Guide to Taking Photos in Sunny Weather

Summer is almost here in Wisconsin- in fact, it’s almost going to be 70 degrees tomorrow (the warmest day in months)! With warmer weather comes more sunshine, which is great, except for when photos start to become too overexposed. I already wrote a post on how to edit an overexposed photo, so this post will focus more on tips for working with your camera when it’s sunny out. I’ll also include some miscellaneous photos I’ve taken on various sunny days, along with the camera settings I used.

Follow the Sunny 16 Rule
An easy way to remember how to set up your camera on a sunny day is the Sunny 16 Rule. This is a tip I often see photographers giving to beginners looking to avoid overexposed photos. The “16” in Sunny 16 refers to the camera’s f-stop (or aperture). Set your camera’s f-stop to f/16, and keep the ISO at a low interval such as 100. Although I didn’t do that when taking the particular photo below, it still is a quick way to avoid overexposure.

Shutter Speed: 1/320
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 100

Keep your ISO low and shutter speed high
An alternate way to have your photos turn out on a sunny day is to use a higher shutter speed. I typically use 1/640, maybe 1/800 if the sun is really extreme. Higher shutter speeds such as 1/1000 or 1/2000 may be too high, resulting in a photo that is too dark. When using a higher shutter speed, keep the ISO at 100, and the f-stop can be kept lower too- like f/5.6.

Shutter Speed: 1/400
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 100

Remember that the photos can be edited
Sometimes I’ve taken what I think is the perfect photo, only for it to turn out overexposed. After fixing my camera settings, I try again and find that the one I took before was better. In that case, I would recommend keeping the overexposed photo and editing it at a later time (see my post on editing an overexposed photo for a walkthrough on that). The photo below turned out too bright, and when I fixed my camera settings and took another, I found that I preferred the flag’s position in the first one. I edited this photo to look better, but I will include the original camera settings used below. Note that turning my ISO down to 100 after taking this photo made the sky bluer instead of whiter, and the red stripes on the flag were more prominent.

Shutter Speed: 1/200
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 200

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