The Truth About Clouds
It’s been a rainy wedding season so far, so it makes sense that I heard a popular phrase again recently.
“ Cloudy days are better for pictures”
Sometimes it’s a bridesmaid, sometimes a wedding planner or stylist during prep. I’ve nodded or agreed in the past, but it’s not really true.
The truth is, cloudy or sunny days should make no difference in your pictures if you’ve hired a pro. How we take them will be different, and you might have different backgrounds, but it’s just an ingredient we use, mixed with artificial light (flashes, professional strobe, etc) to create the images. If you hire someone that doesn’t understand the subtleties and fundamentals of lighting, and rely strictly on available light, then yes, cloudy days may help them out a lot.
You’ve probably scratched your head wondering why we aren’t taking pictures in full sun on a beautiful day. People look better in even, soft light. Because we’re three dimensional, strong light can cast unpleasant shadows on your face, depending on where the light comes from. It’s why a pro seeks what is known as “open shade” on a sunny day. Strong sunlight also makes you squint, and can make you shiny and sweaty- not a pleasing attribute in pictures.
For photographers, cloudy does make our lives a bit easier. You can shoot into many more backgrounds because there is no harsh sunlight- you’re light comes from everywhere. There are no squinty eyes, or shiny foreheads. Without bright sun, we need less flash to overcome shadows.
So, cloudy is easier, but not better. Most folks like sunny days. Face it - we smile more, we love those blue skies, they look great in pictures. While we have to contend with more complex shooting, controlling strong light allows use to define our subjects and shape them, so our one dimensional images have perceived depth.
Most of all, brides love sunny days. Some, like my bride a few weeks back, are completely at ease with whatever mother nature sends us. That’s the best approach. Weather rarely spoils an event but a bad mindset translates to expression. We understand that uncertain weather or a rainy day can make people frustrated or upset. That’s why we want every wedding day to be a sunny one!
So sunny is better right?
Nope. It’s just different. Blonde bride or brunette, bald groom or full head of hair, tall or short. Cloudy day or sunny day. We work for lots of different couples in different circumstances every week. Each situation presents it’s own challenges and rewards. Attitude, expression, and emotion mean more and carry the day. After all, these are pictures of you, and who you are, regardless of background and circumstance.
Make your own weather.
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