Are you tired of shooting in breathtaking locations only to end up with lacklustre images with flat skies? Washed-out skies can be a common problem when shooting outdoor portraits without flash, and it can be disappointing to be in an epic location only to find that the skies are not how you remember them.
In this video, Katelyn James walks us through an engagement shoot she did in Glencoe, Scotland. I do admit that I giggled a bit when she wonders if Scotland is always like this. Katelyn, Scotland is usually raining; you got lucky! But nevertheless, she has some excellent tips.
Understand the Impact of Light Intensity
The key to capturing epic photos lies in understanding the dynamics of light intensity. While focusing solely on the captivating sky might be tempting, the secret lies in how the light interacts with your subjects. By prioritizing proper exposure for your client’s skin, you set the foundation for a stunning shot. Remember, the intensity of light hitting your subjects greatly influences the overall quality of the image, affecting both the background and the sky.
Embrace Changing Cloud Cover
Cloud cover plays a crucial role in determining the quality of light during your shoot. Embrace the variations in cloud density and movement to create captivating effects. Let’s break down how different cloud cover scenarios impact your shots:
- Thick Cloud Cover: When thick clouds diffuse sunlight, you can achieve soft, evenly lit images. This scenario is ideal for capturing subjects’ details without harsh shadows.
- Wispy Clouds: These delicate clouds allow intermittent sunlight to pass through. This scenario strikes a balance between soft lighting and dramatic skies, providing the perfect conditions for epic portraits.
Adjust Angles and Positioning
As the sun and clouds shift rapidly, so should your subjects’ angles and positioning. Experiment with different angles and compositions during your shoot, ensuring you capture various shots in the fleeting moments of ideal lighting. Be prepared to guide your clients and adapt quickly to changing conditions, maximizing the potential for epic shots.
Use Backlighting Wisely
Backlighting can be a powerful tool for creating stunning images. You can achieve a diffused, ethereal glow by positioning your subjects with the sun behind them. This technique is particularly effective when diffused sunlight peeks through wispy clouds. Be ready to switch between front and backlighting based on the changing cloud cover and your desired effects.
Seize the Perfect Moment
Epic moments in changing light conditions are often fleeting. Seize the opportunity when you spot the perfect combination of light intensity, cloud cover, and background details. Rapidly capture various compositions, poses, and focal lengths to ensure you make the most of the moment before it disappears.
Capturing epic photos in changing light conditions requires a keen understanding of light intensity, cloud dynamics, and strategic positioning. By prioritizing proper exposure for your subjects, embracing cloud cover variations, and adapting your techniques, you can ensure that your next shoot yields truly unforgettable images.
Remember, practice and continuous learning are key to refining your skills and achieving photographic excellence. Or alternatively, you can use a strobe ;)