Why Photographers SHOULD Shoot Into The Sun – Including Some Tips

Why Photographers SHOULD Shoot Into The Sun - Including Some Tips

Why Photographers SHOULD Shoot Into The Sun

I recently received a comment on one of my YouTube videos from a photographer who had shared an image of his on a photography forum. His photo included the sun in the frame. It received a little bit of criticism from other members, who advised against shooting into the sun.

I wrote about this a while ago in my article entitled 32 Shooting & Planning Tips To Instantly Improve Your Landscape Photos. In the video I talk about why people advise against shooting into the sun, why the advice isn’t as relevant today, and I show you a few tricks for overcoming shooting difficulties we face when capturing the sun.

The three main reasons people argue we shouldn’t shoot into the sun, is that it is dangerous for our eyes, can damage the sensor, creates unwanted lens flare, and forces us to work with a great dynamic range of light.

The first of these is from an older time, when we used to compose our shots through a view finder every time. Nowadays, our DSLRs allow us to use the Live View to compose, saving our eyes form being exposed to the sun.

In terms of sensor damage, while leaving your sensor exposed to the sun for a long time will more than likely do it harm, capturing the sun every now and then does not seem particularly serious. I’ve been doing this for 4 years with the same camera, as have many other photogs I know, and we haven’t seen any damage.

Both dealing with flare and the extended dynamic range of light is extremely easy, as long as we shoot our images correctly, and have a decent understanding of post-processing. Please watch the video for demonstrations of both of these.

As one commenter on the above video stated “Anyone who says ”don’t do” something in photography is obviously not a photographer as this is an art form and there are no rules.” So if you hear someone definitively state that you should never shoot into the sun, feel free to share this video with them.

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Why Photographers SHOULD Shoot Into The Sun – Including Some Tips

3 thoughts on “Why Photographers SHOULD Shoot Into The Sun – Including Some Tips

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8abbebaab3b927614ccaab62e8a11b68f80fe8fa2715ea2b9365106924d72000.jpg nice little clip Jimmy. I am in agreement….mostly. 🙂
    When shooting landscapes I often shoot toward the sun and include the sun. However, I often shoot birds and use very long lenses. With these beasts the sun can be magnified tremendously. While using live view may work in stills, through the lens shooting is necessary when following a bird in flight. The end result, I have seen spots for a while after getting the sun directly in the view finder. That said, I do shooting into the sun with my big lens on. I just am very careful not to look too long.

    In making the image below I was using a 500mm lens with a 1.4x extender. I saw spots for a few minutes after making the shot.

  2. I hate forums. When I started out I used to ask questions in a forum and I quickly noticed that most of the people there are so focused on rhetoric and what they read somewhere that they’re actually restricting themselves. In this case many people probably missed a nice shot just because they heard from someone that shooting towards the sun is a no-go. I’m glad that you and other photographers who are knowledgable in PS bring in some change.

    1. I found very similar at what is usually a good forum. I have a degree in photography and own many cameras up to 4×5 and have shot 8×10. Yet I can’t call myself professional because it is no longer my main source of income. I was constantly being lectured and “taught” what is the correct way of doing things. I still check back occasionally, but don’t post much because of a couple forum bullies that took the joy out of what photo forums are supposed be be… sharing and fun.

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