Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

How to shoot into the sun

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digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

Angkor Wat sunrise

This can be tough to get right, but I’ve found that the latest camera sensors seem to be dealing with this difficult lighting situation really well. Experiment with your camera to see how it copes and create beautiful dreamy images.

I am using this technique in both my travel and garden photography and clients do love the feel.

Here are a few tips for shooting into the sun.

Keep your lens clean.

Dust, grease and scratches increase the risk of getting distracting flare. If you have a lens protecting filter on, take it off as sunlight can bounce in between the filter and the lens.

Use manual mode.

Choose the ISO you want, shoot in RAW and manual focus. Choosing your own aperture and shutter speed gives you the desired control over the effect you are after. Underexposing the image will give you dark silhouettes,

Intha leg rowing fisherman sunrise, Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe, Nyaungshwe, Shan State, Myanmar (Burma), Asia

Intha leg rowing fisherman sunrise, Myanmar

while overexposing gives detail in the subject and a more dreamy feel.

Intha leg rowing fisherman sunrise, Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe, Nyaungshwe, Shan State, Myanmar (Burma), Asia

Intha leg rowing fisherman sunrise, Inle Lake, Myanmar

Tripods make life easier.

When shooting backlight with the camera on a tripod, it’s easier to move the camera angle to control any distracting flare.

digital travel photography holidays tours to Burma myanmar hosted by Stephen Studd, Bagan temples sunrise

Bagan sunrise, Myanmar

ND graduated filters.

These will help balance the exposure in your photograph. Remember to keep your filters clean.

Hide the sun behind an object.

Placing the sun behind an object gives you less chance of flare and can create a beautiful feel to your photograph.

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Marrakech Venice 2014 2015 South East Asia Cambodia Siem Reap Angkor Wat temple complex UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Thom Ta Prohm temple tree gro

Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm temple, Cambodia


One thing to take into consideration is that different camera models do act differently using this technique. Get to really know your camera model and what the sensor can deal with. Have fun and try out different apertures and lenses to see what effects they give. Once you’ve mastered the technique with a tripod you can use it in other styles of photography where a tripod can’t be used.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to  Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Myanmar, Burma, Vietnam, Morocco Marrakech Marrakesh hosted by Stephen Studd

Kep crab market, Cambodia

Finally be careful, don’t look into the sun for too long as it can damage your eyes.

My holidays & courses to Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Marrakech and the Gower, Wales can be found on my website

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‘May the light be with you’

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Author: Stephen Studd Photography

Stephen graduated from LCP in London in 1987 with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in photography. Since then he has travelled the world as a professional freelance travel & garden photographer. His photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from front cover of National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. His work has also been used in many advertising campaigns, with clients such as Fiat, Citigroup, Caribou Coffee, Expedia, BBC and countless others and his photography has picked up numerous international awards.. Stephen leads travel photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam & the USA. He also leads Bluebell photography workshops in Gloucestershire and landscape photography workshops in the Gower, Wales. Stephen can be contacted for commissions via his photography website.

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