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Tips For When You're Not Shooting In The 'Golden Hours'

Tips For When You're Not Shooting In The 'Golden Hours' - Discover how to take images that are great even if the conditions you shoot in aren't!

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General Photography

Words by Emma Kay

Although it is said that the best time to photograph landscapes is either in the morning or evening as the sun goes down, there are times when you find yourself in a location that's crying out to be photographed and it's the middle of the day. So, here are a few tips to help you capture a shot that's still great, even though the sun's high in the sky and everyone's out eating their lunch!

  • Tripod, for straight horizons and stability
  • Lens hood, to protect from flare
  • Any digital compact or DSLR camera
  • Umbrella to create shade (optional)

Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Shoot lower

To hide long shadows, try lowering your shooting angle so you're shooting up slightly instead of straight on. Better still, find something that will give you interesting foreground detail that you can 'hide' behind. As a result, the object in the foreground will fill the frame enough to disguise the shadows behind it.

Have the sun to your back

This is an obvious one but it's important! Shooting with the sun to the back of you will stop unnecessary bleaching and flare spoiling your shot. Although, it's not always possible to do this when you're shooting static objects so you may have to wait for the sun to move positions before attempting certain shots.

Get a lens hood

The sun can be pretty bright at midday and as a result, you'll find a lens hood handy. In the summer the sun's rays are stronger, but in the winter equally a low lying sun can completely ruin a photo if a ray gets directly up the lens. A hood will prevent the sun getting at your lens directly from the side or above, minimizing your chances of the photo being spoiled.

Use a lower ISO

Lowering your ISO is key for getting good shots in the sun. ISO 100 will be fine, though some cameras do go lower, which could give you wider scope for bright days. Where possible, use a smaller aperture too to minimise the amount of light hitting your lens.

Pack a filter

A polarising filter will reduce reflections and let the surface you're trying to photograph show through. It will also reduce glare, something you can get quite a bit of during the day.

Find shade

If shade is necessary, for example, when your shooting portraits or close-up work, look for a place that doesn't have speckles of light shining through it. If necessary, why not try using an umbrella or parasol to create your own shady spot where you want to take your photos. When you're working with something slightly bigger, such as a building, you can't put a giant brolly over the top of it so just go and shoot something else or grab a bite to eat until the sun's moved enough for shade to fall on your chosen subject.

Shoot Textures

If the light is at the right angle, you'll be able to see strong shadows which give texture shots more depth. If you're working on a new building watch out for glare and reflections which can easily be removed by simply moving your feet a little. Don't zoom in too much as often a shot that's taken with a little more distance between you and the subject will look better and that way there's always the option to crop the photo when you're in front of your computer back home. Shot straight on and look for repeating patterns as these always turn out to be more useful texture shots.

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AshTree 8 1.7k 6 England
27 Sep 2011 2:21PM
Surely 'at and around midday', the sun is at its highest and creates the shortest shadows, not 'long, deep' ones?
Heretic 12 11 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2011 3:42PM
Similarly with the sun at your back there is the strong probability that there will be little texture showing in anything in front of the lens. It's when you move away from this that the lens hood then becomes important.

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