Photographers! Check out this crash course to open share!

Finding the Light – an Introduction to Open Shade

Overcast days are supposed to be the best for diffused-even lighting right? I beg to differ. I have always avoided overcast days like the black plague. The light can be so..well, sad!  Every session I have ever had on overcast days has been the most troubling and difficult to edit. I thought it was supposed to be the best type of light! I took these images to demonstrate what I mean. These are not fancy, but merely a way to show what the lighting looked like, the type of shadows the light was casting and how in the end I finally found my light!

Here we have my oh-so-happy 9 year old standing on the back porch on an overcast day. You can see the light coming down from above and resulting in some harsh shadowing  along with a tree overhead adding to the shadows on the left.

Super happy 9 yr old model.

Super happy 9 yr old model.

Here again we have our little guy standing directly out in the light. You can see the light is coming down and making very harsh shadows over his face. 

Here we have a much better lighting situation. I used open shade.

Yes! On an overcast day I used OPEN SHADE.

In this particular instance I had him stand facing the light and under the porch umbrella. If you’re wondering the best spot to place your subject when using open shade…your in luck. I’m about to tell you.

Slightly happier 9 yr old model.

Slightly happier 9 yr old model.

The BEST open shade is that little area just between the light and the shade.

You’ll know you’ve found it because it will have soft even lighting and your subject wont be squinting or covered in shadows.

See the drawing I made below to demonstrate:

Open Shade Epic Drawing

Open Shade Epic Drawing

So now here we go to the final image.

All I did was sharpen up his eyes a bit, cleaned up (spot heal tool) the crumbs from his face and added a matte finish.   ~:D


 More information on open shade coming up within the week!  Stay tuned!


Alethia Rains (13 Posts)

Hi Ya'll! My name is Alethia and I'm a curly headed fun-tographer who loves to garden, read and run. I call myself a part time photographer because when I'm not taking photos I'm usually nose deep in my books or pulling three kids apart. I won't lie and say I spent an epic adventure trolling though the amazon with my film camera and it inspired me to become a photographer. I do this because its my creative outlet, also because I can't draw or paint to save my life. I have spent the last 8 years going to college earning three undergraduate degrees and I am finalizing my masters degree in environmental management. I am self taught in the art of photography and hope I can inspire others by sharing what I've learned along the way. Please feel free to check out my shop:



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