Shoot: Overcast without Flash


Conquering Crappy Light


Lesson Info

Shoot: Overcast without Flash

All right, so let's, take a look at what we did to try to fake an overcast day on an extremely extremely bright and sunny day. Um all right, so here is the pieces that were I'm kind of thinking about first of all, we need to defuse the light and we needed to not be bright. So what did we talk about in the last section to defuse the light and make it not be bright? Well, we need the fusion material and to make it not be bright, they need to be high up. So it was the first piece that we had appear, um, it is large and isn't about I don't know how many stops that is twelve twelve okay, so I would say yes, he says it's about one full stop of light, so it'll cut out a stop light and it's far away and it's a fuse and that's sunlight is still overhead, so if you look at eric's face, see that nice, attractive, really dark shadow in his eye we don't sleep watch on creative I've no that's also sure um, but it's also because of the direct overhead light there but it's diffused like an overcast da...

y was and that's what people have isn't like this idea in their head that overcast light is beautiful. It can be, but not really if it's the middle of the day and it's overcast it's still light from directly above its just dimmer and softer but you'll still have the bags into the eyes and the highlights in the forehead and the highlights on your nose. The next thing that we were thinking about is well behind the curtain waiter and we have a lot of phil we've got a whole lot of reflective surfaces, which we like we like reflective surfaces but they would fill in the shadows, which would not that should not happen on an overcast day um and then also on the floor here we took black fabric and covered anything else that was reflective that would be near us so this is about as close as we could get and I actually took a picture with my camera let me take a quick shot in just of aaron over the one that's on the screen no don't do it it's a great look at me and there's a little too dark I'm trying to mimic the overcast it'll be good so this probably believably if you look at this picture looks like one of those kind of rainy, overcast days really overhead really not flattering sorry your model yeah, just getting, um self I'm going to start um by photographing and showing how I would modify natural light to bring up the scene and take the drab overcast and make it look good and eric's going to do flash so I like photographing women may I have your dear health photo if you so I'll start there okay and would you be willing to be my assistant yeah right perfect you're very c I'm ok a while ago in creative lives like a year and a half ago or a year ago I did the big heels and then decided not to again it was frightening you thought I was gonna follow those bad apple box okay so I may just take a sample shot here to show that this is not necessary that I don't take one more half step forward let's take a look at this and I'm breaking up just a little bit okay so this looks like an overcast day and if you notice the lightest soft so it's flattering in that aspect but the direction is not flattering one thing to be aware of is just because it's overcast late and it's soft doesn't mean it doesn't have a direction of light that is the number one tip that I could give people for improving their overcast light photographs is realized that don't just photograph the model wherever they stand just photograph the subject wherever the stand or just have to remodel you know your portrait client because sometimes even was overcast day just turning them so laughter turning them around completely gives you a totally different quality of light. So I'm just gonna take a bunch of photos and just turn with her so you could take a look at that. Let me take this first one. Good. Alright, now face me this way. Okay? And one more face me this way. So you will notice if we flip through those if we can show a couple of those perhaps, um each angle was totally and completely different. The one that was least flattering was when we were standing next that wall, because it is so dark over here that there was no phil to fill in the shadows. It's, just anything that's overhead and nothing more. So you mean just even this an overcast day. Turn them at all angles. All right. So once I find the angle that's most flattering which to me, I would say, is the first one the one that we had here. And the reason that's true is the direction of light. Is that it's a big open sky, which, on an overcast day would just be a big, you know, basically big diffuser alright, problem is looking at that one photo which this direction is best problem is, is there's no light in her face? And she needs a little bit more sparkle to her eyes a little bit of catch late so let's try to defuse our reflectors let's try white first in silver second and just take one step over and I'm just making sure when I'm, um, wants that more for four when I'm putting her, um standing here that she is not under anything. So if the audience, if you can tell that she's not actually under the fully and I stand right next to her straight above her head is the diffuser because we're we're actually going to use a black off overhead later on so she's just standing out in the middle of an overcast day so the white phil perfect on overcast day, a lot of times does plenty, and I'm going to open up and actually over exposed a little bit more to make it look like a brighter day not such a drab day because it's it's you know you don't have to make it look as drab, is it? Maybe so let me use my exposure compensation perfect great and that I mean it's very, very flat but very pretty light. Now can you take that white and hold it one more time really close of torch in and I'm gonna have you drop it down, all right, so, uh, back up just a tiny bit and now drop it, keep going, keep going, but right there good. So the difference that I wantto wanted you to see between these two is when the reflector is closer, it's going to