Weather Tips for Great Photos
Clouds are awesome for photography!
Cloudy days filter the sunlight, softening contrast & shadows, allowing for richness in small details.
Clouds even out colors, which can then be adjusted in photoshop or photoshop elements.
Cloudy days are great for wildlife and walks in the woods. This weather is perfect for getting great details and lovely landscapes.
Cloudy days are especially amazing for shooting portraits! The clouds soften shadows, allowing you to use more natural light and less flash.
Yes, I still used flash to fill in eyes, adding a bit of spark, but “dialed down” the flash with flash exposure compensation. That way it looks much more natural.
Use Flash Outdoors
Honestly this is where Nikons really shine. I can almost always trust by Nikon flash set to TTL – Through The Lens – which balances with existing ambient light – to deliver without “thinking” about it.
But on soft cloudy days like this, you really don’t need much – so I tend to hit the minus (-) button to reduce the flash output to -1 EV. That means the flash is set to underexpose by 1 stop below the ambient light exposure. We call that a “kiss” of flash, just a bit to fill in shadows, but not overpower the softness of the available light.
White Balance Tips
Granted, cloudy days can appear “blue” or gray. That’s a good time to take your white balance setting OFF of auto – where I normally keep it – and change it to cloudy. Or if you shoot raw – which I tend to do for portraits so I have more control over contrast – you can adjust white balance and warm up your shots as you like.
Add A Bit Of Sunshine
One of my favorite things to do when the sun does sneak through the clouds is backlight someone. I look for a spot far away from a dark background where the sun just rims my subjects’ hair. That little extra oomph of light can really make a difference. And by using the sun as a backlight or hair light, like I would in the studio, again I can add flash to fill in someone’s face.
The other advantage to using the sun behind someone is it’s NOT in their eyes, causing them to squint. It’s also not casting wacky shadows on their face that I have to deal with. All I need to watch for is lens flare, which seems to be popular to include in images these days, although it’s not a look I enjoy except on rare occasions.