For most outdoor photographers, bright sunny days can be a challenge, given the high contrast between highlights and shadows. Streaks of sunlight can disrupt your main subject, for instance a gorgeous flower with a brightly dappled sunlight background. In this premium video lesson Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional photographer, David Johnston, shows you how to use small scenes to your advantage on sunny days.
In walking through the woods, David looks for patches of shade. He finds a fern frond bathed in sunny streaks, and he exposes for the highlights, but the rest of the scene drops off into darkness. Often, you don’t find good subjects in complete shade. Solution? You can create “photography hacks.” David packs a notebook and holds it over his small scenes to block out the sunlight. This technique secludes only the area he wants to photograph. Why carry a notebook? Because it opens to double its size, creating versatility. You can also purchase small flexible screens in shades of white.
What if you need to photograph a larger small scene? David brings along an umbrella that serves to block the brightest sunlight. It can also be handy for photographing in the rain. Don’t have an umbrella? Then, empty out your camera bag and hold it over the scene, with your camera on a tripod. David has even created his own shade. He sets the timer on his camera, and stands over the subject.
In David’s opinion, there are good reasons to create shade. A sunny day is tempting to take a field trip, but you are dealing with direct light. On a cloudy day, you are faced with soft even light or diffused light. But what about semi-sunny days, the clouds moving through sunny skies? This is the time to be patient and wait for the desired light. In this premium video lesson Outdoor Photography’s professional photographer, David Johnston, explains how to create small scenes on sunny days.