Portraits on an Overcast Day? Use a Reflector

Photographer: Sylvain Latouche. Shot with a Sony A850 and a 105cm silver circular foldable reflector.


Photographer: Sylvain Latouche. Shot with a Sony A850, 85mm lens and a 105cm silver circular foldable reflector.


As we head into Autumn here in Australia the days are becoming shorter and we’re seeing more and more overcast days. While some might say the weather is poor – this is one of my favourite times to shoot portraits out doors. (source: dPS)
Overcast cloudy days present photographers with some beautiful soft and even light with the loads acting as a big natural diffuser.

This also means you can position your subjects almost anywhere as there’s little direct light which can open up great creative possibilities.


One of the key tools to have at your disposal on these kinds of days is a reflector (they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours – grab one of the affordable 5-in-1 sets here if you’re just starting out) to help to bounce some of that lovely soft light up into the face of your subject.
This adds more light into the scene to help with exposure but also fills in any shadows that may be cast (often under the chin, nose etc).
In general you’ll want to position your reflector below and angling the reflected light back up towards the subject to fill in what shadows their may be – but do experiment with positioning the reflector at different distances and angles from your subject to see what impact that has.
Check out some of the following examples – all shot on overcast days with nothing more than a reflector (click the photos to be taken to the photographers page).
Photographer: Sylvain Latouche. Shot with a Sony A850, 85mm lens and 105cm silver circular foldable reflector.
Photographer: Sylvain Latouche. Shot with a Sony A850, 85mm lens and 105cm silver circular foldable reflector.


wondering...
Photographer: Marcin Sowa. Shot with a Nikon D300, 85mm lens and reflector.


Photographer: Casey Lee. Shot with Canon EOS 30D, 50mm lens and a Gold Reflector.
Photographer: Casey Lee. Shot with Canon EOS 30D, 50mm lens and a Gold Reflector.


Senior Portrait 1 - Tamara (Color)
Photographer: Paul Ryan. Shot with Canon EOS 5D, 24-70mm lens and a Silver Reflector.