Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Photography Tip - Avoiding Shadows

I'm not even remotely a pro and honestly feel slightly weird giving photography advice, but I do know this. Where the light is coming from makes a huge difference in your photos. Here's a quick tip for avoiding unwanted shadows in direct sun.

Remember my trip to the corn maze? It was a very sunny day. Which is both good and bad when it comes to photography. Harsh shadows are almost a given in direct sun, especially for someone like me that ISN'T an expert (and relies on Aperture Priority a tad more than I probably should).

I took this picture as we reached the center of the maze. This was direction we entered so I just said, "Stand in front of the flag" and I snapped the shot. Fortunately, I immediately saw my problem.

sun behind

The sun was at their backs, which meant their faces are all in shadow. Look at the shadows on the ground. You can see how the light is hitting them. I'm also getting a weird lens flare in the left midground (see the green blob?) and the sky is all blown out because the meter is compensating for the shadows.

Easy fix - I moved so that the sun was at my back. You risk squinty faces with subjects looking into the sun, but it worked out here. They are no longer all in shadow. I could compensate for this in post-production because I shoot in RAW, but it's easier to get it right at the time. Plus there are no weird lens flares or blown out clouds.

facing sun

In photography, light is everything. Use it to your advantage!

p.s. photos are pretty much straight out of the camera, so no post processing with these (sharpening, straightening, contrast, cropping, etc.).


  1. I have slowly started paying attention to the light instead of snapping away! It is usually my own shadow in the way of my food!

  2. I have a picture blog too!! Your pictures are downright awesome! I'm just a guy with a typical camera =p


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