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Feel free to look in the face of the sun, or How to shoot against the light

Many photographers, especially beginners, do not risk taking pictures against the sun, fearing either damage to the camera or ugly photos. However, if you shoot in the backlight according to all the rules, then the award will be wonderful photos with backlight.

How to shoot against the light

Yes, the sun makes the sky dazzling white and turns any objects in photographs into black silhouettes. But these problems, like many others, can be fixed.

Take care of your eyes and camera

Some photographers are afraid of damaging the camera when shooting against the sun. This is not really a problem when you take ordinary landscape photographs. But if you use a telephoto lens, there is a real risk of harm to your eyes or camera.

Besides all the possible dangers, looking directly at the sun through the DSLR viewfinder is simply inconvenient. Compose your picture as quickly as possible or switch to LiveView to avoid this. However, in LiveView, you may have difficulty building the composition because the overly contrasted images that were mentioned at the beginning will still be shown. The solution to the problem is to use exposure compensation.

Work with strong contrasts

The main problems when shooting against the light are the bright, overexposed sky and a completely dark foreground. These effects usually do not match your desires. Fortunately, there are many ways to fix them.

Take several identical shots with different exposure settings, if your scene is static, then you can combine them into one HDR photo.

How to shoot against the light
The final picture consists of five pictures with different exposures connected together. Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon EF 16-35 / 2.8 III, 1/1250 to 1/5 s, f / 20, ISO 100, focal length 17 mm

If you have a scene of action with people, animals or other moving objects, one dark frame is enough. Then you can lighten the selected places on the computer during post-processing.

However, you should expect an increase in the amount of noise in these places. And, if you do not plan to show the photo in its original resolution, this effect will not be especially noticeable and can be neglected.

How to shoot against the light
Edited whip up image in Zoner Photo Studio using several slider settings in the Develop module: Exposure +1.7; Contrast +80; Lights −50; Shadows +80, Dehaze +80. Could of course handle even better

When you photograph objects or people nearby, you can use a flash or a reflector. Thus, it is easy to turn dark silhouettes into real faces right during shooting.

How to shoot against the light
The portrait that the photographer took against the sun. He added extra lighting with a remotely controlled flash. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 85 / 1.8, 1/200 s, f / 1.8, ISO 100, focal length 85 mm

Beware of dust

Before starting work, do not forget to wipe the lens with a special cloth (or at least a T-shirt). Otherwise, the dust will be highlighted during shooting against the light, and subsequently will leave spots on your photos.

You may not notice this while shooting, but when you get home and find that half of the material you shot is spoiled by dust spots, you will definitely not be happy about it.

Dust on the lens of the photographer led to the appearance of bright spots around the sun. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35 / 2.8 II, 1/125 s, f / 2.8, ISO 100, focal length 16 mm

Beware of bad filters

You can prevent the reflection of the sun using filters. Meanwhile, shooting directly against the sun really emphasizes any shortcomings in UV filters, polarizing filters, or in any other form. Low-quality filters reflect the light between the lens and the filter, creating glare.

If you like taking photos with backlighting, be sure to invest in good filters or don’t use them at all.

Another way to deal with reflections

Sometimes even the most expensive filters do not help get rid of reflections. This is because some reflections may form inside the lens. Here’s the trick when using a tripod: take one photo as usual, and then one in which you cover the sun with your hand. This will help prevent ugly glare.

If you close the sun in the frame with your hand, get rid of unwanted glare

Then combine the photos in a photo editor and process the result as necessary.

How to shoot against the light
The final image without reflections. It is compiled from two HDR images, each of which was compiled from five images. In total, ten had to be removed. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35 / 2.8 II, about 1/1000 s, f / 13, ISO 100, focal length 16 mm

An impressive element in the composition

Let’s move on to composition. You may have noticed that in all previous photographs the sun was very bright. In your approach to photography, you should think about its positioning on images.

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