How to shoot into the light - photography tips by Ant Clausen

​​​​​​​Last week we were incredibly excited to announce the window from The People's Republic gallery had won's UK's Best Window with a View. While the view is outstanding we also have to thank Ant Clausen for his dramatic photograph which caught the attention of so many voters. In this guest blog Ant gives us three top tips for shooting into the light or 'contre-jour': - photography tips by Ant Clausen

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1. Compose your shots

Regardless of what you're shooting, composition is key. A good basic rule is the 'rule of thirds'. Don't position your subject in the centre of the frame, look for other creative angles to keep the scene looking interesting. For the 'Window with a View' photo I used the window frame to frame the shot and then exposed for the outside light. Also I love shooting in the warm evening light where the sun is low and casts long shadows. This can give your images a lovely sense of depth and atmosphere.

Large window
View from The People's Republic in Museum of Liverpool. Image © Ant Clausen

2. Get the right exposure

If shooting into the light make sure you expose your camera correctly. This is done by tweaking the aperture and shutter speed to a combination you're happy with. Put your camera in manual mode and look at the 'live view' on the screen to see what results you're getting. When the light source is strong (ie. shooting into the sun) then try and block the sun with your subject. This will help to reduce lens flare (crazy looking light colours scattered across the image) and will add a nice silhouette effect. Increasing the f-number or 'stopping down' will also help to reduce lens flare and give a nice depth of field. You may also need a tripod to keep things nice and steady.

Boat at sunset
The boat blocks the sun, reducing lens flare © Ant Clausen

If this all sounds a bit complicated an iPhone works too! Simply compose your image and tap on the screen where you want the camera to expose.  For the palm tree photo above I simply tapped on the sky and the rest of the scene darkened down to give a lovely silhouette.Trees in sunset
Palm Trees, Rangitoto © Ant Clausen

Family on beach at sunset
Croatia © Ant Clausen

This shot (of my daughter Scarlett with her mum and nanny) was shot in Croatia, placing them in front of a setting sun with the iPhone on the ground to give a more interesting feel to the scene.

3. Get yourself a good lens

If you're getting into your photography and want to elevate it to another level then purchase a good quality lens. I like wide angle lenses where you can fit lots of details into the frame. Shooting from a low angle it almost feels like you could walk into the photo if shot correctly. A good quality lens will give you a sharper image, better colour rendition, less lens flare and overall better photos!