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Situations Where Shooting In Midday Sun Works

We're often told that we should avoid photographing in bright, midday sunlight. But sometimes it can be beneficial.

| Creative

Situations Where Shooting In Midday Sun Works: Stairs

As photographers, we know that the best times of day for lighting in images is sunrise and sunset for flattering shadows and beautiful tones. 

But sometimes when you're out and about, sticking to just these times for your images isn't feasible. Although we generally frown upon shooting in the bright, harsh midday sun, there are situations where this will work well in images. Here, we take a look at when shooting in bright sunlight will work. 


Create texture

The midday sun is often criticised for creating harsh, unflattering shadows on your subjects, especially portraits. But sometimes, these harsh shadows directly from above are exactly what is needed to create texture in the image. The main candidates for this are tiled rooves and trees. The small shadows that form under each tile will create a defined and fuller image that doesn't look flat. This can work especially well in Mediterranean towns where the white walls of the buildings contrast nicely with the blacks and oranges of the rooves. 

With trees, the direct sunlight falls on the tops of the leaves, leaving the underneath darker and again giving more of a sense of depth to the subject. 


Avoid long shadows

One of the major positives of shooting in direct, midday sun is that it minimises the amount of shadow on the ground. if long shadows stretching to the edges of the image will ruin the shot then try the same place again at noon. For subjects such as tall buildings and buildings with lots of architecture on the front and sides, midday sun will most likely flatter them better than early or late sun. 


Powerful reflections

The sun is at its brightest and also its most intense around midday, so make sure you look after yourself and slap on the suncream. This intensity means that midday is a good time for reflecting light onto your image. This works particularly well with macros and portraits. Using a simple home made reflector such as a piece of tin foil wrapped around some card or a new and shiny baking sheet will create ample reflection. 

Subjects like flowers and portraits can often benefit from some reflection, and using them will allow you to  shoot in harsh, midday sun and combat the shadows this can create. 


Clear skies, minimal landscapes

Shooting at midday often works well when there's not much in the scene that can create shadows. As such, it's a great time to shoot wide open vistas such as crop fields, flat landscapes without any trees and seascapes. A clear sky is even better to add to the minimalist effect


Under the canopy

When the sun's at its fullest, head under the canopy to your local woods to see what effects it has in there. Light beams streaming through the treetops and pools of light can be captured, adding a magical feel to the place. 

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