Shady business

Shooting from shade towards light

It’s August bank holiday. Which means you may be spending more time out in the sunshine. If (the weather holds and) you’re out with the family, you might want to take some photographs. And the sun - especially during the middle of the day (and any time between 11 and 4, and maybe longer) is probably ruining your pictures.

Harsh sunlight does few people favours: squinting; panda eyes, bright spots on skin - it’s not usually very flattering. But there is a simple way to get lovely shots. Take cover!

Step under the shade of a tree, or of an overhanging roof, or a doorway. Anything that shades the face.

Then use your feet to move yourself around your subject. If you shoot from the sun into the shade, your subject will stand out beautifully against a nice dark background; if you move into the shade and shoot out towards the light, your subject will have a beautiful light background! Two amazing shots for the price of one…

Shooting into shade

Technical note!


Bear in mind that your camera might be fooled by the background and expose for that instead of your subject. So you might need some form of manual control over your camera.

  • If you are shooting against a dark background, your camera might try to brighten the picture. To darken the resulting image, you might need to lower your exposure (do one of the following: increase shutter speed, higher f-stop or lower ISO)
  • If you are shooting against a light background, your camera might try to darken the picture. To lighten the image, you’ll need to increase your exposure (lower shutter speed, lower f-stop or raise ISO)

This little piggy went to mum2mum market...

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