Photographers tend to avoid overcast weather. I prefer taking photos at sunset or sunrise because the light is best during the golden hour. Nevertheless, a cloudy day offers some opportunities for stunning photography. Clouds do an excellent job of diffusing harsh lighting and transforming it into soft, flattering light. In this article I‘ll try to give you some ideas for what to photograph on cloudy days!
Head to the Coast
On cloudy days, I find coastal locations very compelling. The coast has a wide range of subjects that are well-suited to the soft light created by cloudy skies, such as boats, piers, lighthouses, and jetties.
If the sky isn’t completely grey and flat on an overcast day, you can find some amazing cloud formations. Make use of the clouds to create a strong, dramatic look in your photographs.
Use a Long Exposure
Long exposures are an obvious choice for minimalist coastal photography. If you leave the shutter open for 30 seconds or more, the water will be captured as a smooth, glassy surface, removing ripples and simplifying its texture. Similarly, any movement in the clouds during the exposure smoothes and softens the texture of the sky, simplifying the composition even more. To achieve a long exposure, you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. A 10 stop neutral density filter is required for daytime shooting.
Take Minimal Pictures
You can get an aesthetically pleasing, minimal shot by combining the long exposure with a simple element found in the sea, such as a tree branch or some poles. In the picture above I used a 10 stop ND filter to get a 30 seconds exposure in order to make the water appear really smooth.
Shoot in Black and White
As you may have noticed, all my photographs in this article are black and white. I believe that the absence of color really enhances the overcast weather and simplifies the long exposures and minimal pictures. I’ve written a detailed post on when to turn a picture into black and white if you want to have a further look! You can even switch your camera to black and white preview mode, if it supports it, to focus on the shapes and textures while ignoring the colors in your frame!
A gloomy day or overcast weather may not appear appealing, but it can provide excellent photographic opportunities. Use the diffused light and cloud formations to your advantage. Make long exposure photos or use clouds to add texture to your scene. Play around with black and white photography. Also, even on overcast days, try to come up with creative ways to compose your photos.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.