Whether you're shooting landscapes, outdoor portraits, or even architecture, natural lighting conditions can make or break your shoot. But what do you do when the sunlight doesn't cooperate?
A recent vlog from B&H tackles the issues of harsh sunlight during a photo shoot. In this vlog, host David Flores shares several valuable tips for difficult lighting conditions.
Studio photographers excluded, high-noon shooting is not 100% avoidable. Sometimes, scheduling difficulties force us to shoot outside in the middle of a sunny day. Other, we happen to have our cameras on hand and see a great shot that, despite challenging lighting, we simply can’t pass up.
Flores urges shooters to get creative with the shadows available on site. I'd add that in addition to pattern-forming elements, available shadows as key compositional elements, not just pattern-forming elements, of your outdoor images.
The problem with midday shooting under clear conditions is the dynamic range between harsh shadows and sunlight. It can be tricky to properly expose in these conditions, and unwanted shadows can ruin an unstaged photo.
One tool (not mentioned in Flores’ video) can help us deal with stubborn Mother Nature: filters. Although they function differently, circular polarizing and neutral density filters both allow us to bring in the dynamic range of our daytime images, making vivid exposures possible in tricky outdoor lighting. Neutral density filters can also allow for the use of longer shutter speeds during the daytime.
Even with a full frame sensor and plenty of exposure knowledge, midday shooting still presents us with challenges. What other shooting tips do you have on this subject? Please share them in the comments section below.