The Problem with Direct Sunlight

by | Feb 9, 2017 | Tips & Tricks | 1 comment

With what type of camera would you guess the following shot was taken?

ipad IMG_0090-edit

A pro DSLR? Maybe a hybrid or high end point and shoot?

What about an old iPad?

If you know what you’re doing, you can take some pretty nice shots with just about any old camera.

I’ve found that there are at least 8 different principles that, when applied, will generally help pictures turn out better regardless of what camera you’re using.

1. Avoid shooting directly toward a light source

Most low-end cameras simply can’t seem to handle lens flare very well. Here’s an example shot from the same location only looking directly toward the light source:

20170125_163323

I wasn’t trying to shoot artistically here, but this example helps us to identify problems you’ll almost always run into:

  • Notice how lens flare causes much of the picture to look hazy? This is not appealing in most situations, though it can be used creatively if harnessed properly.
  • Notice the bright spot on the tree? Flare spots seldom provide an appealing touch.
  • Notice the irregular (and often multi-colored) sunrays emanating from the sun? They are not very prominent in this example, but sunrays of different lengths, widths and colors do not look appealing.
  • Notice the unnatural gradation between the sun spot and the sky? Compact sensors have a hard time rendering appealing color gradients in general.

So in general, avoid shooting directly toward a light source when using cameras with compact sensors. Next time you’re using your iPad, phone, or point and shoot camera, keep the light source out of the frame and you might be more pleased with how your picture turns out.

2 . . .

I’ll talk about the other 7 principles in a live webinar on Saturday. You won’t want to miss it! Register now, add it to your calendar, and we’ll continue learning about these 8 basic principles for getting better shots with any camera!

1 Comment

  1. Katherine Behrens

    Some interesting comments you made there James about the light source. I will try to keep them in mind.

    Reply

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