While there is a lot that you can do to prepare for your shoot day, there are bound to be some things that are out of your control. One such thing is the weather. Whether it is a bout of unexpected showers, an exceedingly sunny and hot day, or just a day dramatically overcast, weather, with all its forecasts, still tends to be quite unpredictable. While it is easy to write off a cloudy day as “bad weather,” every photographer knows that an overcast day, when dealt with tactfully! Once you work around the passing clouds and the lighting issues, the moody and dramatic demeanor of a cloudy day can seep through the photo sessions making every photograph a work of art. If you have arrived at a scheduled photo shoot day and find that it’s overcast outside, these tips will be helpful to turn the day around!

Listed below are some tips that can be helpful for a day of photography on an overcast day!

Capture From Above: Getting creative with lighting can be your saving grace. On a cloudy day, getting enough light into your subject’s eyes can be challenging to create the catchlights we strive for in photography when they are looking slightly downward or even straight ahead. They will, however, look up at the sky if you can stand higher than your subject by having them stoop down, carry a step stool, or find a hill or other structure to lift you above eye level. Suddenly, you’ll notice that their eyes are glowing. On gloomy, overcast days, this might make for a gorgeous portrait. If it’s too bright, though, they might squint. It’s so simple to do with babies, and the flat lighting looks lovely with their adorable little faces, but this advice applies to anyone at any age.

Create Directed Light By Utilizing Your Surroundings: On a cloudy day, the light is somewhat flat. People may appear relatively flat and dimensionless as a result of this. Any object in your environment, such as a structure, a tree, a fence, etc., can block some of the light in one or more directions to create directional light, giving the illusion of depth. On a cloudy day, you may also use a reflector, a scrim, or even a flash to create directional light, but if you shoot without a second shooter, you can turn to existing structures to aid in shaping the lighting.

Include The Sky In Your Picture: A gloomy, stormy sky can be just as captivating in a portrait as a lovely blue one. However, a flat, cloudy sky can significantly detract from a stunning image because it frequently tries to blast out to white or turn a light gray. Think about either omitting the sky entirely or, on the other hand, embracing the flat background as an essential component of your image. You will be surprised how much a moody sky can add to your photograph!

Include A Splash Of Color: As you would imagine, a gloomy day can make things dull, so breaking the monotony with a pop of color can be quite a relief! An image can occasionally appear dull due to the overcast skies and lack of sunshine. A brightly colored scarf or other bold-colored items can bring the focus point back into the picture and add some interest. Making sure the background is noticeably lighter or darker than your subject will help them stand out more on a gloomy day.

Effect Of Clouds As Filters: When taking pictures on cloudy days, the Sun’s strong light is softened by the filtering effect of the clouds, revealing important quarter tones or highlight detail. Softer shadows, which result in more shadow definition, are a nice outcome of this softer, “diffused” light. With a little assistance from overcast weather, it is simpler to enhance the brightness and deepen the shadows. The shadows are already open on gloomy days, but they may need to be opened up on very sunny ones with a reflector or fill flash. Rich hues and a wide spectrum of tones, from the darkest shadows to the lightest highlights, are produced by this natural diffuser.

Use Your Gray Card: This is the perfect time to put your 18% gray card with this illumination. Photographers frequently center their illumination on an 18% gray card for good reason. It so happens that the 18 percent figure has the same reflective value as the typical Caucasian skin tone. The sweet spot for all photographic exposures is that value. The picture sensor on your camera is calibrated to capture skin tones right in the middle of the contrast spectrum. When you direct image sensors at this reflecting value, they perform at their best. The lighter and darker tones fall into place pretty naturally once the camera is aware of this value. And that produces top-notch images when the outdoor illumination perfectly fits into the camera sensor’s “cruising range.” It can become your favorite lighting to take pictures on cloudy days.

Stress The Middle Tone: Don’t be scared to place the scene’s tones in the histogram’s center. There is no absolute requirement that every image must have deep shadows or bright highlights. Simply said, your perception of reality is different. The lightest tones don’t even have to be blindingly bright in high-key photography. The overall contrast in some of the most powerful images is almost nonexistent. Avoid the trap of “optimizing” each photo’s dynamic range to create sharp highlights and dark shadows. Let nature provide the tone for the image.

