Summer is officially here and for now, here at least, the rain has stopped, the kids are out of school, and families are getting ready to go on holiday. Whether you want to get some summer fun photos of your kids, capture memories of your romantic holiday in Rome, or just get out and photography the landscape lighting is one of the most important things to get right and can be particularly tricky in summer. Bright light can cause all sorts of problems from glare to underexposure to squinting subjects in your portrait photos. Here are some tips to help you avoid those problems:
Use a polarizing filter: if you’re using a D-SLR or SLR camera this is a simple solution to bright summer light, like Ray Bans for your lens a polarizer will filter out polarizing light which will provide richer saturation and reduce reflections on non-metallic surfaces.
Use your automatic settings: Your camera may have a setting for shooting in bright light (usually marked with a symbol of the sun) which can help you quickly and simply get better summer photos.
Avoid the brightest light: Another simple, easy tip. Photograph early in the morning or late in the afternoon and you’ll avoid the bright light problem altogether.
Position the sun: If you are photographing in the middle of the day position yourself with the sun behind you but if it’s people you’re taking photos of get them to close their eyes and instruct them to open them on the count of 2, then take the photo on 3. That way they’re less likely to be squinting when you press the shutter. Alternatively place the subjects facing away from the sun and use a fill flash to avoid harsh shadows.
Use a lens hood: Check out our basic guide to accessories for more info on lens hoods and then use one to prevent glare and sun spots.
Try a GND filter: If you’re shooting landscape shots in bright light a GND filter might be exactly what you need to get the perfect photo.
Use a low ISO: Go for one of the lowest your camera has, 50-100 is the best range for bright light.
Get out, enjoy the sun, take lots of photos and if you’ve got some tips for getting well lit summer photos let us know in the comments.
If you’re using a polarizing filter or a GND while out-and-about, don’t forget you’ll have to clean them *at least* as often as you clean your lens (and probably more often, since filters, by their nature, get handled a lot). I came back from vacation with a whole afternoon’s worth of photos that had visible dirt/lint on my CPL.