And the Fog Rolls In


These images are from a family portrait shoot last Friday. I was hired to photograph someone’s grandchildren, who were visiting from out of state. The clients and I were hoping for a beautiful sunset on the beach! But what we got instead was…

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

What we got instead was high drama!

I left my house and it was sunny and hot. But as I drove toward the coast, a mere six miles away, I could see the weather changing. The wind had picked up dramatically, and the fog was blowing in. I urgently called my client to see if she wanted to reschedule. While I can’t guarantee good weather, I will happily reschedule when possible so that we get the images the client is after.

Unfortunately, the grandkids would be leaving town and there was no possibility of rescheduling. I suggested that, while we weren’t going to get a sunset, we would get some wonderfully soft ‘portrait lighting’ from the overcast sky. My client agreed it was worth a shot, since she was almost at the location with the kids anyway. And so we forged ahead.

When I arrived at the beach, I was starting to reconsider. The fog had gotten worse, to where you couldn’t see the ocean from the dunes at some points. And the wind…how can there be wind AND fog??! Surely the wind would blow the fog away. Apparently it was just blowing the fog towards us. One of the grownups agreed to hold my umbrella and strobe, since there was no way a light stand would hold an umbrella in these winds.

The combination of the wind and sky yielded some dramatic portraits of a type I don’t often get to take, due to our ‘pesky’ nice weather here in Southern California. I just made sure my ambient light was at or just below what the meter was telling me, and used the flash to add emphasis and a little direction to the light. It also helped that the little girl was completely at ease with the camera. She posed and played and had fun, and most of the shots are of her! The boy, who is 18 months old, wasn’t having as much fun. Perhaps the wind was too much, or the strange setting…but we did manage to catch him with some happy moments as well.

I’m glad my client was willing to take a risk and shoot in less than ideal conditions, because now they have some wonderfully dramatic portraits that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise!

As always, if you leave a (non-spam) comment on this blog post, I will donate a canned food item to the local food bank, Food SHARE.




Do you need stunning portraits for your family? Contact me here.

5 thoughts on “And the Fog Rolls In

  1. The pictures came out great! Thanks so much for taking the chance with the weird weather….we love them.

  2. Thanks Shay and Deb! It was great working with you, Shay, and your kids were wonderful.

    Two canned goods donated to Food Share.

  3. Well done for re-planning at short notice! Nice portraits.

    When you said this “I just made sure my ambient light was at or just below what the meter was telling me, and used the flash to add emphasis and a little direction to the light.” Did you mean that you stopped down a bit more than your meter indicated (or maybe increased your shutter speed), then used flash exposure compensation to add direction?

  4. Yes to the first part, and you said it more clearly than I did. I shoot in manual though so I wasn’t using any automatic flash compensation. But I did keep the flash’s effect more subtle than if I were backlighting with full sun for example.

    (one more canned good donated to FoodShare.)

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