Alan M. Thornton
Project

Overcast Light Quality

What is exciting or interesting to you about your photo(s)? These are examples of Katalina in 'overcast' and flat diffused light from a cloudy day. This light happens to work really well on her in general, because it enhances and compliments her paler, softer skin. It causes it to look even smoother and milkier, and hides any small wrinkles or blemishes because there are no harsh shadows or angular direction. The downside, is that is doesn't quite show the facial form and structure that she does have, so we experimented with using 'subtractive light' to help bring back some of those structures, and create a slight sense of light direction. What are you most proud of? Overcast days are surprisingly great times to do portraits with the right lens, like an 85mm or longer, and shallow depth of field, and a darker backdrop. If you have some black material or some way to 'cut' some of that broad diffused light from one side of your subject, then you can fake the essence that there is some sort of direction to it all. What advice would you give someone starting this project? Overcast days are surprisingly great times to do portraits with the right lens, like an 85mm or longer, and shallow depth of field, and a darker backdrop. If you have some black material or some way to 'cut' some of that broad diffused light from one side of your subject, then you can fake the essence that there is some sort of direction to it all. Be sure to have a black pop-up reflector, and wave it around one side or the other of your subject, and see how it can shade and create shape till it looks pleasing. If one can't be found, then try a doorway, archway, or along the side of a building!

You Can Make This

Alan M. Thornton made Overcast Light Quality with:

Natural-Light Portraits

Online Class

Natural-Light Portraits

with Alan Thornton

  • We used the door way for the second image to subtract light from around the side of her face and head
  • and as a result you can now see more of her cheek bones
  • and facial structure. Notice she looks thinner than in the first image? In the third image we used a black reflector card to absorb light on her left side only

Project Description

What is exciting or interesting to you about your photo(s)? These are examples of Katalina in 'overcast' and flat diffused light from a cloudy day. This light happens to work really well on her in general, because it enhances and compliments her paler, softer skin. It causes it to look even smoother and milkier, and hides any small wrinkles or blemishes because there are no harsh shadows or angular direction. The downside, is that is doesn't quite show the facial form and structure that she does have, so we experimented with using 'subtractive light' to help bring back some of those structures, and create a slight sense of light direction. What are you most proud of? Overcast days are surprisingly great times to do portraits with the right lens, like an 85mm or longer, and shallow depth of field, and a darker backdrop. If you have some black material or some way to 'cut' some of that broad diffused light from one side of your subject, then you can fake the essence that there is some sort of direction to it all. What advice would you give someone starting this project? Overcast days are surprisingly great times to do portraits with the right lens, like an 85mm or longer, and shallow depth of field, and a darker backdrop. If you have some black material or some way to 'cut' some of that broad diffused light from one side of your subject, then you can fake the essence that there is some sort of direction to it all. Be sure to have a black pop-up reflector, and wave it around one side or the other of your subject, and see how it can shade and create shape till it looks pleasing. If one can't be found, then try a doorway, archway, or along the side of a building!

Q&A with Alan M. Thornton

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