Wednesday, May 1, 2013

shooting INTO the sun

For the longest time, I avoided shooting into the sun. I was terrified of sun flares, over exposed skin, blurs, and blown-out colors. I preferred open shade and cloudy days or waited until the sun went down. It took me YEARS to embrace shooting INTO the sun. It took a lot of practice, patience, and trial-and-error, but now I LOVE the outcome. I think these images convey emotion, and I love how warm they look.

So, how do you shoot these?

First, you need to position your subject so that the sun is BEHIND them. The key is that sun must be low enough so that it is behind the subject – not above. If you have a lens hood, definitely use it. If not, you can use your hand to shade the lens.

If possible, the photographer should be in a shade. If there is a tree or a building that casts shade, get in there. You can also try to be in the shade created by your subject. 

Below are 2 photos. The photo on the left was taken while I was in the shade. The image is nice and crisp, and the sun is behind Blee, creating a beautiful rim light. The photo on the right was taken after I backed up a bit and is a little hazy because the camera was in the sun.

Focusing on the subject is probably the hardest thing to do. Because of the sun’s glare, auto focus will be difficult. If your camera allows manual focus, switch it to that setting. Depending on your focus setting, your images may come out extremely over exposed, or extremely under exposed. Make sure it’s set on “spot focus” and try to put the focus dot on the subject’s eyes.

When all else fails (or after a long day and you just want a decent photo of your kid), position your subject in the shade, get yourself in the shade, and then snap the shutter.

Good luck!

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