Magic Monday: Dark Days

Never fear, I’m not talking Dark Days emotionally… (though hey, I’ve certainly had my fair share ;)

But dark days literally :)

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing some great friends of ours. The session was scheduled in advance, and since Brian and Denhi were traveling a few hours to get here and making a lovely weekend trip out of the affair, the untimely detail of HORRIBLE weather of cold, wet, rain, snow, slush, hail, and extremely dark skies–was not something we could re-schedule for.

p.s.  Brian and Denhi were my last couple I ever photographed a wedding for before “wedding retirement” :)  It ironically rained their entire wedding day.  We must just be destined to have challenging weather together :)

My mom always quotes the Lands End Catalogue saying,

“There’s no such thing as bad weather…. Only Bad Clothing!”

I think the same mantra can be attached to photography.

There’s no such thing as bad photography weather… only no solutions to make it work.

Not to be deterred, I have a fun umbrella for such occasions, knew a few local spots with overhanging awnings, but mainly we opted for an indoor location I’ve saved for just such an occasion.

As a few interesting side notes to photographers and all my students:

Time of Day:

These were all shot around 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon.  It was so grimly overcast that the light was more reminiscent of the light that comes just as the sun has set (dark, but still a remembrance of daylight hovering around before its completely dark).  I of course have exposed these images to look much lighter than it really was.

Indoor Solutions:

Winter can bring some challenges, and often times the solution to me is to simply shoot indoors.  I opt for a place with great window light and try everything possible to help that natural light reflect even more.  Thanks to my handy assistant, we did use a reflector in most of these shots so I could go 100% natural light.  Want to see the difference between the natural light and using flash to add some light?

These were some test shots I fired when figuring out my lighting.  You can totally see a difference between the image with flash, and without flash.

Flash in this set up makes the image look flat and lack dimension.  (the trick to using flash and not having this effect is to get it off your camera and fire it from another direction… which requires light stands and some extra gear I’m just not willing to lug around right now. This shot was a mounted flash fired aiming at the ceiling to bounce the light.  If I shot it strait towards them while mounted on my camera it would have looked much worse.)  Of course all these things are just subjective and totally personal preference.  I like to have slight shadows to add dimension to photos, which you get with the natural light.


Okay photo students, just to prove to you how dark it was, check out these settings and think of the photographic triangle relationship and notice how slow my shutter still is despite my ISO and fstop.  :)  Its moments like these that I’m grateful for a D700 with crazy good noise control.

f2.8   ISOs (varying between 1600-2000)  1/60

The Super cool 30 second slideshow of the session:

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Lately, she has fallen in love with natural light indoors and knows the true value of getting great indoor shots of your life and kids and also likes the possibility of staying warm while still getting smiles and delightful images.  Oh yes.  She likes this so much she has added “indoor natural light” as a new module for 2011 photo basics classes and is toying with the idea of teaching a mini class locally on the same topic.  Are you interested?

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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