What Is the Sunny 16 Rule in Photography? How to Use It

The Sunny 16 Rule is a helpful technique for calculating the fitting publicity with no gentle meter.

People jumping on the beach at sunset

For those who’re a newbie photographer, you’ll have heard of the Sunny 16 Rule however do not know what it means. It could appear formidable to be taught yet one more images basic, however this one’s easy.

On this article, we’ll clarify the Sunny 16 Rule, who it is for, and the way to use it in your images.

What Is the Sunny 16 Rule?

Photographer taking pictures in the bright sunshine

The Sunny 16 Rule is a technique that photographers use to find out the right publicity with no gentle meter. Because the title suggests, the rule is greatest utilized on vivid and sunny days.

The system: set your aperture to f/16. The shutter pace is the reciprocal of your ISO worth. For instance, at f/16 and an ISO of 100, your shutter pace could be 1/100. At f/16 and an ISO of 200, your shutter pace could be 1/200. And so forth.

If you do not have a shutter pace setting that traces up this fashion, you would use both publicity compensation or simply set your shutter pace to the subsequent highest worth. For instance, an ISO of 125 works nice with a shutter pace of 1/200 in case your digital camera does not have a 1/125 shutter pace.

Who Makes use of the Sunny 16 Rule?

A strip of camera film showing images

The Sunny 16 Rule was and nonetheless is supposed primarily for movie photographers who do not take pleasure in utilizing a light-weight meter. This might sound very area of interest, however previous to the digital period, the Sunny 16 Rule got here in very helpful for a lot of photographers, professionals and amateurs alike.

Find out how to Apply the Sunny 16 Rule to Totally different Aperture Values

A girl photographing a bike at sunset

The Sunny 16 Rule is versatile relying on the lighting state of affairs; the aperture setting can at all times be modified based mostly on the quantity of sunshine obtainable.


Within the following situations, set your digital camera to an ISO of 100 and a shutter pace of 1/100. Apply the identical Sunny 16 Rule method for various ISO values.

  • f/2.8 for nightfall situations.
  • f/4 for shade.
  • f/5.6 for overcast days.
  • f/8 for cloudy days.
  • f/11 for partly cloudy.
  • f/16 for sunny days (Sunny 16 Rule).
  • f/22 for sunny days with snow or different extremely reflective surfaces.

In case your digital camera does not have larger f-stops like f/16 and f/22, you will must confer with the publicity triangle to calculate the fitting settings based mostly in your closest obtainable f-stop setting.

Why Most Photographers Can Disregard the Sunny 16 Rule

Virtually all digital cameras, together with DSLRs and mirrorless programs, have built-in gentle meters that calculate publicity. The identical goes for smartphone cameras. That is why most newbie photographers can safely disregard the Sunny 16 Rule except they’re taking pictures movie.

However should you’re a movie shooter, the Sunny 16 Rule could be a useful device, particularly if you do not have a built-in gentle meter in your digital camera or have left your gentle meter at dwelling.

No Mild Meter? No Drawback

The Sunny 16 Rule is not a necessary know-how for a lot of photographers, but it surely’s a helpful technique to have in your again pocket, particularly if you do not have a light-weight meter.

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