Auto Levels: It’s completely fine to have highlights that aren’t pinned to the histogram’s right side. Please pause before clicking the dreaded Auto option in Photoshop’s Levels window. Let the setting create the mood and only accentuate the details. Sometimes, dynamic changes made by software programs urge us to manipulate nature into unnatural situations.

White Balance: Get your camera the next time you’re in the bright, shadow-free environment of a cloudy sky. There are plenty of opportunities for fantastic color photos. However, keep in mind that because clouds are absorbing the shorter wavelengths, outdoor photographs taken in cloud cover will appear a little bit bluish. Set the cloudy or overcast white balance on your camera. This setting will offset the bluish tint of the scene. You can focus on the color even more precisely if you are using a gray card and have the time to select a situational white balance.

Modify The Camera’s Settings: Setting up your camera for photos on a cloudy day is different from doing it on a bright or gloomy day. You must alter your settings each time the light changes. When photographing in an overcast atmosphere, the sun will frequently hide and then reappear. If you have a deadline to meet, this may be a hassle. Generally speaking, the clouds will subtract two to three stops of light from your image. What about adjusting your ISO to automatic? You are aware of Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. Go one stop before ISO 100 and locate it in your camera. Where the numbers are, it should read “A.” Your other settings will remain the same, but depending on the lighting, your ISO will rise from 100 to 400 or 800. Remember that manual mode is required. Use the Sunny 16 rule while shooting in mild light or with cirrostratus clouds. It aids in determining the ideal exposure setting given the lighting circumstances. Remember that if it is difficult to accurately meter the light when shooting in RAW, it is always preferable to underexpose. Compared to an overexposed photo, you can edit it more easily.

Add Cloud Formations And Sky Definition: One of the most dynamic and abstract canvases at a photographer’s disposal is the sky. It is a never-ending wellspring of creativity that may transform a dull photo into one that is incredibly interesting. Almost all landscape photographs depend heavily on the sky, and if you can’t capture it just right, the entire image will suffer. The issue is that correctly exposing both the sky and the earth at once is exceedingly challenging. Photographers have been able to correctly expose images immediately on the camera by using tools like graded neutral density filters or bracketing, but this isn’t always feasible given the situation. In addition, the sky itself is unpredictable at times. When you arrive for the shoot, the sky may be dull and unattractive. Even if you locate a beautiful environment, it could look uninteresting if certain things are missing.  The simplest subject to wait for and employ as an interesting feature in your photograph is a cloud. Clouds offer texture, form, and shape; some even have animal-like appearances. Use a cloudy day to your advantage and come up with original compositions.

Incorporate Motion Using Long Exposures: Any time of day or night is a fantastic time to use long exposures.  Clouds lend form, texture, and shape. The movement of the clouds can bring about some amazing captures. Long shutter speeds will give movement to the scene as you capture them. The effects are abstract and resemble paintings. The atmosphere may be serene or create a sense of urgency in the observer, like the development of a storm. Use a shutter speed of at least five seconds and steady your camera on a tripod. Utilize remote and ND filters. Remember to focus before putting the filter on. Use Live View at all times.

Utilize Diffused Lighting: Most often, diffused lighting is employed for portrait photography. Because it removes shadows, relaxes the face, and enables the person to unwind without squinting, the steady light is flattering for subjects. Warmth is added to the image by soft light. Even though the photograph has cold tones, it makes it feel warm and inviting, in contrast to bright light, which gives off a stiffer, in-the-action vibe. For other still-life photography genres, such as food or product photography, soft light is also greatly desired. In reality, diffusion is used in the majority of indoor studio picture operations. The light is the strongest justification for taking photos on an overcast day. Diffuse light results from a gloomy sky. This indicates that the entire scene is receiving even lighting. Vivid light and strong shadows are produced by the bright sunshine and distinct clouds. The light is softened and diffused by the clouds. For fashion and portrait photography, the time is ideal. The skin becomes more supple under the soothing light. Additionally, cloudy weather is advantageous for taking interior and architectural photographs since it increases dynamic range.