fillmore and eliminate more shadows um I don't I mean, I don't mind it specifically for her, but let's say that you have somebody that's maybe a little bit heavier when you fill in the shadows underneath your chin or flatten out there face that makes it look wider and it I mean, it really is less flattering than having a little bit of definition to the jaw line or a little bit of shadow underneath the job. So what I would do in that instance instead of filling everything, I would back it off a little bit, but I wouldn't remove it because if you look at the picture where it's backed off, she still has catch lights in the eyes and that's what I was going for, I was going for a little bit of sparkle to the eyes, but not so much filled it flattens it out for me. I still like the version that's flattened out because it's kind of a higher key beauty, and right now we're using white but watch what happens for you silver, silver, even on an overcast day, you're just a tiny bit in same thing even on an overcast day can still give you bottom light. And but in this picture, it just gives her really big catch life. I think it's still gives or even just a bit of bottom line, because if you look at how bright her neck and if you look at how bright her neck is it for me, even a little bit distracted, I'd like some more of the shadow underneath there. So probably the photo I like best is the white phil kind of mid length right there. Perfect. And so there's, still some shape to her face, will still see a little bit of shattering under the cheekbones, a little bit of shattering under the jaw, but it's a nice catch light in her eye. So that would be kind of my first approach. But as I don't, if anyone's ever had this problem on a really bright, uh, sorry ana. Really, really drab, overcast day like it's. When eric and I shot the book, right, like seconds after we finished, we had to run for cover because it was pouring. It was the darkest, blackest clouds overhead. So sometimes on those days, you go ahead and you grab your reflection, you put under their chin and nothing happens, I mean, there's, there's, no life poured two seconds after the last photo yeah I mean, I was trying with it I mean, it was a little bit but it wasn't as flattering as this, so another solution is to actually just try to solve the biggest problem in this picture if I can't do the phil is the block off the overhead light so I'm gonna give that a try and she definitely looks um it'll definitely quick get rid of all the light on her hair which makes her look like she's under an overhang but it instantly flattens out the lights so whatever you do do one and the do one more full it away and so if you look at the two of those just putting that reflector with a black side down over her head flattens out the light a lot more and also if you see if you hold the reflector um or in front of their face you can actually let the light still hit their hair and it's the overcast light, which is what he did right there a little bit further back and a little bit lower to her head. So what I have is all the light hitting her face now is actually coming from the sides of the open light here there's a little light on her hair but nothing from overhead one more good and to everybody that we're just a little bit more good great looks so it's beautiful why had her turn is once I blocked off the late overhead I'm looking and I'm saying ok where can I see the direction of flight before the direction of light was straight above and a little bit open sky that way but once we blocked off overhead it's not from above any more and I could actually tell it was from for example maybe a slightly light colored wall to the left of the frame over here well do you guys it's the right of the frame um and so that's why I had her turn towards that right and it's back to the same thing is even though it's drab overcast light there's still a direction I'm always looking for that so I would say that one more time looks straight at me and turn your body towards me one more time right? They're good and now turned that way good perfect great it's hard to believe that picture on the right was taken with just some black material for her head with the way the light wraps and and just I mean obviously you know this isn't overcast day but it definitely works because I'll do this a lot for beauty shots um of one other trick is well sometimes um you know how I like my my overcast days um for something like moody or dramatic but sometimes for beauty you don't want it to be sometimes you don't want it to look like it's a drab, overcast day you'd love to pick up that back scene and make it look lighter well in flasher it is going to talk about how he would make that background look lighter well, what can I d'oh have the light on her face like good and then try to bring up the rest of that scene to look like maybe it's a spring day instead of a really not nice drab uh thunderstorm day what I could dio is if I have a background behind her and I block off overhead with that board it makes everything on her face darker which means I have to open up and over exposed a little bit and when I do that because I'm letting more light and it also lets more light and in the background so I'm going to do one of those with her I wanna see I can try that right here see? Okay good took one step this way for me alright, perfect so we do one before and one after okay, so I'm gonna take one of these shots. All right, hold on. All right, let's take a look all right, so let's say that this is the overcast day of course there would not be light on leaves behind her but you'll get the idea when you bring that up all right so now let's block off overhead right there really close and I'm looking for the direction of light so when I look at her face right now if she stares straight at me you'll be able to see that once I blocked off the light overhead there's actually light on the left hand side of the face and again that could be for any number of reasons you have to look at your scene maybe it's a white wall maybe there is um a submit