The Sunny 16 rule: best camera settings for a sunny day.

Learn this one simple rule that teaches you the best camera settings for amazing photographs in bright sunlight.

You might imagine a bright, sunny day is ideal for outdoor photography, but that’s not actually true. The intense light makes highlights too bright and shadows incredibly deep — unless you know the best camera settings for a sunny day. Simply follow the Sunny 16 rule.

How to adjust camera settings for a sunny day

The Sunny 16 rule is very simple and easy to remember. It consists of three basic steps:

  1. Set your aperture to f/16 — this is how the rule got its name.
  2. Set your ISO to a suitably low setting.
  3. Set your shutter speed to a setting that correlates with the ISO value.

For example, if you have set your aperture correctly to f/16 and your ISO to 200, then your shutter speed should be 1/200. If the picture is too dark, you can set your ISO to 400 and shutter speed to 1/400, and so on.

Camera settings for shade.

As its name implies, the Sunny 16 rule applies to direct sunlight. If you’re taking photos in a setting with lots of shade — such as under foliage — you’ll notice that the shadows in your picture turn out way too dark. In this case, you can keep your other settings, but increase your aperture size to f/5.6.

The Sunny 16 is a great starting point for experimentation. Take your first photos with these settings, and then tweak them if you’re not satisfied.

How to edit sunny photos.

If it turns out you didn’t use the best camera settings after all, don’t worry. You can easily edit the brightness and shadows of your photos with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Lightroom’s new Color Grading feature lets you adjust shadows, midtones, and highlights with simple color wheel controls on both desktop and mobile devices. You can also download and use Lightroom presets to make editing your photos even faster.

Embrace the sun.

Make your bright, sunny photos shine wherever you go — explore everything you can do with Lightroom today.