Overcast Skies Are Better

This tip is going to seem very basic to many pro’s. It is meant for the at home or amateur photographer looking to create better family or friend portraits. I have been on many portrait sessions and had many conversations about the best shooting conditions. People are often surprised to hear that full sunshine is not the best. They think lots of light equals a good photo but it’s far from true. What do you do if the day you have scheuduled to shoot is not overcast with dreamy puffy clouds? Here are a few ideas to help you capture better portraits outside. With a little effort and pre-planning you’ll have some great portraits for yourself or your client.

  1. Avoid shooting at noon on a sunny day. The light is coming from over head and creates harsh shadows on their face. The example below was shot at an event and even though it wasn’t taken right at noon you can still see the shadows during a bright, sunny day.


2. Get the sun behind the subject. Sometimes the client wants a certain backdrop for their photos. It’s your job to deliver that but still make them look good. When dealing with a sunny day and no clouds, position the sun behind your subject. The image below is a good example of this.


3. Find some shade! Seriously, I can not stress this enough. Give yourself options when on location. Make sure if it’s an urban setting there is some sort of covering if needed and if it’s a park setting one with large trees. Nothing makes me happier than a nice even patch of shade. Your client can rest their eyes and you get a natural look with even lighting.


The image below is an example of an overcast day. She isn’t under any tree or overhang from a building. We were fortunate to have a cloudy day (which we often do in Oregon).


I hope you have enjoyed these three basic tips for shooting better portraits. Whether you are just getting started with photography or looking to turn it into a profession remember to start with good habits. It’s easier to build on the good then to break the bad ones.

Whew I did it! My first educational post. Thank you for checking it out. More will come so be sure to follow me on Instagram as that is where you will get the teaser for the full blog post. If there is something you’d like me to talk about, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Cheers- Alexis