Crummy Weather Photography

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February and March are crummy weather months in much of the country.  Certainly in NY – it’s one crummy, cold, dreary, nasty, cold, snowy, cold, muddy mess of a day after another.  So I did a shoot yesterday to demonstrate the different ways to adjust your settings and equipment to get better shots on crummy days.  The model in these shots is my daughter Lexi.  Lets jump right in.

This is what it looked like: CRUMMY WEATHER
CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

This shot was taken when I didn’t realize that my ISO was set at 400 – lesson here is make sure that your ISO is set higher – 800+ is great.
CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

Now check out your white balance – your camera likely has a place to change your while balance even if you’re working with a Point & Shoot.  This shot was taken with the wrong white balance and you can tell by the blue cast.  So check that too.
CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

Okay this is what I get with the right white balance and a high ISO (I went 1600 in this shot but the difference between this and 800 wasn’t all that noticeable).

CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

Now turn on all the lights in the room.  The more “natural” light coming into your camera when you press the shutter the better on a crummy day.  See the glow from the light source? Not awful.  If I didn’t have an external flash I would stop here and get some good shots that I’d be happy with.

CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

At this point some of you may be saying “just use your flash”.  This is the face I get when I use the on-camera flash.  And I think you can see why.  It’s not very flattering and it’s bright right in her little eyes.

CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

That is when I turn to my friend the external flash.  See look at this baby.  MUCH happier with the external flash.  The reason why you get a good flow of light in this shot is because I have my external flash pointing UP towards the ceiling – not at an angle.  By bouncing the light source (the external flash) off the white ceiling you get a good clean light across the photo.  The only downside is you don’t get amazing catchlights on crummy days – but you can always add them.

CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

Favorite shot of the day.  We were getting ready for bath time hence the “socks only” outfit.  I had given up on getting a great shot on such a crummy day and settled on some “good shots” and then she did this foot in mouth thing and I thought “THIS IS IT”.  This is the culmination.  Custom White Balance (I took the base shot off the white sheets), ISO of 800 and External Flash bouncing off the ceiling.  Result is good exposure, creamy skin tones, and zero indication of crummy weather.  

CassJustCurious 2009-02-20

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