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Tips for Portrait Photography in Overcast Weather [video]

In this video by Julia Trotti, you’ll learn tips for portrait photography in overcast weather that can give you more even, soft light on your models.

Overcast weather can be a great time to do portrait photography because the light is soft and doesn’t create as many of the harsh shadows that bright midday sunlight creates.

If you are doing a shoot with a model and the weather is overcast, keep in mind the following tips:

1. Make the most of it by using locations you normally wouldn’t

Keep in mind, depending on the type of overcast weather it is, you may still get some shadows if it is a bright overcast day.

If you find there is not quite enough light getting to your model’s eyes, ask them to bring their chin up a little to capture the light on their eyes.

Bear in mind that the direction your model is facing also has an effect on the light and contrast to the background.

Shoot in a few directions at the start as test shots to decide which is the best angle for light.

When photographing on overcast days, you may want to find a location that has a pop of color so that your images are not flat. Green locations such as gardens and forests work well. If in a location that is not as vibrant in color, consider dressing your model in colorful clothes.

2. Be mindful of including the sky in your photos

When the sky is dark and overcast, it can add great drama. However, if it is a bright overcast day, the sky can look blown out. In this case, use varied composition and camera angles to eliminate distracting over-blown white sky (unless your purpose is to have high contrast between your model and background).

3. Keep an eye on your camera settings

When overcast, your scene may be quite a bit darker, and your camera settings need to reflect that. Also, depending on your location, you may need to tweak your camera settings too.

If you want to capture sharp hair in windy conditions, use a faster shutter speed to avoid motion blur on your models’ hair. If you want to show the effect of some slight motion, use a slower shutter speed.

You may also find the following articles helpful:

6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know

13 Tips for Improving Outdoor Portraits

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

How to Create Awesome Portrait Lighting with a Paper Bag an Elastic Band and a Chocolate Donut

How to Pose and Angle the Body for Better Portraits

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Caz Nowaczyk
Caz Nowaczyk

– the dPS Managing Editor, lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management, and Editorial Design. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer – the other stuff came as a surprise!

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