Wedding Photography in Harsh Sunlight

Wedding Photography in Harsh Sunlight

To carry on from my previous Blog with regards to portrait or group photography in harsh light; all that light bouncing around can make it a challenge however you can get great pictures especially due to the bright colour flowers and contrast, when choosing to use this light to create the image your are seeing with your eyes, I always choose to use one of my favorite techniques.

As always, this means you need to set the camera to manual, this provides you with complete control, what you’re trying to achieve is to underexpose the background by at least two stops maybe even lower, if you really need to give your image some bokeh due to your artistic flare or maybe the setting is not as preferred as you would wish, using a neutral density filter will allow for a wider aperture setting, which allows more light to spread over the sensor.

I do feel that as the climate continues to change in the UK we may tend to find that our summer months will bring more sunny days, difficult to think this may happen especially living in this area of Somerset where we have been providing wedding photography for many years but it’s always a must, to be completely at ease with every scenario when photographing a wedding.

 Ensure you set your shutter speed to provide your flash with the most power, this can be anything from 1/180 second through to 1/200 on some cameras, you need to check your particular camera manual, High speed sync is good to use on certain shots however you lose a lot of flash power and because of the harsh natural light and for this shot you will need as much punch from the flash as possible.

As I have mentioned you need to under expose the background, or even the highlights directly in front of you, keeping skin tones and checking you aren’t blowing out any whites is a good checking point, then close down that iris of your camera by reducing the amount of light entering the lens and remember its always the opposite to what you would naturally expect, F.2 allows masses of light onto the sensor whereas F16 cuts out the light intensity.

Next you need to ensure you are close enough to your subject, as the amount of flash required is huge, if I’m taking a Group photo I will use my radio flash triggers and place the flash onto a tripod, out of the way of the shot.

Set your flash to full power; balance out the ambient sunlight, re-check those highlights and fire, adding punch to this type of image, even in direct light.

Should this type of photography challenge really bring you out in hot flushes, you could always look for those natural open shade areas, which provides beautiful soft lighting or even move to a building where the light is bouncing of walls which can also provide a soft box effect. The portrait of my beautiful daughter was taken in soft open shade with a touch of flash to capture the catch lights in her eyes.

Happy Photography in harsh sunlight.