Using The Sky As A Softbox - With A Twist

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I did an interesting photographic experiment the other day. Below is the result, read on for details (click on the thumbnail to enlarge):

The sky was completely covered with clouds, so there was even light everywhere. These are the perfect conditions to shoot outdoor portraits, as this kind of diffused light is very flattering. The reason is that the cloudy sky behaves like a giant softbox, with the sun behind it.

The thing is, the typical portraits have the subject standing, so the light comes from above. You have to find a way to reflect some of that light from the side and/or below.

I like to shoot portraits with a softbox behind the camera instead, because in this way the diffuse light falls evenly on the subject. But of course I can't do that if my softbox is the sky... or can I?

I was really pleased with the result. For this picture I didn't even need to mess with the camera settings, this is a quick & dirty picture shot in "P" mode on my Canon 60D, with minimal processing in Lightroom afterwards.

I love the huge catch lights in my daughter's eyes. And if you look carefully you'll see my silhouette in them.


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