The Silver Lining

by Kris Phillips

The rolling thunderstorms this week have had me both anxious and giddy. There’s something wonderfully invigorating about a thunder storm. Maybe it’s the break in the heat or the fresh smell in the air. Or the actual electricity shocking across the sky. I don’t know exactly but as far back as I can remember I’ve always loved a good storm. Even though, just like my dog, that crack of thunder sets me on edge.

Ok, part of what makes this image great is Dr. O’s expressive personality. But the puffy clouds rolling across the sky make him even more photogenic!

The world of outdoor photography gives me a whole other reason to appreciate a storm rolling in. While I know my clients start getting nervous when the forecast calls for rain. They’re worried their session will be gloomy and gray. Or worse, get rained out all together. But when I arrive to a location and see big puffy clouds rolling across the sky I know our photos will be E.P.I.C!

Dock Diving

Extreme Vertical challenge is pretty epic to watch & shoot, but the clouds in the background really highlight just how high these athletic puppers jump!

A bright blue sky without a cloud in sight may sound picture perfect but it’s actually not so awesome when it comes to photography.

Those big fluffy clouds create a natural soft box effect. Which is ‘photographer’ for saying they make the light soft and even, like what you see in a studio. This is great because soft, even light is so much more flattering than harsh shadows.

Taken on a heavily overcast day, this image feels soft and snuggly.

This is also the reason we avoid shooting mid-day and aim for early morning or late afternoon when the light is more diffused by our atmosphere. You’ve probably heard the term “golden hour”. This is the time when the sun is lowest in the sky and filters through the earth atmosphere the most creating beautiful warm & soft light. 

Also taken on an overcast day, this family portrait is evenly lit and flattering to everyone.

The unfortunate drawback of being so close to our majestic Rocky Mountains (& Flatirons) is that they block much of that golden hour light. On the upside, for those willing to haul out of bed at daybreak, we get very much the same effect at sunrise.

Taken at the first light of dawn at Garden of the Gods, the sunlight bouncing off the red rocks creates a beautiful warm glow for this majestic girl.

In addition to softening the light though, big clouds create beautiful drama & contrast to the in the background of an image. 

It’s an old cliché that every cloud has a silver lining. But when it comes to outdoor photography I’m going to promise it’s true! So don’t stress it when you see a cloudy day forecast for your picture day, you might be wonderfully surprised!



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