LivingTravel5 tips for taking digital photos in bright sunlight

5 tips for taking digital photos in bright sunlight

With roughly 300 days of sunshine a year in the Phoenix area, you can almost be sure that when you make plans, it will have pretty nice weather. In the summer months, when you carry your digital camera, taking pictures in that bright, blazing summer sun can pose some challenges. If you decide to remove that little dial from the auto setting, these five tips for taking photos in the sun are worth experimenting with for better quality images.

5 tips for taking digital photos in bright sunlight

  1. In sunlight, set your ISO to 100, white balance to auto, and use a higher focal length from your lens. If your lens is 17mm-55mm, move closer to the 55mm end.
  2. If you choose to shoot manually, you have more control over the image and its quality. Set the aperture to f8 and the speed to 1 / 250th in sunlight (f8 and f11 are usually optimal lens apertures and offer the best sharpness with the fewest aberrations). If you have enough knowledge and have a particular artistic intention, use other combinations of settings.
  1. Try to take the photo in the morning or late afternoon instead of noon, and if you can, circle the subject to decide the most attractive angle. In general, avoid casting your own shadow on the subject. It is often useful to show some of the shaded parts of the subject because that shows details better than the brighter parts.
  2. To make the image less contrasting, the convenient solution is to fill it with a little flash. This will likely cause some unwanted shadows. Sometimes you can avoid those shadows by flipping the camera and shooting that way. The most attractive solution is to buy a small folding reflector (much less expensive than a flash unit). Try holding the reflector lower, bouncing sunlight up or horizontally on the subject. This offers endless variations in lighting and the result will often be more attractive.
  1. These camera settings are really a starting point. A digital image will show much more detail in a print if it is slightly underexposed. Keep the f-stop constant and try different exposures by adjusting the speed a little slower or a little faster.

If you are using your phone’s camera in the bright sun, you may want to embrace the bright sun to keep your photos fresh and creative.

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