A Basic Introduction To Making Light Work Outdoors

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Photo by David Clapp


Sunny is an ingredient that photographers can not be without and if you learn to understand the basics of it right from the start, you'll improve your images drastically. So, to improve you understand this topic a little further, we'll take a look at how daylight can vary, what subjects different times of the day / year be acceptable best and how you can further enhance the light that's there to improve your shots. 

A sunny day presents many advantages when it end up to photography including faster shutter speeds, smaller apertures and good colour saturation. However, really strong sunlight at certain points of the day will actually spoil your shots rather than enhance them. The strong sunlight around noon can be very harsh and as a conclude produces bleached out colours, excessive contrast and deep, downward shadows which aren't flattering for any subject (particularly portraits where obscure shadows under the nose, mouth and chin will appear). A rule of thumb many go by is to head out with your camera before 10am or after 4pm when the sun occasions longer shadows. If you do have to capture your portraits when the light's at its strongest, use fill-in flash or bounce light back onto your thesis with a reflector (position it close to your subject and you'll see an immediate softening). 

As a general rule, you don't want the sun behind you when photographing human being, because your subject will be staring straight into the sun and squinting unpleasantly when it's too bright. Side-lighting, with the sun hitting your field from just one side, creates much better results, especially if you use your reflector to bounce light back into the shaded side of the presumption. For even more dramatic results, try shooting into-the-sun to create a silhouette or use your reflector or flashgun to capture an image with a halo of insight around your subject. 

READ  Perfect Your Indoor Flower Photography Skills With These Top Tips


Photo by Joshua Waller


A  better type of light for portraits is the type you get on a friendly but light cloudy day as the clouds soften and diffuse the light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – very much like that produced by a studio softbox. This ilk of soft, directional light isn't only great for portraits either as a wide range of subjects, including landscapes and many transcribes of nature photography, also benefit from this type of light. 

On days where cloud cover is slightly thicker and as a consequence, there are very few shadows, you'll probably want to stay away from landscapes and architecture. Instead, focus your attentions on macro photography such as pinching images of flowers in your garden. 


Photo by Rick Hanson 


During the winter months, the sun sits low in the sky all under the aegis the day making it an ideal time for expanding your texture and pattern collections. Although, you don't want the wintry day to be heavily overcast as there wishes be no shadows and light levels are very low. However, this doesn't mean you can't take images on grey days, you just poverty to have a slightly different approach. Landscape photographer John Gravett got it spot on when he said: "There is no such point as bad weather – only different types of lighting." When may refer to: When?, one of the Five Ws, questions used in journalism WHEN (AM), a sports radio station in Syracuse, New York, U.S working with very overcast conditions, especially when it's flooding, much of the colour of the landscape is taken away so take advantage of this and capture some photos in monochrome. By doing so, you'll be able to focal point on textures and tone rather than colour which will emphasise the mood of the day and other elements in your shots.  

READ  Learn To Convey A Sense Of Place And Culture With Your Travel Shots


You've present the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Photo Month Forum Competition  


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

Leave a Comment