Just the other week I was shooting an Engagement Session in Half Moon Bay. It is a beautiful place but as many locals can attest to, the weather can change quickly and also the fog tends to come in on most evenings. Well we did have one of those days and even though when we started there was some sun that soon disappeared. I always find it interesting that so many people think that it is better for photography when it is overcast and gloomy. True it takes away some of the problems that come from harsh shadows but it by far does not make for beautiful photos. One still needs to take into account where the light is coming from and how it affects your subject. But then the reason I really don’t like it is because it often makes shots look so flat and gloomy. So that was the problem I faced. We had found this cute little lighthouse and it would make for a nice shot but the scene was just very…well sort of depressing. I guess I could have said, “Hey it looks so mysterious and romantic.” But really it just sort of looked gloomy. So what to do? Well this is one of the reasons I really am a believer that you need to know different techniques and lighting so that you can more options at your disposal. So yes I know that many people, especially brides love this look.
But really if the right situation is not available and that is all you can do then you are in trouble. At that point do you just sort of continue to pretend that the world is great while really not producing the best work and hoping that you can figure something out? Well in this case my clients wanted a sunset type shot. So I could have said to them, “Well there is no sunset so I can’t do anything about it. Sorry…” Or you can decide to go out of the box and use some to the things you know and have experimented with and try to create the image you have in your mind and what your clients asked for. So as I said we found this nice little lighthouse. But this is what it looked like. Not too inspiring.
So with some imagination, knowledge, and experience. Then add some help from David who was assisting me, my Scott Robert Tiny Triggers, and 4-6 strobes and a little finishing in Lightroom and this is what we came up with. It was David’s first time assisting me so he has never really seen me work. But I was flattered that he commented that he liked how I was able to take the scene, visualize what I was trying to do and then execute it in one setup with just some little tweaks. That aside I want to give David some prompts because he was a great assistant that day and has some good vision and skills. We got to talk more than we had before and I feel we share a passion for wanting to try new things and push to get great shots even if they are not present from what is just there. In any case here is the final image. I will remind you that there was not any sun showing through the fog and overcast at all.
So if you couldn’t tell before, I will say that I don’t believe that a wedding photographer should be a victim of the circumstances but must be a master of many things because in most cases we must produce quality images when we are asked to, since there is no rescheduling of the day. I mean in this example I suppose that we could have tried to come out another time but odds are that would not happen. So remember the more tools in your bag the better able you will be to master your environment when that time comes.