If you’re new to photography, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the technical aspects of capturing a great shot. But when it comes down to it, one of the most important factors is often how you use natural light. Sun photography is an excellent way to learn how to use the sun as a tool for creating stunning photographs! Don’t forget: there’s no better time than now!
Find the best time of day for sun photography.
The best time to shoot the sun is during the “golden hour.” The golden hour is considered to be the time of day when the sun is at its highest in the sky, and it lasts for roughly one to two hours after sunrise or before sunset. This hour offers photographers some amazing opportunities for beautiful shots, since morning light illuminates landscapes in a warm glow and evening light carries with it an ethereal quality that can be captivating.
If you’re lucky enough to have an area where you can watch this phenomenon outside your window every day, then congratulations! You’re all set! But if not, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate this concept into your photography without having access to nature’s own magic hour.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
The sun can not only make a big difference to the lighting in your photos, but also provide you with some amazing opportunities for photo compositions. Here are just a few ideas:
- Use the sun as backlighting. This will create drama and depth in your images and emphasize any subject matter that is placed behind it.
- The sun can be used to create silhouettes, which can be very dramatic – especially if there are other elements present in the scene that help reinforce them (for example an animal).
- You can also use the sunlight to add a sense of perspective or depth to a landscape by panning across it while keeping everything else stationary or moving very slowly (or trying not too move anything at all)
Use the golden hour to your advantage.
The golden hour is an important time of day for photographers to be aware of. It’s the period just after sunrise and just before sunset, when the light is soft and warm, the sky is clear, and the sun is low enough in the sky that it’s easy to capture a silhouette. During this time, you have to make sure your camera settings are right so you can take advantage of these wonderful qualities!
During these times of day when there is lots of natural light coming through but not too much direct sunlight (which would lead to overexposure), I recommend using spot metering or center-weighted average metering modes on your camera. These modes will help you get correct exposure settings without having to worry about adjusting shutter speed or aperture settings manually based on what looks best visually or what may work best for another photo later in another location at some other time.
Be aware of the changes in weather and how it can affect your lighting.
The weather can have a big impact on the quality of light. If the sun is covered by clouds, the light will be more diffused and soft, whereas if it’s directly overhead, it will cast harsh shadows across your subject. Additionally, if you’re shooting in front of a window or door that has glass on both sides (like me), then there could be another source of bright light entering from behind you—which makes for an even more complicated situation!
Use filters on your camera to get the perfect shot.
There are many camera filters that can help you get the perfect shot. For example, you can use a polarizing filter to reduce the amount of light reaching your sensor, or a neutral density filter to decrease the exposure time.
These are just two examples of how filters may be used in photography:
- Neutral density (ND) filters: These reduce the amount of light hitting your sensor by 3-8 f/stops depending on how dark they are; for example, an ND 4 will cut out about 2 stops worth of light and an ND 8 cuts out about 4 stops worth of light. This is helpful when taking long exposures at night or in bright sunlight so that you don’t end up with either too bright or too dark images.
- Polarizing: A circular polarizer helps reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water and windows while increasing contrast between colors by reducing reflections across them (the sky will look more blue).
Shoot into the sun to capture the essence of light.
Another way to capture the essence of light is to shoot into it. This technique allows you to create a sense of depth and dimension in your images, and the result is usually quite dramatic.
To successfully shoot into the sun, use a long focal length lens (70-200mm) with an aperture set between f/2.8-f/5.6 so that you have plenty of depth of field when shooting at your subject’s distance from your camera position.
Additionally, make sure that there are no objects obstructing your view and that you’re familiar with any safety risks associated with this type of photography so that you don’t harm yourself or others while practicing this technique.
Capture silhouettes with sun backlighting.
If you’re into photography, chances are you’ve mastered the art of capturing silhouettes. These can be great ways to capture the essence of light, but sun backlighting is a less common way to do so—and it’s even more effective at emphasizing the subject.
This technique works best when there is a strong contrast between your subject and its surroundings, like a beach with bright sand and dark clouds or an ice-covered lake surrounded by trees. If this combination seems too stark for your taste (or just not available), consider using less of a contrast between your subject and background by shooting into the sun instead of away from it, so that fewer details are visible in either area. This will also give you more time with which to work since you won’t have direct sunlight coming through your lens while you compose and capture your image!
Use a longer focal length lens for close-ups.
If you want to get closer to your subject and really hone in on the details, use a longer focal length lens. In this case, the longer focal lengths mean that you can bring your subject into focus without physically moving closer.
You can do this with a zoom lens (which has different focal lengths) or with a telephoto lens (which only has one focal length).
Experiment with less common compositions and perspectives.
- Use a wide angle lens. If you have a wide angle lens, experiment with it to capture the sun in the background. This can be done by framing your scene so that the sun is just outside of focus and out of view.
- Use a telephoto lens. If you have a telephoto lens, experiment with this type of shot as well! You can frame your shot so that the sun is focused but still in the background—this will give an interesting sense of depth and perspective to your image.
- Zoom in or out on your subject matter to get both close-ups and distant views of it—try doing this with either telephoto or zoom lenses as needed!
- Stick with macro photography if possible; while some larger aperture lenses might work here too, there’s one area where macro really shines: capturing intricate details like sunspots or flares (which are sometimes called coronal mass ejections).
Take advantage of the light provided by the sun and capture some amazing shots!
If you’re shooting during the day, the sun is an important part of your photo. The problem is that it can be difficult to capture its image well. This is because if you shoot into the sun, it will appear as a dark circle in the middle of your shot and block out any other objects around it. You may also have trouble getting a good exposure on anything but bright-white surfaces like sand or water.
Fortunately for us, there are ways around this issue!
There are three simple ways to use the power and light provided by our celestial friend: 1) during “golden hour” (just after dawn and just before dusk), 2) when shooting with backlighting from behind an object (like trees), and 3) when using long focal length lenses for close-ups or macro shots
So, what do you think? Are you ready to start capturing the beauty of the sun? We hope so! Remember that there are some basic things you can do to make sure your photos come out great (like taking them during the golden hour), but also keep in mind that it’s okay if they don’t. All good photographers know that it takes a lot of practice and persistence before we get those perfect shots—and sometimes even then we still won’t get what we want! But don’t let this stop you from trying again; don’t forget that there are many different ways to capture light, so keep experimenting until something works for you.