Kate Farrell Photography

Family & Dog photographer
Burlington, stowe & Northern Vt




Three Photos to Take on the Next Sunny Day

I love a sunny winter day. Here are some of my favorite sunny day photo tips.


I know, you know: photography is all about creating with light. But, don’t forget that light creates shadow. Sometimes its fun to give shadows center stage.

Two girls photographed from behind walking on a snowy trail in the woods.

My girls were super bundled up for this single-digit winter hike. You could barely see their faces and the bright sun was creating deep shadows. From behind the shadows help us feel the cold and get a peek into this moment of sisterly connection.

Photo of a toddler and her dog on a sunny day.

This is from spring a few years back and Sweet Silva Bear is no longer with us. I love the way the bright light and long shadows next to the barely green grass transport me to an early spring day.

Next time you are hanging out while your kids play outside, experiment with photos that give their shadows lots of space. And remember that photos from behind are often reflective of our role as parents: letting our children explore, knowing we are right behind them, if, and when, they need us.


Freezing action requires a really fast shutter speed. On a bright sunny day, set your shutter speed to 1/800 s or even faster and capture some action.

Boy and his dog play fetch in the snow.

Willow is 8 months old and we are all about fetch around here lately. I set my shutter speed to 1/1250 to freeze Willow and the ball in mid-air while my son played with her.

Father takes three children on a bike ride on a sunny summer day.
Man smiles after climbing a big hill on his bike.

Both of these bike photos were shot at 1/1000 s on a sunny day. I love the shadows of the bikes as well as the way the motion of spring and summer is frozen in time.

Sunny days are the time to photograph big kids (of all ages!!) on their bikes, dogs playing fetch, or a baseball in midair. These fast situations are easiest to capture when Mother Nature provides lots of natural light.

Blue Sky included

Most of the time I backlight my subjects. That means I shoot into the sun. However, when the sky is really blue, it can be fun to turn around and put the sun at your back. This will let you capture the Big Blue Sky!

Girl runs in the snow on a sunny day.

Notice how the sun is shining on my daughter’s back? It’s not my favoriting lighting, especially for portraits. But, we get that Bluebird Winter Sky. I had to get down low to take this one. As I mentioned in my post about Winter Photography, rugged winter wear is key to fun winter photos.

Girl takes in the view of a blue sky on a sunny day.

This was taken on one of those October days when Vermont was in full-on show off mode. This trick works at any time of year.

Next time there is a gorgeous blue sky, find a wide open space. Then let the kids play in the foreground and let your creative side play.

A Note about Faces

Shadows on bright sunny days can be really unflattering and distracting on faces. I rarely (as in, basically never) photograph faces in direct sun. If you want a portrait on a sunny day, find some shade first.


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Kate Farrell is a professional lifestyle family and dog photographer based in Williston, Vermont, serving Burlington, Stowe and Northern Vermont. 

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