How to Keep Your Images Bright and Airy, Even on Cloudy Days!

How to Keep Your Images Bright & Airy // Abby Waller Photography

I was going back through my weddings from this year when I realized that over HALF of my weddings this year have had overcast skies( or rain! ) the entire day! –  This is something that is slightly heartbreaking for me! I love bright pops of color, warm skin tones, and bright glowy sunsets; so these overcast days can be slightly disappointing – especially because I have usually REALLY talked up sunset portraits by this point!

Overcast skies were something that I struggled with for so long when I first found my bright and airy style. I found my greens are always slightly off, my pops of color are a little more dull, and I have to fight hard to find any form of glow for sunset images! Luckily there are a few tricks that I always use now to make sure that my overcast images match up with my bright and air images perfectly!

1) Know where your light source is! I know this can be really hard when you can barely find the sun under a thick layer of clouds, but finding that source will help you greatly in knowing where to place your subjects! If you do not have a large reflector in front of your subject then make sure your subjects are facing towards your light source in order to make sure their skin tones stay even! Tip – If your subjects have dark circles under their eyes, or dark shadows on their face and chest, then they are facing away from your light source!

2) Find natural reflectors! Natural reflectors become my biggest help during these rainy days! Gravel roads, sidewalks, white buildings, sand … anything that will throw light back on my subject becomes a huge help! Tip – If you have a natural reflector in front of your subject, you can then can put your light source behind your subject to help create a slight glow!

3) Shoot in open spaces – Shooting in wide open spaces, with minimal trees, is the second thing I look for! It allows me to have as much access to my sunlight as possible and allows me to keep my background as light and airy as possible! Tip – If you are shooting in a field, place a reflector in front of your subject in order to keep the greens from bouncing up on your subject!

4) Aperture – I love shooting around 2.2 on sunny days, but on these cloudy days I shoot at 1.8 – 2.0 every time! Shooting wide open not only allows me to get more light in my images, but it helps keep unwanted shadows and dull colors out of my photos! Shooting at 1.8 -2.0 also helps keep my images sharp while keeping my ISO down! Tip- If I happen to have very little access to light, then I will shoot at 1.6. I then shoot further away from my couple to make sure they stay in complete focus, and crop in closer while editing.

5) Kelvin – Kelvin is my saving grace on these cloudy days! I typically set my kelvin slightly on the cooler side on sunny days, then add my warmer tones back in with split toning in Lightroom. ( I do this to help keep my greens in check and the way I like them right out of camera! ) I do the opposite though on cloudy days! I always crank my kelvin up until my skin tones are nice and warm and until my greens are warm and popping in the background! I then come back in and add my blues in while editing!

 

Get your images to look bright and airy with just one click! Grab my LightRoom Editing Presets HERE and get your hands on my Cloudy Day Bright Boost Preset in the pack of 12 custom presets! 

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