I’m that weirdo that loves a good cloudy day way more than most people. When the sky is overcast, I’m reaching for my camera and looking for somewhere or something to shoot. I love taking photos on cloudy days. I realize however, that this isn’t the case for a lot of people.

How to Get Awesome Photos on Cloudy Days

Capturing beautiful photos on cloudy days may seem like a daunting task. It’s dark and gray and dull. Overcast days, however, are perfect for photography. It’s moody and dark and the whole sky becomes a soft box. These conditions make for great photographs, so don’t let gray skies deter you from picking up your camera and getting outside.

Use a Tripod

As an architectural and real estate photographer, using a tripod is a no-brainer for me. When I’m home my tripod lives in my car, and when I’m traveling I have a smaller travel tripod that comes with me. So, even on sunny days, I’m shooting with a tripod. A tripod is even more vital if I’m taking photos on cloudy days. It helps me achieve super-sharp images without having to bump up my ISO or shoot with a fast shutter speed.

Now, do you have to shoot with a tripod? Absolutely not! Some subjects are super difficult to shoot with a tripod or just plain don’t require one. Usually for things like flowers and leaves and other up close, macro type shots your aperture will be wide enough to have a fast shutter speed. With landscapes though, you’ll want a more narrow aperture to keep more of the scene in focus. With narrow apertures comes slower shutter speeds which can introduce camera shake. A tripod helps to reduce this issue greatly, especially when taking photos on cloudy days when there is less light for your camera to capture.

Check Your ISO

Your ISO is one of the three factors that go into determining your exposure. A high ISO means your camera’s sensor is more sensitive to light and that your image will be brighter. A low ISO means your camera’s sensor will be less sensitive to light and that your pictures will be darker. ISO works with shutter speed and aperture to create your exposure.

When you are taking photos on cloudy days it’s important to keep an eye on your ISO. On a normal sunny day (or if I’m using a tripod), my ISO is usually around 200. I may bump it up to 400 just to get a faster shutter speed, but 200 seems to work best for me. A lower ISO will help to reduce grain and noise in your photos. However, on darker overcast days you may need to push your ISO pretty high. A higher ISO means that you can have a narrower aperture and a faster shutter speed. Both of these things can help you achieve tack-sharp photos, so make sure to check your ISO while shooting.

Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode

I shoot almost exclusively in aperture priority mode. It’s the first thing I focused on when I first began learning photography and it’s the mode I feel most comfortable in even now. So, why do I say shoot in aperture priority instead of switching over to full manual? Because you will still have a ton of control over your exposure while not having to focus so much on the technical side of things.

For me, shooting in aperture priority mode allows me to switch between subjects super easily. You can switch between landscapes and more personal subjects without having to calculate your shutter speed. Just adjust your aperture based on how you want your photo to look and in most instances you’ll be good to go.

Have Some Fun with Motion Blur

Shooting photos on cloudy days often means you will be shooting with slower shutter speeds. This unfortunately means that motion blur and camera shake can become a problem. There are several remedies for this. You can bump up your ISO, or widen your aperture, or you can shoot on a tripod. All of these will help you get tack sharp photos on cloudy days.

But why not have some fun with that motion blur? One of my favorite things to photograph is waterfalls and motion blur is a big part of getting the water silky smooth. You could also go a more abstract route and let your whole image blur. How? Simply move the camera while the shutter is open and see what happens.

Play with Color

How to get awesome photos on cloudy days

One complaint about cloudy days is that everything looks gray and dull, boring and sad. Don’t let this deter you from picking up your camera on a cloudy day. There are pops of color everywhere. And what’s great is that on overcast days you won’t have to contend with super harsh shadows.

Some of my favorite subjects after waterfalls are flowers and leaves. I am always on the look out for a brightly colored flower or an odd colored leaf. And I love the soft and gentle light a cloudy day produces to capture these subjects.

Awesome Photos on Cloudy Days Conclusion

An overcast day may seem like it won’t be great for producing amazing photography. However, that is absolutely not the case. With a few simple adjustments capturing great photos on cloudy days is easy. Don’t let gray skies deter you from capturing your next favorite photo!

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Author

Hey there! My name is Leah and I'm a photographer, blogger and wanderer from north Texas. I've been doing photography for nearly a decade now and absolutely love it. My day job is real estate photographer and in my free time you can often find me at a park taking pictures of leaves and flowers. Outside of that my fiance and I love to travel. We spent nine months backpacking through Europe and now spend our free time attempting to plan and going on shorter trips both in the States and abroad.

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