Mak­ing the most of bright light

Amateur Photographer - - Technique -

While the blue hour, around sun­rise or sun­set, is of­ten best for at­mo­spheric city break shots, don’t de­spair if your sched­ule means you have to shoot in the mid­dle of the day. Yes, the strong sun­light can be very ‘blasty’ and un­for­giv­ing, but you can turn this to your ad­van­tage if you shoot in black & white or in­frared. The strong shad­ows you get at mid­day can add mood and drama to a lot of street pho­tog­ra­phy, for ex­am­ple, while a bright blue sky can look very dra­matic against build­ings. If you’re less con­fi­dent when it comes to choos­ing sub­jects for black & white pho­tog­ra­phy, try chang­ing to the Monochrome mode if your cam­era sup­ports it, so you can see if a scene has enough tone and con­trast to work well be­fore you take the pic­ture (shoot raw and all the colour in­for­ma­tion is re­tained). As for in­frared, this is quite a com­pli­cated process that needs a spe­cial­ist con­ver­sion, so most peo­ple tend to get an older cam­era con­verted, as we did here with our Olym­pus PEN. It can cost sev­eral hun­dred pounds and in­volves send­ing your cam­era away, so an eas­ier op­tion is to buy an in­frared fil­ter that blocks out vis­i­ble light and al­lows in­frared light to reach the cam­era’s sen­sor. Sil­ver Efex Pro is good for in­frared black & white edit­ing, while Pho­to­shop lay­ers give you sur­real colours. Don’t fall back on sloppy tech­nique just be­cause you’re shoot­ing black & white; fix­ing un­der­ex­po­sure, for ex­am­ple, can gen­er­ate noise.

This unique build­ing in Rome’s EUR dis­trict was shot in very harsh sun­light in the mid­dle of the day

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