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Four tips for shooting on cloudy days-- and why they can be just as beautiful as sunny days!

It's no secret that I love bright, blinding sun any day. But as much as I love that golden glow that backlight gives me, I have to face reality-- it's cloudy in Houston A LOT of the time. I'm not gonna lie, I used to dread shooting on overcast days. I only knew how to shoot in backlight so I really struggled to make cloudy day pictures as magical as my golden hour ones. But with a LOT of practice, I'm now confident in my work no matter the weather, and I'm happy to share what I've learned here!


Tip #1-- Look up

The most important thing to do when shooting on cloudy days is to understand where the light is coming from. On sunny days, it's easy-- you get direct light coming from the sun and it's bounced off everything around you, so if you're in the shade or in backlight, you have diffused light hitting you from the front and sides too. On cloudy days, the light is more even and diffused, but it generally comes directly from above. The diffused light is easier to work with, but since it comes from above, it can also result in dark shadows under the eyes and no catchlights. If you tilt your subject's head up, even just slightly, the light will hit their cheekbones and illuminate the eyes more. You also get beautiful shadows below the cheekbones. I love shooting down on my subjects on cloudy days so I can see more light in their eyes. Here are some examples:



Tip #2-- Utilize open spaces

One of my favorite things about shooting in clouds is that it opens up so many possibilities for locations! Since I never shoot in harsh direct light, on sunny days, I have to find shaded locations or places where the sun will be filtered behind my subject. On cloudy days I don't have to worry about this. I can take my subjects into bright open areas where they would normally be far too exposed. All of these examples are spots where I could not shoot on sunny days:


Tip #3: Capture mid-day adventures

In my backlight post, I shared that I only shoot professionally an hour before sunset or after sunrise; and as I just mentioned, I don't shoot in harsh direct sun. Unfortunately, most of my family's outings are done in the middle of the day, so if I want to get good pictures, the conditions aren't ideal. Unless it's cloudy! The soft, even light of a cloudy day makes for great pictures of our adventures. These ones were all taken in the middle of the day when I would normally have my camera put away:


Tip #4: Embrace the drama

Just like backlight can create stunning, dramatic images when used right, so can clouds! Beautiful clouds are a wonderful opportunity to add drama and emotion to a picture when the light just isn't there.


Have I convinced you yet?? I hope you're inspired to get out and shoot no matter the conditions!

{Katy Texas photographer

Houston photographer

sugarland photographer

Cypress photographer}