A major mistake that many beginner photographers make is to think that bright, or direct, sunlight is their friend. It might seem logical that shooting outdoors with all that light means you can point your camera at anything, anywhere and create a good photograph. Just the opposite is true, however. Outdoor light is helpful, but not without understanding how it affects your beginner photos and how to control it. Follow the tips is this article and you’ll stop taking pictures with too much contrast, a lack of details in the bright areas, lens flare, unnatural colors and a bunch of squinty faces. Spend some time practicing these ideas and you’re sure to see improvement in your outdoor photography.
The first method to control direct sunlight for your photography is to understand the place where you’re taking beginner pictures. Don’t just start shooting; look at the physical space to gain some of that control.
• Maybe the easiest way to eliminate direct sunlight is to move your subject and you into the shade. You’ll quickly discover that pictures of your family and friends in the shade make for much better photos.
• If there is no natural shade, then create some with an umbrella on the beach or in the shadow of a building or sign. If you’re shooting close-ups, such as flowers or insects, stand where you can cast a shadow on your subject or ask someone to hold a large piece of poster board.
• Move around your subject to find a better shooting angle, such as low or high, that may reduce the effect of the direct sunlight.
• Try to shoot your outdoor beginner photography at dawn or dusk when the light is less direct and bright and more defuse and softer.
• Try the silhouette technique to use the extreme brightness to your advantage. You’ll create much more creative photos.
You can also eliminate many of the negative effects of direct sunlight on your beginner photography with your camera’s settings and other equipment.
• Use your flash to fill the shadows created by the bright sunlight. The flash will help to balance the light throughout your picture.
• You can also use a reflective surface, either a professional shade or umbrella or a homemade one with aluminum foil. Place it where the sun reflects on the front of your subject or people’s faces.
• Attach a lens hood or shield your lens with a card or your hand to eliminate lens flare from your beginner photography.
• If your digital camera accepts filters, then try a polarizing or neutral density filter. A polarizing filter works much the same as polarized sunglasses: less reflection and less light entering your camera, so you can shoot at slower shutter speeds.
• Shoot your outdoor photos with the correct white balance setting on your camera. Then, change the setting and take more pictures to see how that affects them.
• On DSLR cameras, point your lens at the subject of your picture and use the spot-metering mode to set the amount of light that will enter the camera. You can also take a reading from an area with an average tone. It’s a good idea to take some pictures, check your results, and then read different areas of your picture and take additional photos, so you have a good selection.
Beginner photography, all photography, needs light. That’s the science of the process; but you create magic when you know how to control that light.