Here is an elaboration on the “Sunny 16 Rule”, explained as plus or minus f/stops from the ISO film speed at f/16.
A Basic Daylight Exposure Guide for When You Don’t Have a Light Meter by herbert-4
Computing exposure is easy; when in bright sunlight the f/stop is f/16 and the shutter speed is equal to the film’s ISO speed: ISO 100= 1/100 second at f/16. This is Basic Daylight Exposure (BDE), also called “Sunny 16 Rule”.
Here are suggested exposures from an old yellowed mimeographed handout from a photography class from 40+ years ago. The exposures are listed as plus or minus BDE, and if your f/stops won’t go the distance, change
the shutter speed.
So here goes:
- Sunlight with normal subject in the sun = BDE.
- Sunlight with dramatic or silhouette effect, shooting toward the sun = BDE minus 2 f/stops.
- Sunlight over snow or white sand = BDE minus 1 f/stop.
- Sunlight with backlit subject, exposing for shadows = BDE plus 2 f/stops.
- Overcast with hazy light and soft shadows = BDE plus 1 f/stop.
- Overcast with cloudy bright light, no shadows = BDE plus 2 f/stops.
- Heavy overcast or open shade = BDE plus 3 f/stops.
- When photographing the moon for a lunar shot = BDE for full moon, plus 1/3 f/stop for 2/3 moon, plus 1/2 f/stop for 1/2 moon, plus 2/3 f/stop for 1/3 moon, plus 1 f/stop for 1/4 moon.
- Night skylines at a distance = BDE plus 13 f/stops.
- Neon or lighted signage at night = BDE plus 5 f/stops.
- Stage shows with bright lights = BDE plus 5 f/stops.
- Stage shows with average lights = BDE plus 7 f/stops.
- Ice shows with flood lights = BDE plus 6 f/stops.
- Circuses with flood lights = BDE plus 7 f/stops.
- Bright city lights at night (i.e. Las Vegas) = BDE plus 6 f/stops.
- Fireworks on the ground = BDE plus 6 f/stops.
- Buildings, fountains, monuments with flood lights = BDE plus 11 f/stops.
- Christmas lights at night (indoor or outdoor) = BDE plus 11 f/stops.
- At church with incandescent (wolfram) lights = BDE plus 9 f/stops.
- School auditorium stage shows = BDE plus 9 f/stops.
- Store window lights at night = BDE plus 6 f/stops.
- Candle light portraits or close-ups = BDE plus 10 1/2 f/stops.
- Bright lit house interiors at night = BDE plus 9 1/2 f/stops.
- Average lit house interiors at night = BDE plus 11 f/stops.
- Indoor swimming pools at night with incandescent (wolfram) lights = BDE plus 8 f/stops.
- Brightly lit fairs and amusement parks at night = BDE plus 7 f/stops.
- Brightly lit sporting events and concerts, indoors = BDE plus7 f/stops.
- Brightly lit nlght sporting events and concerts, outdoors =BDE plus 6 f/stops.
Always have lots of films and bracket your exposures a bit, plus and minus. Have this memorised for tomorrow. There will be a quiz. :)