From time to time, folks will arrive at our studio disappointed that the sun isn’t shining for their outdoor photos. Meanwhile, I’m breathing a sigh of relief because the intense light of sunshine is difficult to work with as it blows out the highlights and creates very intense shadows.
The grey skies we commonly have in Oregon are really ideal for shooting photos. If you are taking your kids outside for some summer pictures choose a day that is overcast. Switch your camera flash off and shoot with the natural light and you will be so pleased with the results.
If you really need to take a photo on a bright day, place your subjects under the shadow of a tree. Compose and crop your image so that bright sunlight is eliminated. This will help your camera’s brain make a better exposure for skin tones.
At the studio we always set our camera on manual and read the light meter for how the light is reflecting off the person’s skin. We get the very best exposures for the subject, regardless of what is happening around them. Hand held meters work best for this.
In our garden space at the studio, we are fortunate to be able to photograph throughout the summertime by building ceiling canopies of billowy, white nylon. This blocks the harsh rays and makes it more comfortable for everyone, including the photographer!
So, get out and enjoy the rare summer sunshine in Portland, but just remember to think twice before snapping a photo in direct sunlight!