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Shooting on an Overcast Day

Being a photographer means being adaptable. You won’t always get spectacular, “golden-hour” lighting – and some scenes look great on an overcast day. In fact, even lighting is very easy to work with, so even beginners can get great shots when the light is filtered through a layer of clouds. Here are a few tips for shooting when the sky is overcast.

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1. Overcast days are perfect for macro shots. Subtle light produces very soft shadows, which can bring out lovely details in a simple scene. Use a reflector if you need more light in shadow areas.

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2. Heavy skies make for great moody shots! Use a tripod for long exposures.

Cascades du Herrison - Jura, France

 

3. Waterfalls look great on overcast days. Soft light means you won’t have to worry about blown highlights where direct sunlight is reflected – and shadow areas won’t be too dark. You may still need to bracket and blend, but the result will be much more appealing than a shot taken on a bright, sunny afternoon.

High winds, rain, and ocean spray made this shot from Iceland particularly difficult to capture.

High winds, rain, and ocean spray made this shot from Iceland particularly difficult to capture.

 

4. Overcast days make for gorgeous black and white photos – especially when there is texture in the clouds. Look for simple scenes that are all about contrast, tone, or form.

 

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.

Landscape

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