Spring in the midwest is a tad unpredictable but when you see that rainy or overcast sky, grab your camera and capture some fun images like these five...
I have clients who show up for photo sessions worried they won't get the images they wanted because the sky is full of clouds. I assure them they will and explain why I love boatloads of big white or grey fluffies. The sun is being diffused by all that humidity and so offers a wonderful softer glow of even lighting and great catchlights in open air outdoors during the daytime hours, which is very difficult in open sunlight due to the harsh shadows the sun causes. These girls are beautiful and this image was taken in harsh sunlight on purpose but the shadows on their faces was part of these images with intention.
There's nothing wrong with that light or those shadows unless they are not part of the vision you are trying to achieve in your portrait.
1. Open space portrait. Have your subject sit or stand below you, and prompt them to look up at you; asking your subject to look up works in a lot of different lighting situations. The light coming through the clouds will offer a great opportunity for catchlights in the eyes and even lighting on your subject's face. I did have to bump my ISO up between 300 and 500 since the light is being diffused through the clouds.
2. Splash in that rain! This warm rainy day had Joy and I begging to play in it. I am hoping that her ballet teacher doesn't see that I let her wear her ballet slippers on our driveway but I couldn't resist! I love the texture the raindrops offer on the ground - the ripples are so beautiful. Also, Joy's reflection is visible; I didn't play with her reflection as much as I could have but rainy days are great for focusing on that mirror image in the water. Styling tip: You can add a pop of color in a rainy day image since everything else will be muted by the diffused light; I went with a soft pop of ballet pink.
3. Low light portraits. You don't have to be right next to the window if you can bounce light off of a light colored surface onto your subject. For this image, Thea was a couple feet away from the window so she had the soft, diffused light from the cloudy sky to her left but she also had the soft outdoor light bouncing up onto her face from the white and grey tabletop below her.
4. Window portrait and reflections. Cloudy days are such a great time to go for the window images. My dining room, where Joy is laying, is very dark - floors, cabinets and walls. I was able to place her directly next to the window and position myself at about 45 degrees from the window to catch her reflection. Since this is a north facing window, I could probably shoot in this spot with harsh sunlight and not have a problem but I wouldn't get the reflection. I started paying more attention to what spots in my house work better with certain kinds of light because of this blog post from Clickin' Moms.
5. Black and white. Black and white conversions have a special place in my photographer heart. I like to play up the texture and gradient in these images. Plus, they are simply more dramatic and have their own beauty about them. Floor reflections are great on rainy days and when converted to a black and white image, can help tell a story that might not be the same story in a color image.
If I have a color shot that isn't working for me, I will often convert it to a black and white image. The conversion has a classic and timeless effect that color images often do not offer. I also love how the focus in this image (that I was about to scrap because I didn't like the composition) falls to her hair and how the humidity on this rainy day added curls. It's something I want to remember so I kept the converted image.
6. And a bonus image...don't be afraid to get muddy and wet. I may not like the purple shovel or the commercial feel to Kai's shirt and hat but this moment in time is special to me and my boys, and it is documented. We had so much fun making this image. What rainy day tips can you share?