5 Reasons I Love Taking Photos on Cloudy Days

September 11, 2012

in Lighting, Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

I Heart Faces | Cloudy Day Photography Tutorial and Tips

I love light, don’t get me wrong, but there is a LOT to be said for photographing on wonderful cloudy days.

A lot of photographers aren’t fans of the darker skies, primarily citing the flat light as one of the reasons. But me? I welcome them with open arms.

Here are some benefits and tips to photographing on a cloudy day:

1. No open shade? No problem!

Client shows up in a white dress/shirt? Sun is blazing? No trees to help produce some needed shade? (Insert scream of panic here!). My number one reason for loving cloudy day shooting is my client can go anywhere. This recent Communion shoot was a dream because she could walk anywhere and I didn’t have to worry about her squinting or the light bouncing off her dress. It allowed us to feel so much less directed in our shoot and produced some beautiful images without me having to worry about her dress blowing out (blowing out is defined as when parts of an image are so overexposed they lose all detail). That ability to shoot anywhere at any time and not be concerned with harsh sun, you just can’t beat it!

Cloudy Day White Clothes

Ever try photographing in a playground on a sunny day? Shadows from the equipment, child starts in shade at the top of the slide, comes down into full sun. Not fun! Cloudy day? No problem.

Playground Cloudy Day

Or on someone’s front pathway!

Cloudy Day Walkway

2. Bye Bye dappled light.

Ever see a great shot with slices of light on people’s faces/arms/etc.? That is the dreaded dappled light. You pull clients under some trees, the light filters through and slivers of light show up on their body. Not technically great. Not a problem on the cloudy days. The light is even. I much prefer to say ‘even’ than ‘flat’ when I describe the light on a cloudy day.

3. Look to the sky!

Look up cloudy day.

An important tip to remember is you always want light in the eyes of your subject regardless of what kind of day. No matter HOW cloudy, if a client is looking up towards the sky, you will get catch lights. Make sure to include that as one of your angles when photographing on cloudy days- up up UP.

Look up cloudy day

4. No neon grass!

We have all been there. Blazing hot sun on grass = heinous colored grass. No sun = beautiful lush green grass.

5. Shoot at the beach ANYTIME.

Between the water and sand reflecting and bouncing light, you really are limited to filming in the early, early morning and the Golden Hour. On a cloudy day, you can photograph at 1pm. Generally, 1pm the sun is uber high in the sky and between the squinting and harsh facial shadows it is not too desirable. When the sun is normally the highest in the sky and produces dark shadows.

Beach Cloudy Day

So don’t shy away from the cloudy days- consider it ‘pass’ from Mother Nature to go crazy and photograph without restriction!

Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman for I Heart FacesJennifer Tonetti-Spellman is a die-hard, natural light, lifestyle photographer in New York who loves to search for the light. Like her on Facebook to continue being inspired by her beautiful work!





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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura May 4, 2015

LOL! I love the “no neon grass” one, that is so true! I don’t understand why people keep trying to say that overcast lighting is “flat.” Au contraire, I say! I pray for overcast days, they’re my favorite lighting to working with, much more low-maintenance. 😉


Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman September 19, 2012

Love that I am not alone 😉 Lisacng, it’s so super important. I find sometimes when it’s really dark on those cloudy days that the shadows are super harsh on the face if there isn’t that slight tilt towards the sky.


lisacng @ expandng.com September 13, 2012

Another reason to shoot anytime. LOVE your enthusiasm for cloudy days ;). Will remember to have my subject looking up!


Declan Mc Glone September 12, 2012

5 Reasons I Love Taking Photos on Cloudy Days #photography http://t.co/zgLhcJtW


Amber September 11, 2012

Thank you for sharing!!! Very good & true article, I must agree.


Life with Kaishon September 11, 2012

Cloudy days are the best : )


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