OVERCAST LIGHT

 

Shooting in overcast and foggy conditions can be a huge relief at times but it also ends up being a bit trickier because it can be harder to figure out which light is good and which is bad until you bring the shoot in to edit. For the way I shoot, it's important to either be shooting fully front lit or fully backlit in conditions like this to keep the skin tones even and clean. With overcast light, if you have shadows on the skin they can tend to look murky. Since the difference between front light, side light, and back light is so subtle in light like this, an easy trick is to hold your hand out in front of you and squint at it until it turns into a blurred blob. From there, just spin around and you'll be able to see how the light falls on it a bit easier. Also, you won't look like a fool at all when you do that (probably not true).

5D III + 35L One of the joys of overcast light is that it is much more forgiving in any direction than hard light would be. During Katie and David's engagement session, we were hit with classic Florida rain clouds for a portion of the shoot which gave me light soft enough to shoot from above without covering them with harsh sunlight.  I've shot like this in the shade on sunny days as well but harsh sun coming through a tree will leave a green tint on anything below it. Not the best for skin tones!

5D III + 35L

One of the joys of overcast light is that it is much more forgiving in any direction than hard light would be. During Katie and David's engagement session, we were hit with classic Florida rain clouds for a portion of the shoot which gave me light soft enough to shoot from above without covering them with harsh sunlight.  I've shot like this in the shade on sunny days as well but harsh sun coming through a tree will leave a green tint on anything below it. Not the best for skin tones!

5D III + 35L During the Manchik's shoot at Rialto Beach in Washington, we got that typical PNW overcast light which meant I had to put a bit more thought into where the actual light was coming from. If you find yourself having trouble even with the blurred-hand tip, check out an app called Sun Seeker which will tell you exactly where the sun is in the sky. You can also use it for location scouting because it will show you where the sun will be at any time of any day in the future.

5D III + 35L

During the Manchik's shoot at Rialto Beach in Washington, we got that typical PNW overcast light which meant I had to put a bit more thought into where the actual light was coming from. If you find yourself having trouble even with the blurred-hand tip, check out an app called Sun Seeker which will tell you exactly where the sun is in the sky. You can also use it for location scouting because it will show you where the sun will be at any time of any day in the future.

5D III + 35L There is no point in complaining about a snowstorm. It creates gorgeous soft light (if you know how to use it), and a mood that you just don't get every day. I was so jazzed when the sky opened up for this shoot at Garden of the Gods in Colorado but since it was so overcast, I had to use the old squint-at-your-hand trick a ton to make sure I was shooting in the best light.

5D III + 35L

There is no point in complaining about a snowstorm. It creates gorgeous soft light (if you know how to use it), and a mood that you just don't get every day. I was so jazzed when the sky opened up for this shoot at Garden of the Gods in Colorado but since it was so overcast, I had to use the old squint-at-your-hand trick a ton to make sure I was shooting in the best light.

5D III + 50L If you haven't shot in the snow before, sorry. It rocks. The snow on the trees and ground becomes a reflector bringing light back into your shadows and leaving your with a gorgeous flattering light. In these conditions, understanding the light coming from the ground and trees is just as important as understanding the light from the sky. If you have a snowy tree close to your left but just open air to your right, you will have strong reflected light coming in from one side and a shadow on the other. In this shot, I had reflected light on either side and the sun diffused through the clouds behind me.

5D III + 50L

If you haven't shot in the snow before, sorry. It rocks. The snow on the trees and ground becomes a reflector bringing light back into your shadows and leaving your with a gorgeous flattering light. In these conditions, understanding the light coming from the ground and trees is just as important as understanding the light from the sky. If you have a snowy tree close to your left but just open air to your right, you will have strong reflected light coming in from one side and a shadow on the other. In this shot, I had reflected light on either side and the sun diffused through the clouds behind me.

5D III + 50L During this shoot in Malibu I'm assuming that wearing this coat that's clearly more at home in the PNW attracted those overcast skies that typically stick around up there too. I was planning on shooting pretty heavily backlit but to avoid any dark, muddy skin tones (that typically show up in the shadows when it's overcast) I had Madison face the direction of the light and I had her tilt her head up a bit so it hit her at a more flattering angle. Shooting her in front of a darker backgroundalso helped her pop out of the frame in a scene where the light was all pretty flat.

5D III + 50L

During this shoot in Malibu I'm assuming that wearing this coat that's clearly more at home in the PNW attracted those overcast skies that typically stick around up there too. I was planning on shooting pretty heavily backlit but to avoid any dark, muddy skin tones (that typically show up in the shadows when it's overcast) I had Madison face the direction of the light and I had her tilt her head up a bit so it hit her at a more flattering angle. Shooting her in front of a darker backgroundalso helped her pop out of the frame in a scene where the light was all pretty flat.