Beware the Summer Sun

Early morning and late afternoon to evening are beautiful times of day in summer to take pictures. The sun is at a lower angle and the light is warmer and softer as it travels further through the atmosphere. If a day spent at the beach includes either of these time periods, use the more complimentary light to your photographic advantage. Many brides, too, like to include “beach photos” on their wedding days and while these can sometimes be very effective, there is no worse place for a bride and groom to be than on the beach in summer any time before about 6pm.

The hot, high sun and harsh light tends to diminish the romance and softness of the photographs. If possible, make the beach the last photo stop before heading to the reception. There are, of course, times when you have to take pictures under very strong summer sunlight. During those times, you can use the flash on your camera to fill in the shadows that tend to darken the eyes and under the chin. “Sun smart” people often wear hats in summer, and these too can cause very dark shadows over the face. No, don’t ask them to take their hats off – rather, use your flash again. You may well find yourself using flash outdoors during summer more than you use it indoors!

A simple repositioning of your subject can sometimes reduce harsh shadows. Where parks and gardens offer trees and other shaded areas, these can be effectively used to reduce the harshness of the light on your subject. You may also want to use a little fill flash – a much more flattering option than fullblown mid-afternoon sunlight. The shade of buildings can also be used to soften the light falling on your subjects. Summer is a time for fun and taking photos should be part of your activities. But when the sun is at its most severe, keep your camera safe from the heat. So, keep your camera cool and safe from heat, sand and direct sunlight. Keep an eye out for that harsh summer light and do what you can to tame it!

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