Outdoor photography allows photographers to harness natural light to create truly stunning images. In order to get the most from your outdoor photography, however, you need to understand how to work with sunlight. Filters, as in the old fashioned kind, not the type that you use in Photoshop, can also make a big difference.
1.) Timing is Everything – The relationship of the sun’s location to the Earth will play a major role in how your photographs turn out. If you shoot the photos too early or late, they will be dim and will require a flash. If you shoot them in the middle of the day, the sun will render the photographs flat and lifeless. The optimal times to shoot outside are in the early hours of morning, as the sun’s first rays are hitting the ground, and towards the end of the day, as the sun is first beginning to set.
2.) Filters – If you plan on doing a lot of outside photography, especially of landscapes and nature, you should invest in a polarizer and a neutral density filter. A polarizer will allow you to capture a rich blue sky, and it can also be used to enhance water photography. A neutral density (ND) filter can help to darken an image enough to truly capture details on a sun drenched afternoon. An ND filter can also be used to assist photographers in capturing images with a motion blur effect, such as one would look to achieve while photographing a waterfall. A third filter which landscape photographers should consider investing in is the graduated neutral density filter, which makes it easier to photograph a landscape which is partially too bright, by taking part of the frame and reducing the brightness.
3.) Positioning – If you have to do a photo shoot outside during the middle of the day, make sure that the sun is in front of your subject. Never place your subject with the sun behind it. If unflattering shadowing is occurring, use a soft flash to fill in the shadows. Keep in mind that using too bright or direct of a flash will ruin the ambiance which is created by natural lighting, and therefore you should always seek to shoot in areas outside which will not require a flash.
Have you experimented with outdoor photography? Leave a comment with your favorite trick for beating the elements.
Author’s Bio: Frank Smith the author of Geeky Edge & Edesign Tuts is widely acknowledged as one of those with the keenest understanding of trends in business, social media, technology, web development and webdesign.