I'm big on challenging myself. When I'm feeling uninspired, when the light is less than ideal, when I don't feel like picking up my camera, a simple, self-issued challenge will sometimes snap me out of it.
The weather report for today and tomorrow is full of rain and clouds, I haven't taken a good picture in days, and all I want to do is drink coffee. Time for a challenge!
Here are 5 shots for a Gloomy, Rainy Day + ideas to keep you inspired on your less than inspired days:
Just because the weather is damp and dark doesn't mean there isn't some light coming through your windows on a day like today. Locate COLOR and use what little daylight you have to accentuate it. Color therapy- it's an instant pick-me-up. (Almost as good as coffee!)
Speaking of coffee, shoot your source of comfort this rainy day. Whether it's your slippers, current book, or cup of tea, let it be your muse. For this shot, I was inspired by shape and color- the perfect square of the table corner paired with the circle cup. That tiny bit of red pops when surrounded by only cool and neutral colors in the playroom.
All this time spent inside has got me experimenting lately with exposure. I'm always one to air on the side of underexposing my people a little in favor of the window light, so that I can get nice rim light or closer to a silhouette. But lately I've noticed that on really cloudy days when all the rooms are dark, I can overexpose my people (sometimes by quite a lot), which over-exposes the window light and gives it a glowy look that tricks the eye into thinking the day and the room was brighter. Cheers me up a little!
Any time I'm at a loss for what to shoot, I like to look for funny scenes left by my kids and/or quirky little messes on my tables and bathroom counters. Here's one from today's lunch. I think it works because of the mirroring of the two straws facing the same direction, while Darth Vader's sword is the same angle and direction as the purple spoon. I didn't touch anything in this scene - all I had to do was see it. Sometimes real life gives you the best stuff!
I saved the best for last! I love this shot. I used one of my favorite documentary photographer approaches to snag it. The kids were running around and around and around the house and- lucky me!- they were practicing their skipping. The key to capturing a shot like this is avoiding chasing your subject around. Set your frame up the way you want it and wait. In this case, I knew I had to be relatively low in order to show any space between him and ground. The kids just made the dog the Valentines you see the right, so I wanted to include those. I sat in the corner of the kitchen floor, metered for right around the refrigerator, being sure to use a fast shutter speed, and waited for this to happen.
I hope one of these example might inspire you to pick your camera up, no matter the weather where you are. Before I shot these, I hadn't made anything I liked for days and I was thinking today would be another day without creating. But turns out, all I needed was a little push in the form of purpose. Remember, February is one of the hardest months for photographers to remain inspired, but spring is just around the corner!