Creative Photography Ideas for Cloudy Days

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  By Chris Yiu
Creative Photography Ideas for Cloudy Days

Weather is a crucial consideration in photography. Lighting and atmosphere may vary with the changes of weather conditions. You might have the experience that you grabbed your camera and wanted to shoot outdoor right away but you found that it was cloudy or even raining outside. Are you an adventurer who is willing to shoot regardless of unexpectedly poor weather? If yes, this article is for you. I will go through some workarounds of shooting during bad weather with you in the following paragraphs. Bad weather will never be an excuse again.

Shooting in Black and White

Black and white photography

are always one of the best ways out during the days of bad weather. As sunlight is heavily diffused by thick layers of clouds, everything looks flat during an overcast day. Scenery lost its vivid colors. Subjects look grayish. If you shoot in color, you might have a great trouble in manipulating the mood of the photo as dull colors are nothing more than a distraction to audiences. You may get rid of the distracting colors by shooting in black and white.


While shooting in black and white, you will need to look for a scene with “rich” gradient. A smooth and rich gradient is appealing to viewers’ eyes. If the rich gradient is not in sight, you may look for a scene with great contrast. It is less likely for you to find one during a day with the bad weather, though. Therefore, you may stick to the former suggestion as far as possible.

Long-exposure Photography

This approach could be considered as a variant version of the aforementioned workaround because while you are shooting in black and white during a day with poor weather conditions, you may even take a step further by shooting with long exposures. Every moving subject found in the viewfinder will be blurred and it creates a sense of abstractness. Long-exposure photography usually works like a charm during cloudy and stormy days because the movement of the sea and clouds are often more rapid.

You will need a piece of nice ND filter, probably an ND 1000, to get the job done. Apart from the number of the stop of an ND filter, you will also need to consider the quality of its coating and color cast. In addition, I would recommend you to go for a fixed ND filter rather than a variable ND filter. The fixed ones usually perform better compared to the variable ones within the same price range.

Get Closer, Closer and Closer!

Soft light becomes ubiquitous when the sky is covered by tons of clouds. Overcast could be an unfavorable condition for landscape photography. On the other hand, it is the other way round for close-up photography. The details of subjects are nicely lit by the diffused natural light. Subjects for close-up photography could be found everywhere in nature. Rocks and pebbles are some of the ideal subjects. Each pebble shows unique texture and they are quite attractive to viewers. Besides, By shooting with this approach, the grayish and unappealing sky will be excluded from your photos.

Downtown in the Night

Shooting at night is always a good option due to the non-existence of natural light. As we are not relying on sunlight anymore, weather condition has less to do with us. You may head to the downtown at night and make use of the artificial lighting available on the streets such as neon light and street light. These artificial lights could form spectacular bokeh in the background.

There are unlimited possibilities for shooting photos in downtowns at night, regardless of the weather conditions. You may even be able to capture some decent photos during rainy nights in downtowns by making use of reflection of puddles and raindrops on your lens.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Stay tuned for more tips on photography.

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I am a freelance photographer who specializes in architectural, landscapes,streets and fine art photography. I have been learning photography for nearly 5 years. I am currently collaborating with some HK-based photography sites such as and FotoBeginner.

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