Lots of photographers, and people who teach them, talk about the advantages of shooting under a cloudy sky, or of having the sun’s light behind you. Increasingly, I’m enjoying pointing my camera straight into the sun.

Dock with sun behind it

Of course, as above, this can force you into a monochrome presentation (although the dock above is in color). But I remember, during my time in publishing technology and then again in VR, learning about “emissive” as opposed to reflective color. I don’t remember the physics or the engineering, but I like it.

Leafy vegetables sunlight from behind

Of course, the color/monochrome continuum isn’t binary. Let’s take three steps into total whiteness overload.

Backlit hydrangea blossoms
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Backlit hydrangea blossoms
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White on white on white

Anyhow, the sun is my friend. If you take the conventional advice you spend all your time worrying about shape, and subtle shadings, and other grown-up stuff that isn’t rock-&-roll at all.

Backlit purple flowers


Contributions

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From: Eric Meyer (Aug 14 2016, at 07:49)

I’m completely in agreement, though I’m still unskilled enough that getting an actual good shot out of sun-facing photography is very hit-or-miss, particularly when I’m trying to capture reflection glare off water or glass or metal roofs. How much Lightrooming do you generally do on you sun-facing shots, Tim? (Particularly that dock shot, which I adore.)

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From: Alan (Aug 15 2016, at 00:30)

It's (unfortunately) been a few decades since I did photography seriously, but I seem to remember that the "sun at your back" rule was primarily for photographing people. Even then, it wasn't a rule to be followed slavishly; I took some shots of female friends with the sun diffused through their hair which proved quite popular.

I also took a lot of neat pictures of various things that were not-people with the sun in the 'wrong' position. Anyway, I think Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean probably said it best: they're more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules.

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