It’s been such an amazing adventure launching my lighting course this winter! And I’ve seen through telling my story and my desire to teach how the way I capture beauty is led by my love of light. But truthfully, some days achieving that is more of a challenge.
My husband and I went cross country skiing this weekend on a cloudy, dreary day and we were talking about how getting IN to nature helped us escape even the way the day looked. Just by being immersed in the trees, we forgot about the dreariness and we saw a different kind of beauty.
That made me think about how I approach photography, too – on the days there is no light, we have to look for a different kind of beauty. I was thinking about you, because I know you encounter days that are challenging! And so I wanted to write this post about my best tips for photographing on cloudy days!
Remember the amazing thing about creativity is there is no one “right” way to do things – this is about how I lead my business and what helps me! And I hope it helps you!
1. Avoid Cloudy Days if you Can
I love that my #1 tip is to avoid shooting on cloudy days if possible! That shows so much how I feel about light!
When I schedule my engagement sessions, I am vehement about checking the weather the entire week beforehand. I look at those little icons on my Weather Underground app – and even have an app for rainy days called “Dark Sky” (it’s amazing and SO accurate!) If I see that there’s a chance to reschedule for a day not far from our first scheduled day, I will suggest it to my client gently and see if they take it. Because it’s SO worth it!
For weddings, however – there is no choosing. There is only the day that you have and using it to the best of your ability!
2. Warm the White Balance Settings on Your Camera
If I am shooting on a cloudy day, the first thing I do is warm the White Balance (WB) setting on the inside of my camera. Typically I shoot a little warmer than daylight balance. But on a cloudy day, I might bump that up even more to add more yellow in. The results look like this! You can’t even tell the color temperature by the clouds cast over the scene!
It works even on a rainy day!!
3. Be a Beauty Hunter Like it’s Your Job…
Because it is. Your clients are literally hiring you to find beauty for them, no matter what the day looks like. I focus especially on cloudy days looking for COLOR. In winter, that might look like evergreen trees. In spring and summer, it might look like blue lakes or flowers or greenery. The next thing I look for is TEXTURE. I look for wispy grasses and ivy vines and something else to evoke a mood! Then I look for ARCHITECTURE. Buildings, arches, places to put your couple in front of that adds to the environment around them. And lastly, I look for NATURAL LINE. I look for leading lines in nature that add to the composition and make you focus on the space around them.
4. Appeal to Emotion
On cloudy days, I’m acutely aware of my limitations in what I can create with what is available around me, and the GOOD thing is it forces me to remember what’s important to my client. It’s not capturing the beauty of the scenery, but the beauty of their LOVE.
I start focusing on posing and drawing out every bit of emotion from them that I can. Because truthfully? If I gave them a ton of images that made them FEEL how in love they were, they wouldn’t care about anything else.
On cloudy days I spend more time capturing intimacy in my poses and spending more time in one place – because there isn’t a distraction to “move on over there.” It helps me to stay, to linger, and to breathe with my clients as I capture their emotion. And that is valuable in itself.
5. Create the look of Sunlight using Artificial Light
Sometimes, when I know there’s no chance of the sun even PEEKING from behind the clouds, I bring lighting with me and try to do something creative. Or, if I know we’re going inside a dark or overcast space. This is so much fun!
6. If you see light, DROP EVERYTHING and go chase it!
If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s lighting is unpredictable, and it’s short lived. I’m always watching the clouds while I shoot to see if the magic is going to come. And if it does, literally, I take my clients from wherever we are and tell them we need to chase it. And they’re so adventurous, they do it with me! It’s amazing how when the light comes out, it doesn’t even matter WHERE you are. It’s where you are in relation to the sun that matters. And THAT is the moment that makes all the magic!
If you want to know MORE about chasing light and HOW I achieve the light in my images, feel free to check out my lighting course this spring! I would love to teach you and chase light together!