5 tips for shooting in full sun

Stephanie Bryan Photography - 5 tips for shooting in full sun

I'm not going to lie. Shooting in full sun still kind of scares me a bit. But our life doesn't just happen at golden hour and there are SO many important moments - both big and small- that happen when the sun is high in the sky. There really is no secret to shooting in full sun, but there are some things to keep in mind when shooting during the middle of the day. Here are my 5 tips for shooting in full sun! 


1. Pay attention to how the light falls.

When you're out shooting in full sun, it's super important to pay attention to how the light falls. Look at your scene and subject and see where the sun is the strongest or where there might be shadows. How you see the scene with your naked eye is how it will be captured, so if it's not looking too good, it might be best to move + find a new spot. The same thing goes for faces. Pay attention to how the light falls on your subject's face. Shooting portraits in the middle of the day is incredibly challenging because of the harsh light, shadows and hot spots the sun creates. Saving portraits for indoors or another location is probably ideal. 

2. Meter for your subject.

The key to metering in full sun is to make sure your subject is properly exposed (which means another part of your image might be blown out or either too dark ----thank goodness you shoot in RAW, right???). Spot metering for your subject will help to ensure your main subject is exposed correctly and the detail remains. You can always bring back your blown sky or lighten your shadows in post-processing as needed.

3. Use shadows to enhance your images.

You've got shadows, why not use them, right? Playing with shadows and getting creative with your composure can really make a full sun photo amazing. Pay attention to how those shadows fall and see if you can use them to enhance your subject. Again, be sure to spot meter for your subject to ensure they are properly exposed! 

4. Change your perspective.

When I'm shooting in full sun, I'm usually varying my perspective to try to manipulate my light and the present scene. Rarely am I going for a straight on "portrait" image, so I typically capture my subjects in the process of doing something. Shooting from above is an awesome way to focus on your subject without worrying about the harshness of that full sun. Just be mindful of shadows (especially yours!!) and move around as you need to make sure your subject is unobstructed! 

5. Look for shaded areas.

Use open shade like it's your best friend! Look for umbrellas, awnings, buildings or groups of trees where there's some shade and place your subject along those areas! Or create your own shade by having your subject wear a hat or sunglasses!

Shooting in backlight is by far my favorite, but WAY more of our day happens when the sun is high in the sky. Figuring out a way to still record our memories when the light may not be just right is key! Play around, practice and get creative! 


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