5 tips for shooting on overcast days

Stephanie Bryan Photography - 5 tips for shooting on overcast days

Yummy golden hour is by far my favorite time to shoot. I love the glow of the sky and the pretty rim light that comes from backlighting. But sometimes mother nature has a different plan in mind and you end up with gloomy, overcast skies. While I would love to have some of those "golden" shots during my sessions, overcast days aren't necessarily all bad. The light is pretty even and soft and you don't have to worry about shadows and blown highlights as much. There are some things, though, to keep in mind when shooting on overcast days to make sure you are getting the most of the light available! 


1. Bump up your ISO and pay attention to your shutter speed.

Since there isn't as much available light on overcast days, you will likely have to bump up your ISO. I tend to start around ISO 250 or ISO 400 and then check out my shutter speed to see if I can lower my ISO. If clouds are rolling in and moving quickly across the sky, it's super important to keep an eye on your shutter speed to make sure it doesn't get too low, which would result in blurry images. 

2. Choose a location that has lots of open space.

Wide open space is key on overcast days. You will want to place your subject in an area where the available light can surround them. Try to avoid dense forests and other super covered areas since they will not have good light to illuminate your subjects. 

3. Position your subjects facing where the sun.

Even though the sun isn't out and shining, it's still important to face your subjects TOWARDS the light (or where the sun would be). This will help light up your subject's face and keep them from looking drab and muddy. If you're not sure of the direction of the sun, pull out your handy compass on your phone and figure it out! It will pay off in the end!

4. Shoot looking down to get those catchlights.

Pretty catchlights make a photo pop and even though the sun isn't out in full force, you can still manage to get catchlights if you try! I suggest shooting from above your clients and have them look up into your camera so their faces are tilted towards the sky. If your subject is standing, have them tilt their chin up slightly to keep their eyes directed up to the sky! 

5. Get creative!

The best thing about overcast days is that you really can get creative! You don't have to worry much about shadows or the bright sun or any of that. Use leading lines to make your subject pop or try framing your subject creatively. Don't feel limited because the sun is hiding behind those clouds!


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