How To Fix Sunlight In Photos

By | 23/11/2022

14 Tips on Taking Photos in Harsh Sunlight - Mastin Labs

As a lensman, information technology’s your chore to capture the discipline in front of yous and the mood of the 24-hour interval. This tin be especially difficult when yous acquire that dreamy outdoor nuptials you lot were and then excited to shoot is happening at apex on a scorching hot day in August, or when you evidence up to photograph a family session to notice out they’ve relocated it to a sunny, white sand beach.

So how can yous capture the essence of a gorgeous summer day without bravado out your highlights or ending upwardly with squinty and harsh full-sun facial expressions? As is typical in photography, there is no right or wrong answer, just a lot of people that accept institute what works (and doesn’t work) for them.

We asked our online community of Mastin Labs users to give us their advice for shooting in harsh, total sun lighting and created a web log mail service to share it with you.

Adjust Your Settings

Capturing perfect skin tones, detail in the background and foreground, natural colors throughout an image, and capturing a full-lord’s day prototype in a way that reflects your style, requires you to control your photographic camera settings. Assuming you cannot alter the time of day or the location of the shoot, the number one piece of advice that our community gave us was to drop down your f-stop and expose for the highlights.

Topher DeLancy, an experienced full-sun, California-based photographer, shares his process, “I don’t use whatever filters on my lenses, so when it’s actually bright, I’ll drop my ISO all the way down and shutter speed up pretty high, this way I can still go on the aperture at 2.eight or lower to keep some magic in the shot.”

Sydney Renee Bodi recalls her own feel shooting in full sunday during a ceremony (where she had no control of the positioning of the bride and groom). She shares how she captured the shots she wanted regardless of the conditions, saying, “I exposed for the highlights and I brought my f-stop manner down. Bringing it to 2.viii completely saved me and I was able to become a actually great full-lord’s day ceremony.”

Ragi Boctor, Mastin Labs user, offers his communication for accommodating full-sunlight for film and digital photographers. “If y’all are shooting digital, apply your histogram to ensure that you aren’t blowing out your highlights. Don’t trust your camera’south LCD screen. If you are shooting movie, meter for the shadows then meter for the highlights. Make sure they are within the dynamic range of the flick stock that you are using.”

Photo Credit: Ania Boniecka

Piece of work WITH YOUR LIGHT

The management of your light source plays a big function, and it’s of import to learn to work with the management of the calorie-free to get the images y’all desire.

Front end Lighting

Front lighting can yield bold, colorful images of people with sparkling optics and glowing skin. They can also outcome in pained facial expressions, watery eyes, and an uncomfortable subject.

As wedding ceremony lensman, Kathryn Denelle Stevens advises, “Make sure if yous’re asking your subjects to plow into the dominicus and go along your optics open up that you keep it brusk and/or requite them breaks”. During breaks, ask your subjects to close their optics and relax. Utilise accessories to your advantage, like an umbrella, sunglasses, or a lid, to capture the summertime experience while saving their eyes.

When at all possible, avert shooting front-lit portraits in harsh sunlight, and instead, choose shots where the subject is engaged with an activity, rather than looking directly at the camera. Having your subject appoint in an activity or interact with someone else minimizes the affect of weird shadows and squinty eyes. Every bit Kristen Krehbiel recommends, “Capture more than aboveboard moments during these times and save the looking at the camera poses for later.”

Mastin Labs user, Ragi Boctor, advises photographers to compose very close up, or far away to accommodate harsh overhead lighting; He reasons, “wider mural shots are always a safety bet in the harsh lord’s day. You aren’t seeing the features of the subjects confront, so it’s easier to capture interesting composition without business organization for flattering their facial features. Extreme close-ups can too exist a safe bet. Using the body and the pilus of the subjects to block out the light and filling the frame with their features helps to avoid a lot of the overpowering light yous might exist struggling with”.

If you’re shooting with front lighting, try changing angles with your camera, and asking your subject to brand small adjustments. Small-scale angle changes and relocating tin can greatly affect how the light hits your subject.

Photo Credit: Sydney Morgan


Backlighting can yield dramatic images with dreamy backdrops; they can too very easily turn a beautiful backdrop into a white, blown out canvass.

“When I’m shooting in harsh daylight sun”, says Topher DeLancy, “I go on my subjects moving and document what matters most, the emotions. It’southward nice to keep the sun behind, when possible, or completely blasted evenly on their face.” Customs member, Timothy Neill, echoes DeLancy by also advising to backlight as much as possible.

When backlighting, especially, consider using reflectors or a flash for fill up lighting to help preserve the sharpness and details in an paradigm and even out the exposure throughout.

Photo Credit: Kirk Mastin | Preset: Portra 400

Creative Use of Shadows

Harsh overhead lighting in full sun can lend itself perfectly to dramatic, contrasted images with interesting shadows. Instead of shying away from the full sun, or getting frustrated over the paradigm you’re trying to go, but can’t, use the overhead light to your advantage to come upward with creative shots.

Kathryn Denelle Stevens suggests: “expect for interesting shadows or pockets of light and place your subjects in that calorie-free.” Use open shade an out-of-shot-umbrella, the sunbeam and shadows cast through a automobile window, or the shade from a building. Observe open up shade when you tin can. For all other times, think outside the box and lean into the possibilities. Mastin Labs founder, Kirk Mastin, recommends to “use the hard shadows intentionally”.

a forest filled with shade and harsh sunlight demonstrates some tips of taking photos in harsh sunlight

Photo Credit: Kirk Mastin | Preset: Portra 400

Use the Right Film Preset for Harsh Low-cal

When y’all transfer your images onto your computer, y’all may observe that the images are not how they appeared on your camera’s screen. Our community members offered up their favorite presets for minimizing imperfections when shooting in harsh, overhead sunlight. The overwhelming vote was for the Mastin Labs Pushed preset packs.

Mastin photographer, Katherine Denelle Stevens suggests using the Fuji or Portra Mastin Labs Pushed presets packs. She chooses to use these preset packs because, “they can handle the shadows in these situations without totally crushing them and without bravado out the highlights.”

Mastin Labs user, and desert lensman, Kristen Krehbiel, advocates for Portra Pushed, insisting, “it does super well in harsh light and accentuates the darks and lights in all the correct ways.” Topher DeLancy agrees, just prefers the Fuji Pushed presets for his ain work. “I utilize the Mastin Fuji 400h+2 preset. Information technology subdues and blends the highlights while too adding a pink tone to give the photo a unique look that helps it stand on its own.”

newlywed couple walks hand in hand on a beach in harsh sunlight

Photograph Credit: Kirk Mastin | Preset: Portra 400

Exist Prepared

Few photographers rejoice when faced with full-sun shoots, simply virtually anybody volition run into ane at some point and have to adjust; information technology’s just smart to be prepared and practice ahead of time.

Equally we mentioned in the introduction, shooting in harsh, overhead light is not a perfect science. What works for you lot, and what appeals to you, may not resonate with another photographer. In addition, sun is different all over the world; shooting in full-sun in Washington is different than shooting in full-sun in New Mexico. With that in mind, we volition go out you with this gilt nugget of communication from Mastin Labs community fellow member, Ragi Boctor.

“Don’t be afraid to go out in that location and effort new things and learn from doing.” – Ragi Boctor

Good luck and take fun shooting in the sun!

Do y’all have any tips for shooting in full sun? Please annotate beneath!