Shooting bright midday is not a good setup for photographers. Strong brightness of the sun is usually a basic problem when shooting outdoor. The light is too harsh you might get over exposed images. You might want to have a photoshoot early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid this. Here are some tips to consider whenever you can’t avoid shooting bright midday.
- Look for Shades. It is hard to shoot portraits under the bright midday. You could look for some shade and do the photoshoot there. This could avoid unnecessary harsh light. It can also make your models or clients comfortable. You could look for big canopy of trees or huge structures.
I would like to suggest you bring some drinking water with you too to avoid dehydration. A sunblock is a good buddy too.
- Use ND Filter. Filters can help you protect your lens against scratches. They can also help you protect your exposure in becoming too bright, as with a Neutral Density or ND filter. A ND filter is a filter placed in front of the camera lens and has a different degree of darkness or dimness. In principle, ND filter blocks too much light from entering the lens to the camera sensor thus, controlling the exposure from outside the camera. There is different degrees/level of how dark ND filter is depending on the need.
When shooting landscapes, you can get a bright sky against a dark landscape. When you use a normal ND filter, you can get a nice blue sky but a dark mountain or subject. Here is where a graduated ND filter comes handy. Graduated ND filter is divided into two, one part is dark and one part is clear. You can also use ND filters in slow shutter to control too much light.
- External Flash. Yes, a flash. You might wonder why you will use a flash when there is too much light from the sun in shooting bright midday. This is to avoid unwanted shadows in the subject especially in portraits. The light from the flash will neutralize the hard shadows caused by the harsh sunlight. You might want to use flash diffuser to have a better chance of having a nice and well (enough) lit image.
- Reflect. You make the situation to your advantage. Light is available in shooting in the bright midday unlike in the photo studio wherein artificial lights are needed. So make use of the light even if it is too much. You can use a reflector like a white cloth, or a silver/gold reflector to diffuse or reflect the sun’s light. Just experiment with it to have a composition you want to have.
- Hood your lens. In shooting bright midday, another thing to look for and avoid with is a lens flare. You can use a lens hood to avoid lens flare. The lens hood will block the sun’s ray directly towards the lens.
These tips were just guide to have a better image when shooting bright midday. You could make use of them all or just a few that best suits the situation and your style. Although I advised you to use lens hood, you might want to make use of the lens flare to add style or drama in the images. When you are shooting to show a mood of summer, you might want all that harsh sunlight or hard shadows. So, it really is up to you or the situation.