Basics of Sunny 16 Rule: 6 Advantages | Principles | Tutorial
When we think of photography, we often think of beautiful, sunny days spent outdoors taking pictures of our surroundings. But what happens when we want to take pictures on a cloudy day or in low light?
We can't always rely on the weather to cooperate, so how do we get the best exposure for our pictures? This is where the Sunny 16 rule comes in. This article will explain the basics of the Sunny 16 Rule, including its advantages, principles, and tutorial.
What is the Sunny 16 Rule?
Sunny 16 Rule is a photography rule that states that on a sunny day when the sun is at a certain height, you can set your camera to f/16 and use a shutter speed equal to your ISO for a well-exposed image.
For example, if you're using ISO 100 on a sunny day, you would set your aperture to f/16 and your shutter speed to 1/100.
Photo by 光曦 刘 on Unsplash
The Sunny 16 rule is a great starting point for those new to photography, as it takes the guesswork out of getting a well-exposed image. However, it's important to remember that the rule is only a guideline, and there are times when you'll need to adjust your settings to get the results you want.
What about Non-Sunny Days?
1. Partial Cloudy
It's not always bright outside. Some days are quite dark, and the sunny f/16 rule does not apply in those cases. If it is a partially cloudy day, you want to set your aperture to f/11, shutter speed to 1/200, and ISO 200. This is because the clouds will act as a natural diffuser, softening the light and making it less bright than on a sunny day.
2. Cloudy Day
If it is a cloudy day, you want to set your aperture to f/8, shutter speed to 1/400, and ISO 400. This is because the clouds will block out most of the light, making it necessary to use a small aperture and faster shutter speed.
During sunsets, your aperture to f/4, shutter speed to 1/1600, and ISO to 1600. This is because very little light is available, and you need to use a large aperture and faster shutter speed.
Photo by Thomas Fryatt on Unsplash
If it is an overcast day, you want to set your aperture to f/5.6, shutter speed to 1/800, and ISO 800. This is because the clouds will diffuse the light, making it necessary to use a large aperture and fast shutter speed.
Why Should You Use Sunny 16 Rule?
Some of the advantages of using the Sunny 16 Rule include
1. It is Quick and Easy to Use
The Sunny 16 Rule is a quick and easy way to determine your exposure without a light meter. All you need is a sunny day and a few minutes to spare.
2. It Does a Better Job Than Your Camera
Your camera's light meter does a good job of calculating exposure, but it's not perfect. The Sunny 16 Rule is a good way to double-check your camera's readings and ensure your photos are properly exposed.
3. A Good Way of Checking Your Creativity
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
The Sunny 16 Rule is also a good way to check your creativity. If you're always using the same aperture and shutter speed, you're not pushing yourself to try new things. Using the rule allows you to experiment with different settings and see what works best for each situation.
4. A Reliable Way to Check Camera Exposure
The Sunny 16 Rule is a reliable way to check your camera's exposure, even if you're not a professional photographer. If you're ever in doubt about your camera's readings, the rule is a good way to ensure your photos are properly exposed.
5. You'll Learn to Set the Settings Manually
One of the best things about the Sunny 16 Rule is that it will teach you how to manually set the aperture and shutter speed. This is a valuable skill, especially if you want to venture into manual mode.
6. Helps in Checking Incident Light Metering
Photo by Antoine Barrès on Unsplash
The Sunny 16 Rule is also helpful in checking incident light metering. This light meter measures the amount of light that falls on a subject rather than the light that reflects off a subject. By using sunny 16, you can get a good idea of how much light is hitting your subject.
How Does the Sunny 16 Rule Work?
The Sunny 16 rule relies on the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO relationship. They are referred to collectively as the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle is a visual representation of the three factors that determine the exposure of a photograph: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The three sides of the triangle represent these three values, with the side lengths representing the amount of each that is required to produce a given exposure.
The exposure triangle is a way of visualizing how changing these three values will affect the exposure of a photograph. If you change one of these variables, the others must also change in order to maintain the same level of exposure. Exposure triangle is a helpful tool for understanding how these three factors work together to determine the exposure of a photograph.
How to Use Sunny 16 in Real Condition?
When you are outdoors, and there is no cloud cover, the camera's meter will be fooled by the bright light and underexpose the image. Sunny 16 is a rule of thumb to help you get the correct exposure in these conditions.
Photo by Anders Jildén on Unsplash
According to Sunny 16, your exposure should be 1/200 at f/16 on a sunny day when you're using an ISO of 200. To match the settings on your camera, you'll set that 1/250 . You can alter the settings based on that knowledge to realize your artistic objectives.
To isolate your subject from a background and create a shallow depth of field, you could:
- Reduce ISO from 200 to 100 - By lowering, you have completely stopped the amount of light entering the camera. This means that you must change the aperture or shutter speed to add one full stop of light back into the image while maintaining the same exposure.
- Increase the aperture from f/16 to f/11; however, you still want to reduce the depth of field further, so increase the aperture from f/11 to f/2.8; the image gains four additional full stops of light, making it overexposed. Change the shutter speed to reduce the overall exposure.
- Change the shutter speed from 1/250 to 1/4000 - bringing the exposure back to the equivalent of 1/250 at f/16.
Photo by Presetbase Lightroom Presets on unsplash
In this case, a shutter speed of 1/4000 with an aperture of f/2.8 and an ISO of 100 produces an exposure identical to a shutter speed of 1/250 with an aperture of f/16 and an ISO of 200. The Sunny 16 Rule has still been applied to the scene, but it has been modified to better suit your artistic goals.
You can choose a beginning relying on the lighting conditions and your artistic desire and be very close to a perfect exposure every time by using the Sunny 16 Rule in connection with your understanding of the Exposure Triangle.
The Sunny 16 Rule is a helpful tool for photographers of all levels. It is quick and easy to use and can help you take better photos. It is also a good way to check your camera's exposure and can help you learn to set the aperture and shutter speed manually. Using the rule allows you to experiment with different settings and see what works best for each situation.
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