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Backlit natural light portrait photo of Miss Teen Coventry 2012Hope the sun is shining where you are.  We’ve got a gorgeous sunny day here in Warwick.  But if you’re planning on taking some portrait photos today, the bright sunshine can be a challenge.  Here is my top tip for creating a flattering photo on a sunny day:

The one mistake I see over and over again is positioning the person you’re photographing so that they’re facing the sun. There are two problems with that

    • Strong sun = strong shadows which are never flattering as they accentuate any blemishes, lines or wrinkles.
    • Your subject will be squinting

Instead, position them with the sun behind them, so they’ve got softer light on their face and their eyes will be wide open – much more flattering.

If you get a silhouette, tell the camera to let in more light:

    • If you’re using an iPhone, tap on the face which will get it to take its exposure reading from there –  the image on the screen will lighten up immediately.
    • For other cameras and smartphones, find your “exposure compensation” setting – virtually all cameras have one these days. It usually appears as a bar on the bottom of the screen (like in the pic below) or in the viewfinder . Move the setting so it’s on +1 or higher – see what works best for your camera.  (And don’t forget to put it back to zero when you’ve finished, otherwise your normal photos will be too bright.)

The exposure compensation setting on the screen of a camera


If you found this tip useful, sign up for my newsletter to receive more.  We cover exposure compensation as well as lots of other topics on my “Getting started with your camera” course, so if you’re frustrated with the images you’re producing with your camera, contact me to get on the waiting list for the next course.