When it comes to photography, light is the photographer's friend but during the summer the light can be a little harsh and colours in images can end up looking blown out but there are a few ways you can prevent this from happening.
Photo by David Clapp.
1. Try A Different Metering Mode
Cameras have various metering modes (Spot etc.) so you can pick the one that produces the best result when shooting in situations where there's bright sunlight and shadows to deal with. When working against a strong backlight (such as a bright sky and sand at the beach) use spot metering to ensure your portraits are correctly exposed.
2. Add A Little Flash
It doesn't matter if you're a compact user with a camera that has a built-in flash or are a DSLR owner who fits a flash gun to your camera's hotshoe, both light sources can come in useful when shooting portraits in summer sunlight. Why? Well faces can end up with deep shadows on them, particularly under the nose and chin, so by setting your flash to fire, a splash of light will illuminate your subject's face and remove unattractive shadows.
Photo by Joshua Waller
3. Use Exposure Compensation
In bright situations, cameras can be fooled and shots can end up looking underexposed as the camera’s exposure system attempts to create a mid-tone exposure. To stop this, have a look through your camera's menu for the exposure compensation feature. By using this mode you'll be able to set a + or - exposure, depending on the camera's results, and produce an image that's correctly exposed. For example, if the sand in a seaside landscape looks darker then it is,set a + exposure compensation. Various stops are available so it's worth shooting a few images to ensure you get the results you require.
4. Make The Most Of Scene Modes
Try using your compact's (Beach & Snow) Scene Mode to capture correctly exposed images when on the beach. With this mode, the exposure is automatically compensated so sand doesn't appear underexposed.
5. Use A Reflector
If you think flash is a little harsh for your summer portraits you can use a reflector to bounce extra light into your images. You can purchase purpose built models, but home-made reflectors can work just as well. A bit of white card and foil will help you add light to shadows, resulting in a more pleasing portrait.
Photo by Joshua Waller
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