When the clouds roll in



So, I’m typically early. Chronically early.

If I’m on time, I’m late. If I’m early, then I’m on time. If I’m late, that’s awful.

Which works out when your subject is running late. Often, we have to schedule sessions around work, and life happens to our subjects. It’s okay.

But, when the weather starts changing, the photographer starts sweating.

Well, I was anyway. Arkansas summers are known for their humidity. Doing an outdoor session in early September often means dealing with the humidity, but fortunately the temperature was pretty moderate when we scheduled a cover shoot for the 501 Life October edition.

The issue is generally themed around health, and we decided to highlight a local company that helps corporations keep their workers healthier by promoting better lifestyle choices. Our idea was to have people in business attire running bleachers. I had a variation of that idea that I thought might work better.

As it turns out, one of our subjects got to the location without running shoes and another was finishing teaching a yoga class. That gave me time to scout the location – our local high school football stadium – and find a decent angle. But, while we were waiting, a storm front began to approach, resulting in some pretty cool clouds – as well as cooler temps.

To complicate matters, the local high school band was practicing on the football field, which meant shooting some of our shots back that direction would result in a lot of post production work. In addition, parents were arriving to listen to the kids, which meant a couple of them plopped into seats in the background of my intended angle.

No pressure.

When our subjects all finally assembled, I chose a low angle that helped hide the parents behind our models’ heads. The clouds boiled and looked really cool, but fortunately did not produce any rain or lightning. I quickly assembled the trio and positioned two lights, one in front and a “kicker” to help separate the subjects from the background. I also underexposed the background ever so slightly to make the lighting even more effective.

I shot a couple of slight variations to achieve the look I wanted, and then switched to having our subjects running the bleachers at strategically placed distances from each other. Despite some background distractions, we were able to get a nice variety with those photos as well.

Even though I was prepared for pulling off a particular look with the lighting, being adaptable and recognizing conditions that were changing in our favor made this photo work out even better.

And, I didn’t even break a sweat. Not much of one, anyway.


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