Tips for Summer Shooting – DrewB

Summer Shooting Tips for DrewB

DrewB is a wedding and family photographer and owner of DrewB Photography. She also writes a popular blog for moms who love photography called Mom*tog.

Shooting in the middle of the day is scary, even for the most seasoned photographer. However, we can’t always wait for the golden hour. Life happens 24 hours a day. Summer is here and we have to embrace the sun and all that beautiful light that comes with it.

You can approach shooting midday two ways. You can either shoot with the sun behind your subject (my personal favorite) or you can shoot with the sun behind you so it’s directly on the subject.

Backlit

Even at midday you can shoot backlit. Shooting with backlight means you simply put your light source (the sun) behind your subject. When you shoot backlit you won’t get all those harsh shadows that come with shooting in direct sun and your subject also won’t be squinting. If you are shooting in manual simply overexpose (lower your shutter speed) to allow in a bit more light. This will brighten up your subject. If you take the shot at exactly what your camera says is exposed correctly, your subject will be too dark like the image below.

*** All images shot with Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.2

F 2.5, 1/8000, ISO 125

IMG_0883 copy

All I did for this image is simply lower my shutter speed a bit.

F 2.5, 1/3200, ISO 125

IMG_0884 copy

Direct Sun

The other option is to shoot with your subject facing the sun. With this option you get those pretty blue skies because you aren’t overexposing your shot. You will want to shoot at what your camera says is correctly exposed. I like to shoot this way when my subject isn’t looking at the camera.

F 2.2, 1/8000, ISO 125

IMG_0843 copy

If your subject is looking at the camera you are more likely to get those harsh shadows on the face that aren’t so pretty.

F 3.5, 1/2000, ISO 125

IMG_0919 copy

To find the light that you are looking for, simply change your angle. By walking around your subject you’ll be able to see the different ways the light falls on them. I always pay particular attention to the face.

F 3.5, 1/1250, ISO 125

IMG_0925 copy

Choosing either all light or all sun is going to be key to get your images looking better in midday light.

F 2.5, 1/8000, ISO 125

IMG_0913 copy

Shooting in manual can be a bit daunting, but you want to take full advantage of that nice camera you have and all it has to offer. When shooting in full sun I keep my ISO at the lowest possible (I shoot at 125) because you have all the light you need. When shooting one subject I typically keep my aperture between 2.0 – 2.8 in order to blur my background a bit and make my subject pop (if you don’t have a prime lens just shoot at your widest aperture possible, which will be your smallest f-stop number). And your shutter speed is going to be based on your exposure meter (that line you see when you look through the viewfinder). When shooting backlit I want to overexpose a bit (lower my shutter speed) and when shooting with my subject in full sun I will expose for my what my camera tells me is correct (you want that line right in the middle of your exposure meter).

The great thing about digital photography is you have the luxury of overshooting and seeing what works and what doesn’t. So, get out there and embrace the sun! Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

For more photography tips from DrewB, check out Photographing Young Children, Photographing Your Own Baby, and Understanding Cropping.

7 Responses to “Tips for Summer Shooting – DrewB”

  1. Jayme July 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Great tips, again! I have a question for you…..I have been told by friends that they keep their camara in their car to have it available at all times. Could it not damage my camara to keep it in either heat or cold extremes?

    • Barb L July 18, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Yes, it can damage the camera and lenses. I used to keep my camera in the car until I had a lens loosen up from expansion and contraction so that it would no longer hold a focus. I don’t do that anymore.

  2. jamie July 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    excellent excellent tips! answers a lot of issues i have but now understand a little better what to do!! thank you so much.. i just found your site and i love it!! so much great info…

  3. Simon July 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Jayme, rapid changes in temperature can cause problems, especially from very cold to moist warm. This situation is very likely when walking and shooting for a while on a cold day. The camera will cool down and when you return to your car the moist heat from your body creates condensation.

    Nikon advises you do not store your camera in extremes of heat, in their advice they specifically say to not store your camera in your car. Even in temperate zones cars can get very hot due to the greenhouse effect. The cold will affect the batteries so not a good idea to store in your car in the winter. Here’s a link to Nikon’s care and advice page. You’ll find similar advice from other brands. https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/16567/~/caring-for-your-camera-equipment—part-i—proper-care-and-storage

    I own and run the Colorado Photography School and if anyone needs help understanding the manual settings on their DSLR feel free to get in touch. I’d be happy to help.

  4. Jayme July 18, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Thanks for the responses. I thought that it was probably not good to keep it in my car, just common sense. If it hasn’t been done yet, someone needs to make a camara bag that would insulate from extreme temperatures so we could keep it with us at all time!!

    • David July 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      Try keeping your camera gear in an ice chest. (Not a 24/7 solution, but workable for times when your gear has to stay in the car for an extended period. )

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