A myth I hear in the photography world all the time is that there’s “bad light.” The truth is, as long as there is SOME light, you can create a beautiful image. I’ve heard people talk about avoiding “bad light” referring to midday sun. (I have another blog post for that HERE!) But even more often, I see photographers complaining about overcast or cloudy days. Like those photographers, I live for golden hour glow, but I also don’t shy away from breaking out my camera on days when the sun is hidden. Want to know why?
My top three reasons I love shooting on overcast days are:
Now that you’re convinced how great it is to take portraits on overcast days, I’m going to share my 4 best tips for making the most of your cloudy day portraits!
1. Always face your subject towards open sky. On very dark cloudy days, have them face the spot in the sky where the sun is behind the clouds. They need light on their faces and spilling into their eyes.
2. If you can get slightly above your subject, they will have to angle their head up to look at the camera, therefore allowing more light into their eyes. (This is the solution to the dreaded raccoon eye look!)
3. Do not be afraid to crank your ISO! Underexposing is going to do worse things to your image than adding a bit of grain. Never sacrifice a fast shutter speed to get brighter images. You can’t do anything with a blurry capture.
4. If the clouds are dramatic and you can see light peeking through, try and include them in your image! I love adding drama to a portrait with a cool sky. If the clouds are a like a solid light grey blanket without any dynamic shadow or shape, then they probably will just show up white in your image. In that case, I urge you to avoid including the sky in your frame.
I hope these tips inspire you to shoot in all kinds of weather and light. I offer more free photography tips on Instagram. If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, I have an in-depth workshop, DSLR Bootcamp and a Smartphone Photography course that will teach you everything you need to know to create beautiful images you love!