How to Take Photos Facing the Sun

Whether it’s distracting lens flare or an unattractive lack of contrast, shooting into the centre of our solar system has never been easy – until now. This short tutorial from freelance landscape photographer Michael Breitung shows a simple trick to master this sun-shaped problem.

Landscape photographer or not, you’ve probably experienced difficulty when shooting into the sun. However, as Breitung explains in his brilliant video, this can easily be overcome with a number of separate exposures and a few minutes in post-processing.

Breitung shoots three bracketed exposures “with the sun in the frame”, at an aperture appropriate for the lens to create a captivating sunburst effect. However, the flare and lack of contrast will be noticeable in this series.

To overcome this, he then shoots a second series of bracketed images, but covers the sun with his hand. This removes the flare and dramatically improves contrast and detail in the scene.

Importing the images over into Adobe Photoshop, he perfectly blends the images and adds a few adjustments such as adding colour layers alongside dodge and burn layers, amongst others. This then sets you up with a perfect base image to begin your finer adjustments for a final image.

Breitung, showcasing his gorgeous final image, then mentions the risky business of shooting towards the sun (it is a burning hot sphere of plasma, after all!).

As he states, try to use LiveView to avoid looking directly into the sun, especially through the viewfinder – that’s a big “no no”. Breitung tries to use a wide angle lens where possible, as a telephoto pointed directly at the sun may damage your sensor and potentially your eyesight.

Feeling inspired? Be sure to read our top tips on photographing sunrises and sunsets – or if you have more of a love for the lunar, watch our helpful tutorial on How to Predict and Photograph the Perfect Moonrise!


Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.