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    SusanH1970's Avatar
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    Default Outdoor portraits under cloudy skies - help!

    I'm so used to doing outdoor portraits on sunny days, late afternoon for that nice warm glow. Tomorrow I'm supposed to be doing a bunch of outdoor prom portraits, but it's going to rain all morning and then be overcast the rest of the day. I'm doing the shoot around 5:00 p.m.

    Questions:

    Should I use my reflector? If yes, gold side to add warmth, or stick with white? I'm guessing silver would be too cool?
    Fill flash?
    What ISO?
    (This may be obvious) Set my white balance to cloudy?

    Anything else that would help me out is welcome. I'll take any and all advice and practice with my own kids this afternoon, as it's crappy out today, too!

    Thanks in advance for your help!
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    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
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    Gold side reflector.
    Fill flash if necessary
    The ISO you need, but the lower the better. If youre using some fill flash you'll have a bit more latitude in this.
    WB: Some people will tell you to shoot in Cloudy or Shade or whatever, but I find my Auto does a pretty decent job, and I process in RAW anyways so I have plenty opportunity to fiddle with what the camera decided. I'll leave that one up to you.
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    private's Avatar
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    I am going to have the sme issue tomorrow. I know if its a Sunny cloudy day (does that make sense?) the clouds will diffuse the sunlight, resulting in a softer light on my subject. Which means fewer shadows and better exposure. Lighting is more even and less harsh, and I will usually get a more flattering result for portraits and candids.

    But, I am not sure if a reflector will work b/c there is nothing for it to reflect. I am hoping I am wrong... What I am nervous about is the tone of the photos if its a gray day.

    Is there somePgotoshop trick that would help change the tone? Like a goldish filter?

    Sorry to also ask questions, but I was composing my question when I saw yours...
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    I love shooting on overcast days. They are so much easier for me than sunny days! I almost always use the white side of the reflector. Even if it doesn't brighten your subject up a whole lot it does create great catchlights in the eyes so using it won't be in vain. Usually, you won't have to go over 200 ISO but like the previous poster said the lower, the better. My son broke my flash when I first got it so I don't have much experience with fill flash so can't help you much there. I never use it and get by with shooting on overcast days with just the reflector. I hope that helps. Can't wait to see your results!

    ETA: I ALWAYS shoot on automatic white balance. I shoot in RAW so adjust the WB there because my images always come out of the camera too cool and need to be warmed up.

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    SusanH1970's Avatar
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    Okay...thanks everyone for your replies - now, where should I have my reflector placed for the catchlights?
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    learn something new every day - did not know a reflector would work when its cloudy...
    Pat
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    Susan, I seem to always have my reflector somewhere different. I just posted some pictures in the share forum and this is where I had the reflector for each shot. I was just shooting my kid so holding it myself and shooting.

    1st image that I posted...the reflector was just leaning horizontal against my legs as I was shooting. It was tilted to put light on her face.
    2nd image-I was holding the reflector with my left hand in a vertical position while shooting with my right hand. You can see it in her eyes.
    3rd image-The sun actually came out and I was holding the reflector flat on the top of my head blocking the sun while shooting her, lol
    4th image, the reflector was horizontal leaning against my legs almost completely flat on the ground but not quite. I'm not sure I like the catchlights in this one but her eyes would have been completely black without the reflector.

    You gotta do what you gotta do when working alone..haha
    Of course these are all headshots. It's much more difficult to get full body shots and actually hold the reflector yourself.
    Hope that helps.

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    That makes things crystal clear, Ruthie, thanks so much! It started pouring here, but lightened up to a slight drizzle, and I was able to talk my son into going out on the deck (while I, my camera, and reflector were safe and dry under the roof overhang) for a few test shots. I'll run them through PP and post in a bit (well, if I like them, LOL!).

    Now I gotta figure out how to fold that monster of a reflector up - I haven't since I got it, since I've only used it at home....
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    Susan, it took me 6 MONTHS to learn how to fold my reflector up! LOL I would take it to a session, open it..use it, and then shove it back into my car fully opened and bring home for my husband to fold..lol
    Once I figured out how to fold it... it was easy peezy! If you have the large oval one, the trick is holding it horizontally with your hands on each side (the long way) and working from there. My arms are barely long enough to hold it this way but it works like a charm.

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    LOL thanks Ruthie...I almost had it before and then it attacked me. I have the same one as you.

    Anyway...here is a test shot of my son, Joey. I know the background is awful and busy, but I just wanted to make sure I could get the skin tones right (and some nice catchlights). He's got naturally pink tones in his skin.

    For the prom I'll be doing full-length, half, and close-ups.

    Any thoughts, anyone? Best viewed large, click on it and it'll take you to the flickr page.

    EXIF:

    Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
    Aperture: f/2.2
    Focal Length: 50 mm
    ISO Speed: 200
    Exposure Bias: +2/3 EV
    Flash: Off
    Reflector on camera left

    Joey
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