Sunny 16 – July Assignment

The summer is a perfect time to practice using the “Sunny 16” method of exposure. Sunny 16 is a way to determine the exposure of a scene without a meter. Seem difficult? It’s really not. Neil Chaput de Saintonge’s recent articles on Sunny 16 are chock full of great information that simplifies this technique and makes it easier to understand. With plenty of sunny days in July, it’s a great time to experiment with capturing images without the use of a meter. It’s a great way to impress your friends and gain a better understanding of exposure at the same time. You’re welcome to photograph any subject matter you would like for this assignment. The challenge will be to not rely on your in-camera meter to expose the scene. Good luck!

Submitting images:

Please send all submissions to All images should be in jpeg format, 72 ppi, with the longest side of your image measuring 600px.


August 15, 2011
Submitted images will appear in an online gallery on Paper Airplanes, RMSP’s blog on August 20, 2011. All images will be used in the online gallery for this specific assignment only and will be copyrighted to the photographer. An email confirmation that your submission was received will be sent by August 18th.  If you do not receive the email confirmation, please contact

2 thoughts on “Sunny 16 – July Assignment

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Barry Grivett

I chatted-up this assignment with a long-time photographer friend & was surprised he’d never used a camera without a built-in meter & knew nothing of “Sunny 16” or handheld light meters.

Don’t get me wrong: I can appreciate Neil’s nostalgia for the days when cameras did not have built-in meters. Having a grasp of ‘Sunny 16’ & all its implications back then would have been essential for photojournalists; and, would have made ‘grab & snap’ shots way more convenient than taking a meter reading–which killed any potential for spontaneity.

There are several reasons why I’m disinclined to take the current assignment/exercise seriously; but, that was true for cellphone photography and, to a lesser extent 60-second exposure. In the end, I benefited from both. In fact, in the latter case, at my wife’s urging I submitted 2 of my 3 long exposure images at our local camera club in the Creative category competition (where I’m at the lowest achievement level, as I don’t generally do ‘creative’) and captured a 3rd & 4th place. So, thank you for providing that inspiration.

For now, & maybe for the next month, I’m setting my cameras to manual. We’ll see what happens.

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Page Orb Pedde

Congratulations Barry! I’m glad your creative images are going over well. Pretty soon you will have to stop saying you don’t “do creative.”

In regards to your comments on the Sunny 16 assignment, its not about using or not using tools in your camera like the light meter. This assignment is about better understanding light and exposure. Photography is all about light and the better you understand it the better you will become at photographing in any lighting condition. This assignment will help you learn to evaluate light without relying on the camera as much. Cameras these days are pretty smart but not as smart as the photographer 🙂

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