5 Tips for Shooting During Overcast Days


5 Tips for Shooting During Overcast Days

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A lot of people who are new to photography don’t like overcast days because they end up with gray and dark photos. However, overcast days are the perfect days to practice your shooting skills, especially if you want to take bright, airy shots. Start with these simple tweaks.

Bump Up the ISO to 400 and Above

There is less light for you to take bright photos on overcast days. Fortunately, your camera can compensate. Increase the ISO to 400 and above, and you’ll see a huge difference in the brightness levels in your photos. You may want to stick to an ISO of 1600 to get consistently bright shots in some cases.

Open Up the Aperture & Slow the Shutter Speed

You can also control the aperture and shutter speeds to let in the most amount of light. Go down to the largest aperture setting, whether you are using a prime or a zoom lens. Slow down the shutter speed to 1/25, especially if you are not trying to capture moving objects. You can work with a slower shutter speed if you are using a tripod. Paired with a high ISO, these settings are often enough to get you the bright photos you need.

Use a Prime Lens

Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens
Canon 50mm 1.8

Prime lenses are great for virtually any kind of situation, especially on overcast days. A prime lens like the inexpensive Canon 50mm 1.8 can give you great light and creamy bokeh for dramatic, well-lit shots. This is something that an ordinary kit lens can’t give since most kit lenses have an aperture of 3.5 or smaller if you can afford a prime lens with an even smaller aperture such as 1.4, even better.

Shoot Outside

Shooting outside allows you to take advantage of all available light. You can also get brighter portraits by shooting in places where light can easily bounce off, such as light-colored walls, doors, and other structures. You can also bring a reflector that you can use to direct available light towards your subjects. Portable light reflectors are great for getting even lighting on both very bright and overcast days.

Shoot From Above

If you are shooting portraits, shooting from above allows you to fill your subject’s eyes with light. You won’t get the same effect if you shoot straight on or slightly from below, where there is no external light source to brighten up your subject’s eyes. By shooting from above, you get your subject to look up at the sky so their eyes are filled with light to create arresting, well-lit portraits.

We all get overcast days. However, you can still get stellar shots if you know these basic tweaks. Try these tips out and see how you can keep your photos sharp and bright even on the dullest of days.

Jill Hanley

Jill Hanley, the founder of LensHype.com, is a professional photographer living in Seattle, Washington. She enjoys traveling abroad, exquisite street food, a crisp IPA, and sharing her knowledge and passion for photography.

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