Generally when filming social media videos for your business, my advice for lighting would be to film outdoors, or next to a big window.

The reason for this is simple: most cameras are optimised for daylight, and this will give you the most natural looking skin tones.

But there’s one exception to that: sunny days. It’s not ideal for filming in.

The midday sun in the summer can be very harsh, and probably won’t make what you’re trying to film look good.

This is what I’m talking about:

I took this photo at about 2pm during a July heatwave, and you can really tell. The camera is really fighting to stop the highlights from being overexposed, which means that the mid-tones are far too bright. There’s a lot of contrast in the photos, and it’s kind of just not nice to look at.

But over the years, I’ve come up with three great ways to counteract this happening.


Film in the shade

Sounds obvious right? But the shade softens the sun’s glare, and leaves you with a much better image.

This photo was taken on the same shoot as the last one – you can tell by the brightness in the tree leaves.

But crucially, the mid-tones have much more detail in them, allowing you to see the product more clearly.


Film in the evening

If you’ve got some choice about what time of day you film, I’d definitely recommend filming in the evening if you can.

Professional filmmakers use this tip all the time. It’s even got it’s own name: the Golden Hour.

This is the hour right before sunset where the sunlight is at it’s softest, and I can only assume it’s called the Golden Hour because everything the light touches turns to gold, it’s stunning.

This lighting is very complimentary for faces.

When I filmed a promotional video for Hotel Rudyard near Leek, I purposely filmed at this time of day – because I knew the reflection of the sunlight from the lake would look gorgeous.


ND Filters

This is your backup plan for when you can’t film in the shade, and need to film around midday.

Think of ND filters as sunglasses for your camera – and you can even get ones that clip onto your phone lens if you’re filming on your smartphone.

These reduce the amount of light hitting your lens, meaning the footage doesn’t look too bright.

The camera I use has built in ND filters, and I used them on this podcast promotion film in the Quarry in Shrewsbury.

The hardest part of an image to expose on a sunny day is the sky – so if you can see details like clouds, and the blue of the sky, you know you’ve got it right.

ND filters enable you to film a very detailed image, even on the sunniest of days.


If you’re regularly out exploring and making videos in the great outdoors, then check out this video I made: it features three great phone filming upgrades to help you capture incredible content while out and about.