uh concrete floor maybe it's a white card doesn't really matter what it is so I would modify so that she turns towards that light turned you this lay her fix and look your head that way I'm just going to move you could have a black background that I don't want they're gonna pull this back a little you feel it for a second I'm trying to get fully into the background you can see this thank you okay good perfect let's try this good and do sorry one more time good now okay now I can actually move a little bit and move her towards the direction of late right there perfect and so when I look at this picture if you compare a few pictures ago the background the background looks much much darker okay and so yeah the one after that yeah that one good so much lighter the background got because I blocked off overhead I had to overexpose and lightened everything up we're looking at her face now the light's still not perfect and there's not really much of a catch light in her eyes so this is the other thing that we include it in the book as well is I did the whole sandwich light so I would hold have her hold a silver reflector blow there you go I feel a little catch late in the eye and perfect and actually when you white it's a little bit too much with this over there perfect just like that I still have a little bit I'm trying to have a little bit of the background can you hold it a little bit more nice job okay, here we go and head that way just a little bit good have a second career waiting for me perfect so you can see the light on her face is better it makes the background look a lot lighter this wouldn't be my go to but if some reason every shot that I'm taking looks absolutely miserable like an overcast day and it's supposed to be really romantic maybe I would try something like that because it's allowing me to open up the background a little bit my go to would be her standing here and white phil underneath bringing that white fill up a little bit there's only one more thing that I want to touch on before we move on is that covered shade and open shade example it's still completely applicable here so I'm gonna have you stand back here right there perfect so she is in one hundred percent one hundred percent open shade directly above her would be that overcast sky without anything above her head so I'm gonna take a shot okay go on I got turned off my exposure compensation go good okay so that's what you would normally see on the overcast day but if you have a tree um or foliage or anything if you back her up underneath that tree so we have you back up under the streets right there perfect a little bit more okay good it blocks off a little bit of the overhead light so if you do before and after you actually see it gets rid of some of that but if I have like over here actually a little bit of an overhang have you go pose up against that wall for me thank you and let's see can you show your back to the wall perfect so now I've actually put something directly over her head all right so let me take one take one picture here great and have you take one picture ah sand right come in right there I actually have setback I'm looking for that light and then come forward this way you coming all the way this way come in kick it you'll see that me just saying okay is there anything above her head? No backing her up with some foliage so it's kind of filtered or all the way back uh with an overhang above her changes the quality of light drastically and then with any of those I can add a reflector. So so be my final shot. I'm just gonna grab come scrub white. Okay, you hold that for me and I'm gonna have you back in the middle. Perfect as a underneath the tree. Good. And so before and then you add a little bit of phil a little bit away little closer, good, good. And then I just okay, because it's me, I have to throw this in before you get started. Oh, there's, no rush. There are, uh, gonna go to christmas ornament for you. Is that a slight? Ok, I'm shooting. I'm shooting at two tornado couple he knows I'm shooting at two point eight and I want to add a little deaf to my photo, so I'm going to hold some leaves against my photo against my lens. I'm going to focus on her and you can actually lower that just a little bit and we switched to silver silver on that son perfect, perfect right there, take a look at this on good e one more ah good, so I'm photographing to give myself a little bit of foliage in the foreground to add a little bit interest because I always do that and that's probably how it actually shoot this photograph. So, my dear chat host friends, that is a rundown of how I would conquer this difficult overhead grab light on a stormy day on a stormy days such as this in a there any any questions out there about that's? Pretty simple, either filling the light from below or block off overhead, you can actually block off overhead yourself, or you can find an overhang. Awesome! I believe you've. Um, you've already kind of answered this as you've been going. But just as a clarification, saraya was confused that ah, you would mention not to put the reflector underneath. Oh, that on lee is in the center, the situation of bright sun so when you see the situation bright, sunny, put it this way. Whenever you're reflectors like the main source of illumination on subjects face so that's what's going to be the only light on their face, then you want to get that reflector up because that's what shaping their face. But if there's already overhead light like you would have on an overcast day that's already controlling the shape of the face. On what you're looking for just a way to fill in the shadows in the eyes um give a little bit of sparkle so it's okay to put a reflector especially on an overcast day because on the overcast day it's not getting any direct sunlight that would bounce right back and give you monster like um so I would avoid it true I'd avoid reflector underneath the chin on a sunny day um but on a cloudy day if you're just trying to put sparkle in the eyes and it's okay okay question from chris frozen ah what would lindsay