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Photography & Sunlight

Posted by [email protected] on November 6, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (1)

I'm often asked about sunlight and the best time of day it is to take photos. For me, anytime is a great time to take photos. We're always experiencing different things in our lives, to capture any of these moments at the click of shutter button is a great time. However, there are certain times of the day that can give you great photography lighting, or as us photographers like to refer to, 'the golden hour."

There's always talk about whether the sun should be in front of your subject, behind your subject, to the side of your subject - sunlight, sunlight, sunlight - where should it be? Is there an 'ideal' place where the sunlight should be?  Hopefully, the following tips can help shed some light - pardon the pun on photography and sunlight.


1. Try not to have direct sunlight coming from the side.

You can be creative with how you take your photos with sunlight, however, be careful when you have sunlight that is coming to the side of your subject. This creates quite harsh shadows and isn't very flattering on subjects. Or if you have more than one subject, you'll soon see that one subject will be very brightly lit up with sunlight while the other subject will have very harsh shadows from the reflection of the sunlight on the side.  There are times where 'shadowing' can be very nicely and creatively done to give soft lines but as a general rule of thumb, this doesn't happen in harsh sunlight coming to the side of your subject/s.


2. As the photographer, try and keep the sun behind you.

Enjoy the sunlight and don't be afraid to experiment with it. By keeping the sun behind you, you will be able to make the most of that gorgeous blue sky that usually accompanies a beautiful sunny day. Make the most of that blue as it can be quite effective in natural sunlight photos, especially when used as a background to compliment whites and certain other colours. However, do be careful to try and 'hide' the sun from your subject or you will find you will be taking photos of closed eyes and/or squints from either people or pets.


3. Try and have the sun in front of you but behind the subject.

This is a beautiful way to enjoy the natural sunlight. Often called 'back-lighting,' when done the right way, it creates a beautiful hue and/or rim of light around the back of your subject and is quite asthetically pleasing to the eye in a photograph.  Here's an example of back-lighting taken in a photo I took of Maya. You can see the rim of natural sunlight on the back of her black fur that shows her hairline.




I hope this blog of information helps 'shed some light,' pardon the pun, on photography and sunlight. When next you get your camera out on a sunny day, even if it is your iPhone/Android camera, have a play around and see the kinds of effects you can create.

If you have any questions or have taken photos with natural sunlight, feel free to post them and ask away. The only 'silly' question is an unasked question.

In the meantime, enjoy your camera, enjoy your photography. Stay tuned for next weeks blog.


Pitter Patter Photography