I always plan for sunny shoots. I don’t always get them. I would say about half the time it doesn’t work out the way I plan it. And that’s okay. In the back of my head I know I have to be ready for any kind of lighting and I always have a plan B for how I want to light something. Having lived in San Francisco most of my life, and now in an area that is foggier, it’s just a fact that the weather will be unpredictable.
Nonetheless, things worked as well as I could have expected, if not better.
Coyote Point in San Mateo, right around the Marina.
The wonderful @salemhaile
Before starting this shoot I really just felt disappointed about how overcast it was. San Mateo is generally pretty sunny and seeing all the haze and fog was a bit of a let down.
The only good thing about overcast lighting is that using a soft box does make the lighting a bit more softer than usual. Of course, you can also get by with less flash.
I had never been to this specific location before. My initial idea was to go along the rocks but the way across looked a little rougher than expected and it was busy enough with people fishing that I decided against it.
This was one of the few times I used a flash setup from two different directions at the same time. I think more than anything I expected it to be sunny so I expected to need more flash. The good thing is that it ended up making the light a little more even and I think it worked with the hazy ambiance.
There really wasn’t anything particularly challenging with this shoot. The biggest question was how things would work with overcast weather. If I had shot this without flash, the sky would have been bright, almost white, and it’s a look I don’t like. That’s why flash helps because I can bring down the exposure to the point where the model looks underexposed, and then you just use the flash to bring the model back into proper exposure. So then it ends up being a grey sky, which isn’t ideal for me but it’s better than white.
That’s really what flash is all about for me. I make the sky the color that I want and then use flash to make the model not be underexposed.
The other tricky thing is that little by little, it started clearing up and by the end of the shoot there was a little sun peaking out. We started getting some color from the sky, which I like. So then it’s just a matter of adjust settings and using more flash because there’s more of a need to compensate. It’s counterintuitive but the more light you have, the more flash you need for it to make enough of an impact. The less light you have, like at night, or indoor, the less flash you need because you don’t have to overpower as much light.
More than anything, I know any time I shoot with Salem I’m guaranteed to have a great shoot. So that definitely helped no matter if it was overcast, rain, or shine.
Check out the results below.