Taking pictures in mid-day sun is not on the top of my list. The lighting is not ideal and can be a little complicated. I much prefer shooting the few hours after sunrise or the few hours before sunset. Talk about ideal lighting! But situations arise where you can’t have your perfect lighting. Like on vacations or fun day trips.

This week, my family and I are heading to the beach and I will be forced to do some shooting in strong mid-day sun. I thought this was the perfect time to share some tips for taking pictures in the mid-day sun.

tips for taking pictures in mid day sun

1. Always put the sun behind your subject. If you are photographing people, this will help them not squint {or complain that the sun is in their eyes!}. You want the sun to be in your eyes! This will create a nice backlit photograph.

2. Look for shade. I know this isn’t always possible but you would be amazed at the creative ways you can find some shade. If you are on the beach, take a walk to the boardwalk and get some shade there. If there are dunes, go behind them. Sometimes, if there’s absolutely no shade, I’ll have mom or dad stand over the child to create some shade or to block the sun.

how to take pictures in mid day sun

3. Remember the Exposure Triangle. Understanding exposure is key when shooting in full mid-day sun. Make sure to keep your ISO low {100 or 200 – maximum}. Try a shutter speed of 1/100 or 1/125. You don’t need a fast shutter speed since you have a strong light source. That brings us to aperture.

4. Practice the Sunny 16 Rule. “Sunny 16? is a rule that says to set your aperture to 16 when in bright sun-lit situations. Start at f /16 and work from there. Too dark, bump your aperture up. This is not a time to be shooting wide open at f /1.8 or f/ 2. You will have a completely blown out picture if you do.

5. Check your White Balance. Here is where understanding white balance really comes into play. This is when I like to set a custom white balance so that my colors are correct. If I don’t set a custom white balance, I keep it on cloudy {personal preference}. Play around with your white balance options until you are happy with your colors.

5. Watch For Color Casting. Color casting can ruin your image if you aren’t careful. In the picture below, the child is wearing a hot pink beach hat. The pink is reflecting on her face. I did manage to fix this with some post-processing but there are ways to avoid this. Try using a reflector {or something as simple as a beach of paper} to reflect more light onto their face. By bringing more light into the face, you cut down on the color casting.

tips for taking pictures in full sun

6. Use Lens hood. I keep my lens hood on my lens 100% of the time. 98% of the time I am using it as extra protection for the lens in case I bump into something. The other 2% it is helping to filter out sun flares or glares on my pictures. If I want to catch some sun flares, I just take it off!

Your challenge this week is to get out in the sun! Use the tips above to capture some beautiful mid-day sun photographs. Make sure you share your pictures on the Facebook page!

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