There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shooting Southwold Pier at noon, with a high sun and harsh shadows if that’s the look you want and it works well.
All you ever see in photography publications is ‘If you’d taken it just a couple of hours later then you would have caught the evening light and it would have looked much better.’
So are they saying it’s a rubbish photo or are they just telling us what THEY would prefer? There is a difference.
You may think that my dislike of these comments is the result of criticism received from a magazine. I’ve never submitted a photo to a magazine simply because photography is very personal to me and don’t feel a need to share it.
The only explanation I can think of for oft-undue criticism is that taking a picture in the middle of the day is easy – thousands of tourists will do it day in, day out – but shooting outside the ‘norm’ somehow elitiscises those that say dawn/dusk is best.
I recently took a series of shots on and around Brighton beach during the day in glorious weather. The sun was high in the sky and shadows were fairly harsh. That didn’t stop me. I opened the aperture up to f/2.8, 2.2 and even 1.6 and got some unusual beach scenes. You might think I’m crazy shooting at ISO 100, f/1.6, 1/8000s but it made for great photos that you couldn’t get
without using such a wide aperture.
If I submitted these to a magazine I suspect I’d get criticism for shooting the wrong subject at the wrong time of day and with the wrong aperture.
Maybe it’d be worth doing anyway…