Shooting in harsh sun light

Does anyone have any suggestions for photography in harsh midday sun?
My family is going on vacation in a few weeks. I am sure the grandsons will be swimming and grandma will want some photos. In the past the water or the subject has always blown out in highlights.
Any help is appreciated.


When photographing people or other subjects within the GN limits of my strobe, I always maneuver so they’re mostly backlit, then expose for ambient and add the fill flash.

Without the flash, as on landscapes, it gets lots tougher. My first impulse is to shoot at other times of day, but when I can’t do that I watch the whites and expose not to blow them out, even if the shadows block up. I can accept black shadows a lot more readily than blown whites.

My basic technique - I use mirrorless cameras with electronic viewfinders- is to watch the histogram in the viewfinder, and get it as far to the right as possible by EV compensation, without squashing the highlights. Many cameras offer clipping warning. With modern sensors you have something like 13 EV values of usable dynamic range, so pulling up the shadows in postprocessing is easy.
I often lift the midtones in Curves and tend to apply a linear contrast curve as well. Failing the histogram in the viewfinder with DSLRs and Rangefinders, it takes a test shot and chimping to find the right exposure.


Honestly… shoot for candids, employ your skill as a photographer, look for great and story-telling compositions… Grandma will NOT care about blown highlights or harsh light, right? :roll_eyes::wink:

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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I am taking notes.
Lon, Grandma was the one pointing out the blown highlights last year LOL.