Photographing the Winter Sun

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Photographing the winter sun and the summer sun are similar. However, I love photographing the winter sun. Because the days are shorter, the sun is lower in the sky later in the morning and earlier in the evening. When you have younger children, it is so nice to be able to use the sunshine to your advantage! One of my favorite things to do is to use the sun to add depth and drama to my photo.
When I showed my friend, she said, I’ve never done that before! I’ve had several others ask about how to create that sun flare. So why not a quick lesson on it?

Set Up: The best time for photographing the winter sun (okay, any sun) is in the morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky. Have your child (or subject) with the sun behind them.

Camera Settings: Since you are outside you can choose a lower ISO. I chose ISO 400 since the kids were still in the shade. Next choose a wider aperture. For my image, I wanted the blur out the background the best I can. Since I’m also standing far away, I chose an aperture of f/2.8 (the widest that particular lens could go). Finally, choose a quick shutter speed. With lots of light and quick  moving subjects, you’ll want to freeze the action with a shutter speed of 1/250 or higher. I used 1/400 in the image below.

Compose: The composition is important when trying to create a sun flare. You can choose to frame your image horizontally or vertically, but you’ll want to make sure you are able to capture the sun to peeking into your lens.  As you frame your shot, move slightly up and down to allow the right amount of sun flare in. The fun part about this is that you can choose to allow lots of flare or a little bit in. One extra tip is to watch where the sun flare is located. You don’t want to have it crossing your subjects face or be in a distracting place.

Photographing the winter sun, sun flare photo, Seattle Photography workshop

Now it’s your turn! Of course the rains have returned. But once the sun is ready, you’ll be ready too!

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