How To Take Better Pictures In the Middle Of The Day
As most photographers know, golden hour is the best time to take photos. It’s when there’s the most color, the most flattering light, and the most exciting sky. Unfortunately, golden hour only lasts for two hours of the day, making it a little limiting if you’re pressed for time. So what about learning how to take betting pictures in the middle of the day?
Shooting in the middle of the day is continuously ragged on by many photographers. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t capture great quality images under the high sun of midday. This post will share a few great tips to teach you how to take better pictures in the middle of the day and make the most of any lighting conditions! Let’s jump in.
Tips For Taking Better Pictures In The Middle Of The Day
Below are a few great tips to help you capture better photos, even in the flat light of the afternoon. Here I’ll share some easy workarounds, lens filters, and posing techniques to help you nail your midday images.
#1. Get Out Of The Open
The reason most people avoid shooting in the middle of the day is that the light is flat, and everything looks more contrasty. With the sun directly above your head, it can cast an unflattering light on your subjects or make an entire scene look relatively lifeless. Since there’s not any ‘wow’ factor to most open spaces, it’s useful to find more sheltered areas to take your images.
By getting out of the open, you can find smaller areas to shoot that are more likely to have some shade. It’s not the best choice to take grand landscape style photos in the afternoon, so take the opportunity to get closer to your subjects. If you’re shooting a person, get closer and really make the frame all about them. Stop trying to get everything that’s going on in that background. Staying out of the open forces you to think more creatively and get closer to your subjects.
#2. Use Shadows As A Creative Tool
Shadows don’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, shadows look absolutely amazing in your images if you know how to use them right. When it comes to shadows, there is no better time to find them, then during the middle of the day.
When I say shadows, I don’t mean any random shadow you see. I’m talking about shadows with some kind of pattern or linear shape. These can make for great points of interest in your composition and add a lot of life to your pictures. With the help of these harsh shadows, you don’t need much going on in your photo to make it great. Plus, it can add a cool minimalist aesthetic to your photos!
#3. Use A Polarizer
A polarizer is a lens filter that reduces glare and reflection in your pictures. It’s a lens filter that every photographer should own and are worth every penny. When you’re taking pictures in the middle of the day, a polarizer is going to be your best friend.
Since there is so much extra contrast at midday, a polarizer helps to cut down some of the highlights and bring more color back to your photo. It’s a great tool to help balance out your highlights and make the middle of the day look a little more vibrant! I recommend a few great affordable polarizing filters in this post.
#4. Explore More Urban Areas
If you’re just looking for a place to take photos, stick to urban areas during the middle of the day. There’s a lot more diversity to find in a city that offers a ton of unique compositions. From colorful murals, rugged alleyways, interesting people, and unique backdrops, there can be a lot of photographic potential in just a small area of a city.
Cities are also an easy place to find really uniform shadows that can be perfect for your photos in the middle of the day!
#5. Try Black And White Photography
When you’re taking photos under the high afternoon sun, there’s a whole lot of extra contrast between the sunny and shadowed areas. This doesn’t always look amazing in colored images, but it sure works great for black and white photography!
Black and white photography is all about contrast and heavy shadows. This is super easy to capture in the middle of the day and lets you think more creatively. Without having to worry about how good the colors look, you can simply focus on the light in the scene and how it’s falling on your subjects. This is a great skill to practice for any style of photography!
#6. Utilize A Reflector For Your Portraits
A reflector (also known as a bounce) is a white disc that reflects light to help soften shadows on your subject. As the sunlight shines onto the white reflector, it reflects that light up to your subject to illuminate their face better. Reflectors can easily soften any deep shadows on your subject’s face and add a professional look to your portraits. These handy tools take absolutely zero technical prowess to use, so they are perfect for any level of photographer! You can find a few affordable reflectors here.
It’s important to keep in mind that reflectors are only handy when shooting portrait photos or if your subject is closer to the camera.
#7. Face Your Subject Towards The Light
A problem you’ll face when taking pictures in the middle of the day is raccoon eyes. This is a term used to describe the dark shadows cast around someone’s eyes when a light source is directly above their head. It’s one of the common beginner photography mistakes you should always try to avoid, and facing your subject towards the light helps to prevent this problem.
By facing your subject towards the sunlight, you can reduce the amount of dark and unflattering shadows on their body. Sometimes it requires an entirely different position; other times, a slight lift of the chin will resolve the problem. Always keep a keen eye out to where your subject is in relation to the sun to avoid those unflattering shadows!
#8. Wait For A Cloud To Cover The Sun
If you’re taking pictures on a more cloudy day, then you have one of the biggest diffusers in the world waiting to help you out! When a cloud covers the sun, it diffuses the hard light and creates a more even light below. This means it’s a lot easier to capture the right exposure and reduce any glaring highlights in your scene. Sometimes this cloud cover doesn’t last long, so make sure to keep on your toes to make the most of this diffused moment.
#9. Utilize Exposure Compensation
If you’re shooting with an automatic setting, make sure to put your exposure compensation to work while taking pictures in the middle of the day! Sometimes your automatic setting chooses an exposure that it thinks is best for your photo but ends up not working for what you had in mind. Exposure compensation lets you have a little more control over your automatic settings by telling your camera to adjust the exposure by a certain amount of stops. By using this tool, you can make sure your camera is exposing for the right parts of your image and not getting fooled by the bright sunlight of midday.
#10. Use A Lens Hood If You’re In Direct Sunlight
When you’re taking photos in direct sunlight, you can run the risk of getting light flares in your images. Light flares occur when light is cast directly across the front element of the lens, creating a washed-out look. This can be a sought after creative look during golden hour, but in the middle of the day, it doesn’t work as well.
By using a lens hood, you can shade your lens from any sunlight that could by washing out your image. You don’t need to use a lens hood every time you’re taking pictures, but they are useful when you’re shooting under direct sunlight. Be sure to explore more about the main uses of lens hoods in photography.
By implementing these 10 tips to help you take better pictures in the middle of the day, you’ll be snapping stunning photos around the clock. Learning how to manipulate unfavorable conditions into your favor is an essential part of improving your photography. It’s not going to be the best conditions of your life every time you take photos, so you have to make the most of it. I hope with the help of these 10 tips, you feel more confident about capturing great images even in the midday sun.
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If you enjoyed this article and want more photography tips, make sure to download my free Photography Essentials Guide sharing some of my favorite tips to kick start your photography!