Tips to Enjoy Mid-Sun Photography

By Jessica Mikaela Mones, Fotograpiya |

Most photographers suggest avoiding the mid-day sun because of the camera’s dynamic range, the distance between the brightest and darkest points in the frame. Also, taking pictures when the sun is at its highest and harshest, your eyes do not see much.

However, it is not a rule that needs to be followed hard.

Rather than dreamy colors, mid-day gives golden hour. The best golden time is around one hour before the sun down and one hour after sunrise, where the light is at its softest, lacking hard shadows, rich in colors and it bounds the subject in even light which gives a precious focus.

Since taking photos in the middle of the day is inevitable, here are tips for you to still enjoy the mid-day sun:

  • Where to shoot? There are two choices: Open shade or indoors.
    • It is inevitable to take a picture under the sun especially when travelling. Open shade is an area found under or beside something. It can be under the tree, beneath a canopy or any other place that the light of the sun is blocked. Making your own shade like holding umbrellas or raising kayaks above your head can be too!
    • Window light is a great light source when shooting indoors. Having the correct amount of sunlight that comes and filters through a window gives an impactful photo. Remember to switch off all artificial lights to minimize color contrast and white balance problems.
  • The position of the sun is a big help in creating images due to its light that plays a lot of roles. During mid-day, it is best to put the sun behind your subject. Find an angle that keeps hot spots off your subjects and their eyes open.

  • Flash is not just for night shots or parties. When taking portraits, you can use fill flash to soften and eliminate harsh shadows. Thus, it adds catch light, the twinkle that prevails the eyes in an image under a bright sun.

  • Creating silhouettes work best in the middle of the day where the sun is at its peak. Work on it around the shadow, rather than the shadow itself because your camera will make that spot far too light. Dominating the background and making your subject in silhouette makes a wonderful photo.

  • Capturing the green and the blues; the nature and the skies is also a big bonus because it riches the colors during golden hour.

To set some camera techniques for mid-day sun:

  • Understand exposure. Keep your ISO with 100 or 200 maximum, and try 1/100 or 1/125 shutter speed. Fast shutter speed is not needed since the source of light is strong, bringing aperture.
  • Perform Sunny 16. Sunny 16 is a rule that sets your aperture to 16 in bright sun conditions. Work and start at f/16. If it is too dark, bump your aperture up.
  • Check White Balance. Have fun with your white balance options until you are happy with the hues.
  • Observe Color Casting. An image can be damaged if you are not careful. Manage and control this with some post-processing. Use a reflector to bounce back more light to the subject. More light leads to cutting down color casting.