Midday Sun Photography

Midday Sun Photography

I know the title sounds like a bad idea… yet there is a very big time gap between the golden hours.

When I first learned about the golden hour, I learned only shoot in the golden hour.

I know that many beginners also think like that.

And there is some truth to the fact that shooting at the right time can improve your picture but, It doesn’t mean you can’t shoot at midday sun.

I mean if you think about it street photography or documentary photography almost always takes place during the day.

So to open up the world to midday sun photography, I thought I create this little post and show you some useful technics and ways to shoot decent pictures during the midday sun.

So let’s get started.

Use your Exposure Bracketing and Watch your Metering 

Always have a second look at the picture you just shot because in the harsh midday sun the camera metering is often off by quite a bit. Use your exposure bracketing to compensate it.


Watch your ISO

What I mean by that is make sure that you are shooting always in the lowest Iso setting that is possible on your camera. I only say that because some people seem to forget about their ISO settings


Use an Umbrella

 

If you don’t have any shadows make your own. Professional photographers usually have huge defusers and 10 assistants to hold them, but if you happen to not have 10 assistants and a huge budget for huge high-end defusers, get a white umbrella and you will be fine. Plus now it will protect you from sun and rain.  It won’t work for a landscape picture obviously 🙂 but, it will for portraits, macro shots and anything else with a small framing.

 

midday sun photography
Maybe not an umbrella this size but… you get the point right? It blocks out the sun. 🙂

Reflector/Defuser

This is also a very cheap and easy way to modify the light available which is a lot. I like to use reflectors because they have many sides plus a defuser and are very portable. All that is great I know but, the question is how to use them in the midday sun? Use it to fill in the shadows that are caused by the harsh midday sun by bouncing light right back at your subject. Plus it’s you can now also shoot into the sun by using it like a fill-in flash.

 


Get Close 

Since there is a really rare chance to capture the landscape picture of your life in the midday sun, get close. Look for the details of your surroundings. Go even macro if you have the lens for it.


Angles

Most people say angles don’t matter in midday sun because the sun is coming from 90° straight above. That is absolutely true… for about 15 minutes. Before and after that angles do matter. If you don’t believe it, try it 🙂


Bad Weather is Awesome

Because there are clouds in front of the sun. Isn’t that amazing? 🙂 No seriously it has a positive side and that is that clouds in front of the sun work like a giant softbox. Which is awesome because now you have soft light everywhere. A good tip for days like that is to shoot in black and white since the colors wound pop anyway. 🙂

This was shoot on a grey day and the light is super soft. 🙂

Look for Shady Places

And I don’t mean to go to a strip club, I mean places that provide shadows. Shades have the great feature of soft light since there is no direct sunlight.

midday sun photography
Shades underneath a tree.

Filters

Always have an ND filter and polarize filter in your bag. The pol filter will help you get rid of strong reflections and the ND filter will block some light. That comes in very handy when you need a slower shutter speed or if you want to open up the aperture to create some nice bokeh.


Fill-in Flash

Using a flash to fill in sounds super easy but it actually is not. 🙂 if you happen to have one try your luck otherways I have a post on that coming up. 🙂


A Good Idea is Finally Using Your Lens Hood

It really is a good idea in the midday sun. Because with the direct sun you will run into problems like lens flare. When your lens came with a lens hood use it. If it didn’t you are doomed!!! No actually not. Just use your hand to shield of the sun. 🙂 There are also hundreds of DIY ways to build one.

midday sun photography


Ok, that’s already it with my post about midday sun photography. I hope you found some new tips for your next shoot and if you have any questions or opinions please let me know in the comments and I will get to you as quick as possible.

Cheers Aaron.

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8 thoughts on “Midday Sun Photography

  1. Netta

    Hey Aaron:

    You’re right about the “golden hour,” of course. That syrupy golden light is my absolute favorite. Second-best is the light on overcast days when everything’s soft and glowy.

    Oblique light makes great dramatic shadows and thrilling shots can result.

    However, it’s very true that there’s a lot of time between the golden hours. My midday pictures are not my favorites.

    They always seem so washed-out and one-dimensional or just overwhelmed by too much light. Looks like filters are probably what I’ve been missing.

    I am taken also by your suggestion to go macro.

    More to explore. Thank you!

    — Netta

    1. Aaron

      Hey Netta, of course I agree with you that it is way easier to shoot a good picture at golden hour, but it’s not impossible to take a great picture between them. Going with macro is a great idea since it really is a parallel world. 🙂 

  2. Jack Taylor

    I just recently got into digital photography and could use all the help I can get. I just finished reading your article on Midday Sun Photography and learned a lot of great tips. I saved your website to my favorites for future reference. As soon as the sun comes out, I’m going tp try out some of your tips.

    Jack

    1. Aaron

      Hey Jack, great to hear that you like my site and even greater that you going to put these tips to work asap. Keep it up and stay motivated 🙂 

  3. jeffrey16201

    Being a photographer in the past I can relate very well to the thing you share when shooting during mid-day on sunny days. I have experienced in the past you can take awesome photographs during mid-day in the brightest sunny days by paying closer attention to the sun and shadows. Just as you have shared in your post when you consider the sunlight and the shadows you can take beautiful photographs, what do you recommend when it comes to shutter speed and aperture settings as well as the best filter for this type of photography?

    1. Aaron

      Hey Jeffrey, I absolutely agree with you. It is harder to take good pictures but it’s certainly not impossible, if you know what you have to look for. shutter speed and aperture really depends on what kind of pictures you want to take (if you want a shallow or wide depth of field, motion blur or objects frozen). When it comes to filters I would take a cpl filter for harsh reflections that might occur and a variable ND filter that stops down to ND400. You can find a good one right here: https://whatcameraguide.com/ne

      Cheers  Aaron

  4. deecrai

    I love how informative your article is. I could see how it would be easy to grow from to beginning to learn to shoot photography with your site. It is very detailed and specific. It puts a different point of view out there. I find it is a very entertaining read.

    1. Aaron

      Hey Deecrai, glad to hear that you like my site I put in a looooot of work 🙂 

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