Tips for Lighting in Outdoor Photography

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With some tips on outdoor photography, let’s take professional-looking photos in no time. It starts with the understanding of natural light and the way to use it.

When amateur photographers think of photography, they usually think of sunlight. However, beginners rarely understand how and when to use sunlight, the differences between direct and indirect sunlight and the advantages of taking photographs on foggy, cloudy or rainy days. The first thing to remember about photography outdoors is that most subjects do not photograph themselves well at noon on a sunny day. Why? The bright light from above creates bright surfaces and harsh shadows, resulting in too much contrast.
This is especially problematic when people are photographed, sunlight creates dark shadows on the face. If the sun is low on the horizon, we have more options. The subject may be facing sunlight, but this may result in squinting.

We can place the object with the sun to the side or on the back, which will create partial or total shadows.

How can we soften the light and shadows from more natural looking outdoor shots?

Here are some tips for taking great pictures outdoors on a sunny day.

Use A Fill Flash.

We can avoid dark facial shadows by using the function or fill flash settings in our 35mm camera. Many flash drives also have this feature. We only turn on the fill flash function and the camera will automatically make the necessary adjustments.

If we do not have the fill flash function, try turning on the flash as if we were taking an indoor photograph, we are likely to get satisfactory results if we are not too close to your subject.

Use A Reflective Surface.

This can be a professional reflector, folding white, silver or gold or a large white board.

Although it is not a practical solution for taking pictures of active children, this method works very well for still photography, such as photographing flowers on a sunny day.

For outdoor portraits, the subject may be sitting comfortably on a bench or a blanket on the floor. Then we experiment by moving the reflective surface around until the face is pleasantly lit, placing the reflective surface just outside the frame of the image.

Go To A Place With More Shadow.

Whenever possible, try to take pictures on the outside of people in the shade. The camera will adjust accordingly in most cases. It is important that the camera reads the shadows, so the focal point (the center of the image) should point to the shadow area and not a bright sun spot behind the brightest object, otherwise the subject will appear as a silhouette . The shadow will soften the light and remove the dark shadows and rough edges of the most pleasing images.


When the sun is in front of the photographer, arriving directly at the camera, we have what is known as backlighting, that is, the subject is backlit.

This type of lighting can be very effective for images of people outdoors in bright sunlight. In the sunlight, when subjects are illuminated head-on, they can be uncomfortable for them and make them squint. A backlight helps eliminate this problem.

Background lighting may also require the use of a reflector or fill flash to illuminate dark shadows and improve the detail of the subject or object. This type of lighting is also used to produce a silhouette effect. When using backlighting, we must avoid that the sun’s rays fall directly on the lens (except for special effects).

A lens hood or some other means of shading the lens should be used to avoid reflections on the lens.

Remember that some of the best outdoor shots can be made in adverse weather conditions.

Consider how spectacular cloud formations can add interest to an ordinary landscape, or how a mist in the morning can change the mood of a photograph on the seashore.

Go out and take pictures of storm clouds and unusual weather.

Capture the beauty of cold winter weather, snow and ice can create wonderful possibilities when taking the picture.