One of the challenges about being a natural light photographer without a studio has been learning how to manage all types of lighting. We live in Wisconsin where you just never know what the weather will be like. It’s sunny, cloudy, hot and cold all in the same day sometimes! If you’ve been following my blog and page, you’ll see that I try to have a consistently “bright and airy” editing style. Because of this, I frequently get questions from clients about the weather: “Should we cancel if it’s cloudy?” “Will the photos still look bright?” These are totally understandable concerns! However, it’s actually quite the opposite! Cloudy weather can be GREAT for photos in the sense that the light is nice and even. And, there are several techniques that we can use in order to make sure that the photos still have that “bright” look to them!
1. Natural Reflectors:
Natural reflectors are found in the environment: light pavement, white walls, gravel, water and other things that will bounce any available light back at a person’s face during the session. Natural reflectors are AMAZING for getting a bright look to photos, and something I look out for at every session! Here are a few examples of use of natural reflectors…many of these were on cloudy days!
White walls (my favorite!!):
Light paths (cloudy session!!!)
White Sidewalks (cloudy session…it was even raining a bit!)
*This is also why I tend to choose locations with some white/brown in the background, and why I recommend that my clients wear light colors! Your magenta shirt may act as a reflector off your spouse’s face 😉
2. Actual Reflectors:
One of my favorite purchases lately has been my reflector set! As mentioned before, I love to take photos when it’s a bit cloudy outside, but it does tend to cast shadows under a person’s eyes. Reflectors can be used to bounce light back and fill in the shadows. Here are a few (untouched and unedited) photos of my husband to demonstrate how a reflector can bring brightness to the face and photo. All photos are taken within seconds, at the same settings with only the reflectors being switched out. Pay close attention to the eyes especially!
Silver reflector (adds a cool light):
Gold reflector (Adds a warm light):
3. Camera settings
Without getting into all the details of a camera and the way it works, there are several camera settings that can be adjusted to make the camera more sensitive to light / to bring in the available light around the camera in order to get that bright and airy look!
I hope this helps to ease your fears about cloudy day sessions! I actually really love them!