Mesmerizing Photo From Shooting Directly Into the Sun

Shooting directly into the sun can be a real challenge… and could even ruin your photo.

Ari Dorfman posted this image in our Facebook Group & I was taken in by the light + the connection he made with his daughter (the subject within the photo). So much went into the photo to make it the image that it is. Here’s why:

Your camera will have a difficult time focusing on your subject due to the hard light on its sensor. Eyeballing your focus on manual mode will be tough when the light is in your eye also. This could leave you with an out of focus photo (which isn’t always a bad thing, but you get the point). Then, when you shoot into the sun, part of your subject can go missing due to the light (think of someone’s forehead missing, because the light overpowered the edge of the person’s head).

In this photo, where the harsh light ends and his daughter’s face begins, your eyes are drawn directly to hers. Ari positioned himself perfect! The light and her expression are just mesmerizing and I would love to know more… what was going through her sweet little mind in that moment?

 

Here is what Ari had to say about his photo: 

“On this afternoon, about an hour before sunset, my daughter asked to go outback to play. Whenever my kids go out back at this hour, I always bring my camera, set some basic settings and leave my camera on the table, just in case. Our backyard gets direct sunset light pouring into the yard and it is always a beautiful sight. They call it the golden hour for a reason, but I think in South Florida, it is even more golden. As I watched her play, I noticed she had put her head down on the table inside her playhouse. I really noticed the sun was beaming down right on her because her curly messy hair looked like it was on fire. I quickly ran over to the table, grabbed my camera and placed myself directly in front of her. The light was beaming through her hair and through the window of her playhouse. As I bent down to make the photo, she quickly glanced over at me and I was able to capture this one frame. I wasn’t even sure if it was going to come out because there was so much direct sun bouncing around my glass I could barely see. Luckily, this is what I captured.”

 

shooting into the sun tutorial

 

See more from Ari Dorfman: Website | Facebook

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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    • Ancari,

      I always shoot around 1.8 – 2.2 and from there I set my shutter speed and ISO to be above 1/3-2/3 underexposed. I keep it in manual and also set my white balance to cloudy always! Then when a photo op happens, I can just grab the camera and go.

  • Ari I adore this image. Stunning as always. Backlighting is not easy but when you get it right magic happens!