do about blowing out under or over exposing the background when shooting in the doorway? Awesome light, by the way that's from chris in england and he says no strawberries and cream today maybe you know I wouldn't have to figure that out. Okay um okay, so I I usually purposely look for I use you purposely look for a doorway where I turned off all the lights inside and make sure there isn't any crossing light because the problem is, um when I first discovered this technique I was still trying to figure it out and so I'd stand them in the doorway but let's say five feet to the right for example, they're wass okay um let's say that like five feet to the right there was another doorway or another window that would give me cross light and light half of the face and then the light from the front so I'd actually have cross light so that's one of things I'm looking for I turn off all the lights and make sure there are other windows if there are, I can't really use that doorway it's not really any good to me and I'm purposely looking for the background to go totally black because of nice contrast if maybe there was a doorway behind them though with light coming in that's actually okay, because the access hair light so I've done that let's say there's a hallway where there's multiple doors as long as there's not any light hitting them from the side I got the window light in the front open up the doorways like behind them and it gives him a halo of light on their hair so just basically paying attention your light make sure it's not unflattering if it doesn't bother you it's okay, as long as it's not distracting awesome ah, and clear of our ai asked is one of the shoot in a doorway worked for people with dark hair is there hair get lost in the dark background? Okay, yeah um so another good question. If you are photographing some with dark hair, their hair would get lost in the background so that's we have a situation where I would be like okay, if I flip on any of these lights, can I get it so it just hits their hair not their face or if you wanted to get all fancy you could have somebody with a reflector standing off behind them trying to catch some of that doorway light and pop in some reflection on their hair it doesn't need to be much like just a little bit of a sheen um or if there's anything that's just you turn on any lights behind them if it hits the hair and not their face, then you're ok um you could also if you want to you can absolutely d'oh constant light and flash and I've I've definitely done that um I just prefer the quality of natural light a lot of times but then there's a reason like oh man, I love the natural it here but the backgrounds gone, I'd love to see that grand piano so then there that would be an instance where I throw in a flash too late that grand piano or here black hair she's got beautiful hair and you wanted teo accent that then I would add a flash maybe back forty five on the black hair just so that it has a little bit of a shame and I would be t o the swisher compensation all right, I am there's a whole bunch coming and right now I'm just grabbing one from the document uh all right light wave as asking sometimes at the beach there is a thick marine layer and no direction of sunlight no shadow, no place for shade nothing to reflect with reflectors particularly with a full length how do they handle this? Um I've done that before like I've actually photographed in that situation um I my grandma used to live in laguna beach and so they called the marine layer until like I don't know one o'clock one and as son actually comes out I just thought it was cloudy there um but anyway so there's still a little bit of direction of light in other words I can kind of face them one way or another and the light would be better um but that's an instance where I would do the blocked off overhead and then treat some of the light on that sand as a fill and in those situations if you have it and I'm talking about my specific experience um if you have a cave like I would find those beach caves and when they would step underneath that cave it was exactly the doorway situation we're talking about light blocked off overhead, no lay on either side and it filled in from the front um but if not yeah I'd probably block off overhead and the reflector will still help you, but you could do that kind of sandwich thing. Try to block off overhead, and they catch a reflector into about some light back into the face. Awesome, thank you so much, that's. Cool that you have that experience of being on the beach as well. Yeah, in my second book, there's, a picture of a girl, um, she's posing on a rock on the beach, and I was taken in laguna and there's. Definitely that marine light and I did the same thing. I tried to get her under an overhang of the rock and then use a reflector.

Class Description

Photographers constantly search to capture that decisive moment. Unfortunately that moment seldom happens under ideal photographic conditions. In this class you'll learn how to quickly overcome all of the most common crappy lighting scenarios. With the aid of these simple techniques and minimal equipment, you'll be empowered to walk into any setting and emerge with beautiful imagery.


Julie Addison

I thought I understood about light before I took this course. How wrong could I be? I have re-watched this course over and over and I just love it. Quality of light, direction of light - so many crappy light situations. Learning how to actually set a white balance instead of purely relying on the camera presets and learning colour correction by the color checker was also invaluable to me. This course is so affordable. I would recommend it to anyone from beginner to advanced as you will get more out of it than you think. I love the way Lindsay and Erik work together. No right or wrong way - just showing the differences in their styles to accomplish the same end result. Well done guys. Now to have more courses by Erik would be great. Again, can't' thank creative live enough and Erik and Lindsay for this course. Love, Love, Love It!!!!