3 Steps for shooting in Full Sun on Manual Mode

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It’s photo tip Tuesday (barely), and I’m excited to share some tips today on 3 Steps for shooting in Full Sun on Manual Mode. Generally speaking, people are afraid to shoot in full sun, because unless you have the right tips, it can go horribly wrong. You can get sun in the face squints, washed out backlight, or even splotchy sun/shade patches on the face. I asked my friend Kaylee to model for me last week for a different post I’m sharing in a few weeks, but I thought it would be a great time to share some full sun tips. If you struggle with shooting on manual mode, my Say NO to Auto book for beginners might be helpful!

3 simple steps on How to take picture in full sun on manual mode

My most favorite skin tones and light for people, is on a sunny day, just barely into the shade. I think it gives the most even light, and most natural setting for the face. BEAUTIFUL are pictures in that type of light. I do, however, love the magic that comes from pictures in full sun…taken the right way. Most people are scared of the sun and would rather not mess with it, and hope for a cloudy day. But I’m not really a fan of clouds, they cast drab light on my subject, and I hope for sun.

With Kaylee, I went first for the safe zone, and looked for some shade on this beautifully sunny afternoon.

How to pose for senior pictures and shooting in full sun

My camera settings in the shade: 1/250 sec;   f/2.5;   ISO 250 with a 50mm fixed lens {affiliate}

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Once we took a handful of shots in the shade, we moved over to the sun. It was 4pm, so the sun was coming down, but I always aim to turn my subjects away from the sun so they don’t go blind from the light and all squinty eyed on me.

Step 1: Place subjects Back to the sun

You have to angle your subjects in such a way that their face stays evenly lit, it’s as if their head is the shade, keeping the face out of the harsh light. See, no splotches on her face below. But you can see the hair lined with light, showing where the sun is coming from.

how to take pictures in full sun on manual mode

Camera settings: 1/500 sec;   f/2.5;   ISO 100 50 mm lens {affiliate}

Step 2: Change your ISO

When I shoot in the shade, I set my ISO to 200 (ish) at first and adjust from there. When I shoot in full sun, I start at 100 ISO, and set my shutter speed to go faster. Study the two settings from the two images above, and knowing the light conditions will help you know when and how to change your ISO.

Step 3: Don’t shoot directly into the sun

When shooting in full sun, make sure you position your subject off to the side of the actual sun, not right in the middle of you and the sun.  If you capture the sun in your frame, it will likely wash out your image, so it’s best for it to stay just outside of the frame.

Though this shot below, the sun crept in a bit more, I love the softness, and glow that it brings to the image

tips for taking pictures in full sun on manual mode

file info: 1/500 sec;   f/2.5;   ISO 100

Though shooting in full sun can be intimidating at first, if you follow these simple steps, and give it a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!

Want more photo tips? I’ve got lots!

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Comments

  1. There’s a reason we don’t shoot outside as much… so intimidating! lol Love these, thanks for always being so generous with your tips! XO

  2. These are great tips! I love natural light for photography!!

  3. do you adjust your metering mode when shooting in the sun/back lit photos? if so, what setting do you use?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I don’t generally check the meter on the inside of my camera, is that what you are asking? I also don’t change any settings except White Balance, and then the shutter speed as it gets brighter or darker.

      • No I’m referring to the metering mode in regards to Spot, Partial, Centre-weighted Average and Evaluative. The names are slightly different on a Nikon.

        • Kristen Duke says:

          Oh! No, I typically set it on one shot (can’t remember the Nikon equivalent) and leave it there for everything unless fast motion.

  4. Used these tips a few weeks ago and they worked well! Thank you!