How to Photograph in Bright Light

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Bright light can seem like the harbinger of the end for beginner photographers. What was moments ago a perfect day for a photo shoot has now turned into an irredeemable mess, and it is not uncommon for many beginners to just give in as soon as the light shines through. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

While bright light can bring its challenges, it also brings with it ample opportunity. Let’s get right into it and take a look at how to take a photograph in bright light.

Embrace the Shade

Our first instinct might be to flee the harsh midday sun. But hold on! Open shade offers a haven of beautiful, diffused light. Parks with dappled sunlight filtering through leaves, open-air walkways, or even the underside of a bridge can provide a flattering, soft illumination for portraits and close-up shots.

This light minimises harsh shadows and creates a natural-looking glow that is perfect for highlighting textures and details.

Befriend the Filters

Filters are a photographer’s secret weapon in bright conditions. A neutral density filter is your knight in shining armour. It acts like sunglasses for your camera, allowing you to use a slower shutter speed or wider aperture even in bright sunlight.

This translates to creative effects like silky smooth water in landscapes or blurred motion for a sense of dynamism. Polarising filters can also reduce glare and enhance colour saturation, making skies bluer and foliage more vibrant.

Find the Magic Hour

While midday sun can be daunting, don’t discount the power of the golden hour – that magical time shortly after sunrise or before sunset. The lower angle of the light casts long, dramatic shadows, perfect for creating a sense of depth and dimension in your photographs.

This warm, diffused light is also incredibly flattering for portraits, bathing your subjects in a soft, ethereal glow. It’s one of the most common types of photos used on the most popular/best photo book maker – magic hour photos look incredible.

Embrace the Flash (But Use it Wisely!)

Yes, even in bright light, your trusty flash can be a valuable tool. But ditch the direct flash that creates harsh shadows and washed-out colours. Instead, bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling for softer, diffused light.

You can also use a diffuser attachment on your flash to achieve a similar effect. Remember, the goal is to use the flash subtly, as a fill light to brighten shadows without overpowering the natural light.

See the Light in Everything

Bright light can be your muse for creative experimentation. Look for reflections in puddles or windows, capturing the world upside down in a kaleidoscope of light. Play with lens flare, using it as a stylistic element to add a touch of whimsy or mystery.

Let the harsh light cast stark contrasts, emphasising the graphic qualities of your scene. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and use the intense light to create a unique and captivating image.


So, do you think you are now ready to tackle the dreaded bright light? Bright light has put an end to many photoshoots, but you don’t have to fall victim to this mistake. You have a plethora of tools at your disposal to not only bypass this obstacle but actually use it to your advantage.

So, the next time you come up against bright light, remember what we have discussed today. Good luck!

Image Source – Pixabay

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