3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You - Enlight Leak
Menu & Search

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

June 22, 2017
3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

There’s a rule of thumb which says never to take photos in direct sunlight. That’s just a rule of thumb, though. It’s not a commandment! It’s perfectly possible to shoot in direct sunlight once you understand what’s tricky about it and how to get around it.

Direct sunlight is discouraged because it can overshadow the rest of your photo in an instant. The positioning of the sun, its brightness, and possible lens flare may get in the way of an otherwise great image. However, there’s a few ways to make shooting in direct sunlight work for you.

Try all three, and let us know how it works for you in the comments below!

Place the Sun Somewhere Off to the Side

When including the sun in a photograph, you may tend to place the sun in the middle of the frame. However, it’s possible that you’ll end up with a blob of light at the heart of your image, with the beauty of the scene covered by blinding light.

When shooting, think about composition. Use the grid that divides your photo into even squares or rectangles, depending on the aspect ratio. Pay attention to the four squares or rectangles in each of the four corners of the frame. Then, place the sun in one of these squares or rectangles to balance the image so that the sun won’t take over your entire photo. Additionally, try moving around, crouching down to one side, or even climbing up high and shooting down. Often, one angle will ruin the scene, while another angle will totally work for you!

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

Don’t Underestimate Saturation and Brightness Edits

What direct sunlight often does is dramatically increase contrast. There’s little reason to continue adding contrast, and you may actually need to reduce it a little. On the other hand, depending on your angle, direct sunlight introduces too much or too little brightness to the photograph. Search for the right amount of brightness in your edits to not have a photograph that’s overly bright or dark.

Furthermore, increasing saturation is helpful to bring life to the objects in your photograph. More saturation adds color intensity which gives the objects prominence in the image. As the other components gain center stage, it’ll decrease chances that the sun is taking over. In Enlight, you can go to Image > Adjust > Tools tab and experiment with Basic and Color tools.

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

Don’t Always Steer Clear From Lens Flare

Lens flare is when sunlight is scattered across a photograph. This is regularly avoided by those who don’t want their original image impacted in any way. Although lens flare brings with it additional lighting, streaks, or spots, it doesn’t necessarily change the image for the worse. In fact, flare can add artistic “flair”, and add a magical, ethereal or romantic effect over a scene. It may help to convey the time of day and what the photographer was feeling when shooting, like in this image below.

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

So while photographing in direct sunlight, it’s worth playing with angles to have just the right type of lens flare for an extra hint of magic. When you do discover lens flare in hindsight, don’t delete it too quickly. A bit of creative post-processing can do wonders.

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

Growing out of your comfort zone as a mobile photographer is a good thing. Next time you’re out capturing a sunset or catching the sun in between mountain tops, consider shooting off the beaten track! You’ll experience how direct sunlight can present an opportunity, rather than an obstacle, for stunning images.

3 Ways to Make Direct Sunlight Work for You

Comments

comments

Karin Flieswasser
Karin Flieswasser

Karin studied photography in high school and philosophy at university. She's currently a business developer for computer software and also likes to tinker with technology.

Related article
A Mobiographer’s Journey From Analog to iPhone

A Mobiographer’s Journey From Analog to iPhone

A couple of years ago, mobiographer Erica “Spin” Simas moved…

6 iPhoneography Tricks Every Beginner Should Know

6 iPhoneography Tricks Every Beginner Should Know

It’s easy to find in-depth mobile photography advice if you…

How to Print Smartphone Photos From Home

How to Print Smartphone Photos From Home

Smartphone cameras are perfect for carrying your favorite photos wherever…

Type your search keyword, and press enter to search