How To Add Sunlight To Your Overcast Photographs

I'm sure many of you have heard the saying "overcast skies make for amazing photos". While it's true that soft overcast light is usually more flattering on people's faces, it can also make your photos super boring and even gloomy. So what can you do with your bag of tricks to spice up a photo session during cold, rainy, or overcast days? Damien Lovegrove explains how you can use a "dingle" (or more commonly a Cookie) to bring some pseudo-sunlight into your portraits . This clip is from Damien's Speedlight Mastery DVD and he does a great job explaining this super useful technique that can be applied to many of your own shoots at almost zero cost. Next time you see those interesting shadow patterns while thumping through your girlfriend's fashion magazines you can imagine the dingle that created them!

Log in or register to post comments


Carlos's picture

I love this, I'm going to try to use this concept in about 2 days.

Looks great!  I've done the same thing with a stack of glasses to add some interesting textures to backgrounds.

Todd Surber's picture

Great stuff- thanks for the post guys! Cheers

Sean Shimmel's picture

They say with piano, it's not just the notes but the skillful pauses BETWEEN the notes that make the difference in a master's performance. So, too, It's these little touches of intentionality that make the difference visually. 

PS... Damien's finally visiting Chicago to offer workshops in spring of 2012. Hope to meet some F-Stoppers there  :)

Did he say sunny Spain? He obviously hasn't been to northern Spain...Really useful post anyway, thanks :)

Garrett Byrum's picture

funny, i use my dingle a little differently.....

Anyone know what the transmitter he has on his camera is called? I'm looking for something similar, but I thought the only way to remote a 580 was with another 580 :$

Kyle Sanders's picture

It looks like a Canon ST-E2

Found it. Expensive thing :( Thank you for the help :)

If you want a cheaper trigger set, try gadget infinity's cactus v4. if you want some midrange triggers that hold up to being dropped, try calumet's trigger system.

or just use 7D :)

Andreas Nielsen's picture

The problem with the 7D is, that it uses the flash on the camera to trigger the remote speed-light. Which in some situations can be seen in the shot. The ST-E2 does the same in theory but only lets out the IR light. So unless you can limit the camera flash to only let out the IR light, I think the ST-E2 is a better choice. Also you could just buy a cheap RF trigger ;D

You can actually set the 7D to be a controller only, where it'll trigger the speedlite wirelessly without actually firing during the shot.

Andreas Feustel's picture

A simple RF transmitter will work as well but unfortunately not tranmitting E-TTL signals. An alternative to the expensive Canon ST-E2 ist the Yongnuo ST-E2.

i really like the final images (lighting wise, not so much a girl in a sloppy hoodie), but that guy is so hyper. watching is a lil difficult. good technique though. may give it a try soon. all in all, i learned something and i like it :)

Never thought of actually bringing something like that to a photoshoot haha. But really a nice idea! Should come in handy some day.

Gus Munoz's picture

Very clever and well presented. Who needs expensive backdrops when you've got a great imagination.

simple, clear, easy... and although the hoodie for "sunny and warm" doesn't really go together it's a great, cheap, simple to implement idea for future photo shoots. Love it, congrats and thanks to both him and fstoppers for sharing.

Michael Battenberg's picture

Leave it to someone from Manchester to be able to create "pseudo-sunlight"!...  I'm gonna try it!

Anonymous's picture

Nice guy, nice vid and quality results.. i liked it.

Melvin Sam-Sin's picture

Super handy video and a funny dude as well!

he does have more videos about using the speedlite:

romain VERNEDE's picture

Love this guy, simple and funny!

O'nev's picture

dingle my word of the week :-) such a simple technique yet so effective. one of the reasons why i love visiting fstoppers..

he killed it with a flash and a branch lol. anybody still think they need a 10,000 dallor PLM to make the shot.

Andreas Feustel's picture

Let’s get ready to dingle! I never heard this word before (no wonder, I’m German ;-) but I like this term!

Very useful explanation of a simple setup from a nice guy!

Thank you for sharing!

jaygoji's picture

Dingle is a turd. Disgusting.