LCD displays and bright sunlight

It seems like I have taken most of my 3000 observations in bright sunlight, cloudless sunny days, having to maneuver to get the sun behind me, or create a shadow, and shoot by dead reckoning.
I just don’t see the device’s focus square or even fine details of an organism. My cameras’ LCD displays are set on max brightness.
The best way to frame and focus the shot is looking through the old-fashioned view finder of a Canon camera. But the camera doesn’t have the GPS. How do you guys handle the sun?


I do sympathize. I use the app on an iPhone X and I have the same problem, which I deal with the same ways you do.


I take almost 100% of my pictures with my Canon G3X. I find that it is easier to deal with bad lighting, get better focused shots, and you can get better pictures making it easier for others to ID.


I use a GPS receiver with my Canon. But I do have the sun problem still, especially when using my phone. So many observations have been scrapped because they were out of focus and I couldn’t tell!

When this is your best shot of a spider:


I tried some GPS-syncing tools and was unsatisfied. So I usually carry my Sony a5000 for zooms and my camera phone for wide-angle/macro. I also use the camera GPS (sometimes random shots for this purpose) to guide my memory when marking Sony locations.


I don’t have GPS so I use the satellite view on the map to work out where that was.
Sometimes I use my hand to shade the screen. Add in the wind …


Hmmm. My Canon GPS receiver is always spot-on, while my phone seems to be looking for the nearest address (and sometimes can’t even put me in the same county!).

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Using my phone, this seems to work well enough for me to reduce the glare of the sun, and positioning the sun behind the camera is better for the photos anyway. A wide brimmed hat helps, too.


I use reflectors…like this one…I use the same one as the one shown in the link most of the time. It gives considerable shade and diffuses harsh light…It also reflects light on the underside of leaves and helps to lighten up shadow areas some


that’s the solution for me. I do have several camera devices on me most of the time.

I am surprised that the gadget accessory manufacturers haven’t come up with an accessory that one would just slip on a device and neutralize the glare.

They definitely do sell matte/anti-glare screen protectors for phones and other screens (but personally I prefer the crispness of a clear/glossy/normal screen protector) .

There are two distinct problems with composing images on screens in bright sunlight. The first is glare, or a reflection of bright light off of the glossy surface of the screen. The second issue that the ambient light is far brighter than the backlight of the screen, and so with your eyes adjusted for the brightness of the ambient sunlight, the image being displayed is simply not bright enough to see. This second problem has been an issue since the invention of photography. Photography pioneers had the problem of not being able to compose a photo with the dim image projected through a lens onto the ground glass of their view cameras. Fortunately they were resourceful folks and we can take cues from their solution to the problem. Though you don’t see it much these days, surely we are all acquainted with the archetype of the old-timey photographer ducking under a black “cape” attached to his camera before making a portrait. The purpose of the black cape or hood was precisely to minimize the issues we’re talking about.

Modern versions are available for purchase, or you can replicate the concept with any old piece of fabric, or perhaps with a jacket or shirt that you have with you anyways. It can get hot under black fabric under the beating sun, so the convention nowadays is to have fabric which is white on one side and black on the other; the white facing out reflects away sunlight, while the black facing in towards your screen absorbs and minimizes any light that may reflect from below onto your screen. Sure it may look goofy but it works!

Like t7iguy, I will also use those reflectors or diffusers sometimes when making photographs under bright sunlight. However those address modifying the light on the subject, not on the screen, and would be a whole other big topic of discussion.


If I’m using the LCD screen, I shade it with the brim of my hat when I’m holding the camera with both hands. I set it to autofocus and use the center focal point since I usually can’t see the screen well enough to see if it’s in focus. But 99.9% of the time I use the viewfinder just for this issue.

Using a LCD display in the sunlight is dead annoying. When I use my Iphone in bright, noon, overhead sunlight; my screen gets glared and I do not even know what I am looking at. Six hours later, when I try to upload a picture of a bird in a tree, I end up adding the tree and realizing there is a bird there 5 days later.

I use the diffusers/reflectors to shade the LCD at times…it does help some but the concept of the photographers “cape” is much more effective at correcting the issue, for sure. I have used a shirt or a bandana to shade the LCD at times also.


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