When scheduling your photo session you want to keep in mind what will help your photographer create the best images possible for you and your family. And who better to trust in then your photographer! Your personal photographer will give their professional opinion and guide you when booking the perfect time to book your session and its your job to Trust they know what they are talking about. I have had clients that were upset the day of their session because they looked out the window and saw that it was cloudy outside, for me I’m excited for a little cloud cover and I’ll tell you why. Clouds create a natural huge Diffuser, if you think of the sun being a large flash or light source, having a cloud in between you and the sun makes the quality of light softer and more even. When you are in direct sun it can create harsh shadows across your face, make you squint, and over all make it difficult for your photographer to create quality images. But there are ways that you can combat shooting in harsh sun.
Find Open Shade– Open shade is a fully shaded place that is flooded with light but not direct light. This can be in the shadow of a building in the middle of the day. The shade from the building cuts back that harsh sun but still allows the natural light to be present. If you use a tree to create open shade you will need to keep in mind those breaks in the leaves that could create speckled light that may be difficult to control. If used correctly a tree can create beautiful shade and when used as a background as well can create yummy bokeh!
Faux Shade– This can be a little more difficult as a photographer that typically shoots sessions solo, faux shade is a shaded area that you create yourself. This can be achieved by holding up a transparent reflector, or a cloth shim, cardboard, or even just standing in the way of the sun blocking the sun from your subject with your body. You can have an assistant help you with this or I’ve been known to employ mom or dads help during a session.
Back lighting- If you are in a location where you can not shield your subject from direct sun light, you can simply turn them away from the sun so the sun is at their back which is called back lighting. This creates an interesting effect where the the light rims your subject but you still need to consider getting enough light to bounce back onto your subject. You can achieve this with a simple reflector, flash fill, or changing some settings on your camera. This will give you lovely even light across their face without harsh shadows. This sometimes can be hard to achieve with children- controlling where they sit/stand and positioning yourself in the optimal spot is the only way to create this type of lighting.
Reflectors– I often use a reflector to bounce a bit of light back onto my subject and also create a catch light in their eyes. You can find a way to hold it yourself, prop it up, or have an assistant hold it for you. I have a small round travel reflector that I will use when I have other props to carry and a larger adult size square reflector that has a leaning leg that I can prop up for maximum light reflection. This large reflector can be a little tricky sometimes with wind- its so large sometimes I call it my “Kite Reflector” and have had to chase it across a field before.
So when it comes to Cloud cover the day of your Photo session, as your photographer I get Excited. Having that natural sun diffuser (clouds) gives you way more options for your session. You are not constrained to a specific spot or have to whip out the tricks to achieve the perfect images. You will have the freedom to pose in any direction which gives you tons of options for background scenes, without having to worry about harsh shadows across your subjects face.