It's funny to me when I hear people boast how wonderful the day is when "there is not a cloud in the sky". It SOUNDS wonderful, but to a photographer, it's not good at all (in most cases)
The clouds are our friend! In people photography, at least during daylight hours, clouds are great for softening the sunlight. When a cloud, or an entire cloudy sky cast a giant shadow across the land, this is perfect for photographing people. The light is evenly dispersed all around, and there are no shadows. And you know those wonderful raccoon eyes that can happen in the sunlight? Yeah, none of that. And I'm sure you know how people squint in the sunlight while you shoot their photos? Well, none of that either in the cloudy shade. But we cannot know far ahead of time what we will get, as far as clouds, or no clouds on a planned photo session. So, planning professional photo shoots can be tricky. But we photographers have a solution.
There is that sunset part of the evening, and we usually schedule our sessions for the latter part of the day. "Golden hour" as we call it, is the best. You know that last hour of sunshine, where the sun is very low in the sky? That's the good stuff there. Clouds or no clouds, it can be great for photos when the sun is low. We can use that bright sunshine to shoot through the background, through the subjects hair, for that romantic, beautiful sunburst look. (see the featured photo on top of this blog) We love sun when it's very low in the sky. But when it's directly overhead, it can be the enemy of people photography.
Here's another reason this particular photographer does not like to hear the phrase "there's not a cloud in the sky". I burn easily! So, when Dawn and I are at the beach, or when we have the top off in my Jeep, I use sunblock. At the beach in particular, I'm always under the umbrella, while she's in the sun. Oh, but I do always get my share of vitamin D in the sunlight. Just enough to get by.
So in short, I'll take those clouds if you don't want them!
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This is the latest from Shane Irwin, Nashville photographer for over 15 years.