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5 Any Light Photo Techniques

October 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Any Light Photo is all about making photographs at anytime of the day in any light. This post is to share with you 5 techniques for taking great images between 10am and 4pm, the hours of midday and afternoon that many photographers try to avoid. This is not all of the techniques you can use for shooting midday but they are great way to get started. With these techniques you can now take images like this of a county road that seems to take you into the sky. Midday iight. Box Elder County, Utah.Midday iight. Box Elder County, Utah.

The 5 techniques I want to illustrate today are:

  • Shooting away from the sun
  • Looking for the clouds
  • Looking for the shadows 
  • Shooting on overcast days
  • Shooting in the shade

Using one or more of these techniques will help you get great photographs during the hours of supposed "bad" light.


Shooting Away From the Sun

When you aim your camera towards the sun you will wash out your photos with harsh white light because you have exceed the ability of your cameras sensor (dynamic range) to record color and detail. You may also cause lens flare from unwanted light bouncing around inside your lens and hitting the sensor creating unintended streaks on your images. By shooting away from the sun you can make photographs within the dynamic range of your sensor and capture color and details. However the blue sky you get from shooting away from the sun may seem to empty and even boring without clouds or other features. The best strategy then under these conditions is to reduce the amount of blue sky you capture in your photograph, and maybe even focus on subjects with bright colors for added contrast in your photo. Like this photograph of a flag planted midst a bed of flowers.

Midday light. Richmond, Utah.Midday light. Richmond, Utah.  

Looking for the Clouds

Shooting away from the sun and capturing clouds in your photographs is one of the best techniques for getting great pictures midday, especially when shooting landscapes. Look at this example of a barn on a hill with a grand backdrop of clouds and blue sky.


Looking for the Shadows

Even the soft shadows from a higher midday and afternoon sun can add depth and interest to any photograph taken during the middle of the day. Search for subjects where shadows have fallen upon them making them more interesting. In this photo see how the trees that block out some of the sunlight from reaching this farmhouse create soft shadows upon the home.


Shooting on overcast days

Overcast days make taking pictures during midday very easy. The sun is hidden when it is overcast and its light scattered and diffused across the sky making it very soft. On these days any subject can be photographed from any direction as in this winter image.

Midday light. Weber County, Utah.Midday light. Weber County, Utah.  

Shooting in the shade

The last technique I want share in this post is of shooting in the shade hidden from the light of the sun. The light you find in the shade is very much like shooting on an overcast day. The subject for this technique will usually be much smaller then a grand landscape image but none the less it can be beautiful. Take a look at this flower image taken in the shade on a sunny day.

Midday light. Cache Valley, Utah.Midday light. Cache Valley, Utah.

In conclusion, these techniques for shooting photographs between the hours of 10am and 4pm are not exhaustive, but they will take you a long way to developing the skills you need to make great photographs at anytime of the day in any light.



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