Create a Moody Ambiance: A sun flare or starburst is a really stunning picture effect that doesn’t require any advanced post-processing or editing techniques. You will be astounded by the effects you can produce by mastering a few basic controls and being aware of the ideal circumstances for producing stunning sun flare and starburst pictures. As you will be shooting directly into the sun to capture sun flares, a UV filter on your lens is advised to protect your camera’s sensor. Starburst photography requires stability, so a reliable tripod and remote shutter release are advised. Sunlight gives a scene and the sky greater intrigue. Only on overcast days can you capture the sun’s rays. These lovely beams of light will surround the sun when it is concealed by a cloud. To make sure the scene is not overexposed or blown out, you must meter on the cloud.

Use Wide-Angle Lenses and Filters to Take Gorgeous Cloud Pictures: One of the most appealing lens types a photographer may purchase is wide-angle. When employed effectively, the extraordinarily wide perspective will produce a vast depth of field and, as a result, attract the viewer’s attention far more than usual. Due to its unusual angle of view and the ability to include numerous items in your picture, a wide-angle lens will open up a lot more artistic options for you. A wide-angle lens should be brought for taking pictures of clouds. It will enable you to add dramatic effects and detail when used in conjunction with a small aperture. Your overcast day photos can also be improved by using ND and CPL filters. For long-exposure photos in the daytime, ND filters are useful. You can control reflections in the environment by using a CPL filter.

Create Contrast With Cityscapes and Clouds: Cities and clouds might conjure up images of a city floating in the sky in a fantastical tale. Clouds and structures can contrast. Even sunbeam lines that outline particular features of a landscape can be captured. Alternatively, diffused lighting can provide photographs of structures that are equally light. Take pictures of the buildings that are peaking out while there is fog or a mass of low clouds. Your images can be improved by using CPL filters because they highlight the clouds. Afterward, increase the Clarity settings in Lightroom when editing your photos!

Captures Of Light Pools: Cloudy days can provide you with a wide range of settings and scenarios that let you be creative when photographing the countryside. Light pools provide one of the favorite foggy day photography settings. The sun shines through a cloud formation. A sunbeam descends as it passes through a crevice. A scene can be photographed with only a portion of it exposed or correctly highlighted. Measure the area that is lit, and take a picture concentrating on the scene that you can see. To create a scene that is actually fascinating, choose this above the darker portions.

Capture The Reflections Of Clouds: Creating a reflection in photography and getting stunning water reflection photos include two procedures. Find an engaging background subject and a reflective foreground subject first. In this instance, these might be the clouds. Put yourself in the lowest possible position to capture the entire topic in the background. Utilize a circular polarizing filter, which aids in regulating the degree of reflection on your surfaces, as your second step. It accomplishes this while also giving your photographs stunning color and contrast. This should always be in your camera bag because it is the best tool for photographing reflections. Not only do clouds seem beautiful in the sky, but they also make beautiful water reflections. To catch cloud reflections, look for lakes, ponds, or even shining buildings. By doing so, you may give your scene additional dimension and produce captivating compositions. Seek out any symmetry or patterns that the clouds and reflections produce.

Don’t be disheartened by a cloudy day on your shoot day. Instead, take it in your stride and create awesomeness with it. As they say, there is no good weather, there are just great photographers! With little practice and some tricks in your back pocket, you will be able to create awe-inspiring photographs from an overcast day. Even while it may not seem pleasant, a cloudy day or overcast weather can make for fantastic photo opportunities. Utilize the cloud forms and the diffused light. Use the clouds to add texture to your picture or create long-exposure cloud photos. Find creative ways to frame your images even on cloudy days. And you will be glad you stepped out on a gloomy day after all.

Join Our Community

We have more than 2000 members around the world

Join Community

Follow Us

Get the latest news and photo inspiration.