Before you put away the camera though, check out the view from the other side. The light may not be as bad as it may initially seem.
(More after the jump.)
You may have heard some photographers say that you should shoot with the sun behind you and that you shouldn't shoot into the sun. Well, shooting with the sun behind you results in a shot like the one at the top of this post, while shooting into the sun gets you results like those below. You can judge the merits of that advice for yourself :).
I'll concede that shooting into the sun poses some challenges, such as:
- Flare: shooting into the sun raises the possibility of flare. The solution is to use a lens hood, and avoid unnecessary filters (such as a UV filter for "protection") unless you're absolutely sure the filter won't make the lens more susceptible to flare.
- Difficulty with autofocus: if the backlight is very strong, your camera may have difficulty focusing on the subject. You can instead lock focus on another non-backlit subject that is at an equal distance, then recompose with the subject in view.
- Exposure: if you're not used to shooting a backlit subject, determining the correct exposure can be a little confusing at first. There's no need to be intimidated. In the worst case scenario, most modern cameras have exposure algorithms that are sophisticated enough to get a decent exposure in backlit conditions. The backlit shots above were taken by a Nikon D70, a 7-year old camera, which handled the exposure with aplomb in Shutter Priority mode without the need for exposure compensation or for switching to center-weighted metering.