settings to see where you get your light meter just one below the centre line. Adjust your aperture first and work from there.

If you’re using your phone to photograph, start on automatic then adjust the brightness by touching the screen where you want it to focus and slowly move your finger upwards to brighten your image. Don’t go too bright, the final adjustments can be done in editing, you don’t want to lose too much detail by going too bright. Detail lost in too bright exposure cannot be regained. But a slightly darker image can always be lifted in post editing.

I edit my phone images with VSCO.  For high contrast and bright colours, my favourite filter is AU5 and KE1. Follow this link to a great tutorial from VSCO on editing for high saturation. Generally, I adjust brightness, saturation and contrast.

how to shoot during midday sun

Next up I will give some tips and tricks for getting the perfect photograph during the famous “Golden Hour”. You can read that post here.