Better family pics in the sun

What’s the advice that most people get when taking photos? Kodak recommended that the sun should be behind you. This suited them because the results, like the one above, show bright colours with plenty of contrast; it doesn’t produce happy photos, though. Looking at the photo above you can see that the boy is squinting against the painful brightness – not a good look! There are, though, simple techniques which leave people with full use of their eyes and a relaxed smile on their faces. Here are two:

Tip 1

Turn round 180 degrees. Stand on the shadow of the person you’re photographing and switch on your camera’s flash (even though it’s sunny). Take the pic and you’ll notice that your subject has eyes – and looks a lot happier. The flash lights the face and puts a sparkle in the eyes. The sunlight adds a rim of light to the hair. The result is a relaxed pose which probably reflects the way you all felt at the time.

Tip 2

If you don’t have a flash, or if it won’t work in sunshine, find a light-coloured wall which is lit by the sun. Take your subject a few feet from it and stand in his/her shadow again. The wall will reflect soft, flattering light onto your friend without any grimacing. Again, the sunlight on the hair and shoulders says it’s a sunny day. Result: another happy snap!

I use lots of expensive and complex cameras and lights in my wedding and portrait photography but it isn’t necessary for holiday souvenirs. These photos were taken using an ordinary smartphone. Give it a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Want to know more? Contact Gordon Saunders on 07812 576 430 or email