10 Photography tips for grey sky or rainy days

10 Photography tips for grey sky or rainy days

I had a quick layover in Chicago and I planned a fantastic urban outdoor adventure exploring downtown and even taking one of the iconic river cruises. Well arriving early on a very cold and cloudy day really dampened my enthusiasm and thoughts of enjoying the day outside, but I took it up as a challenge to get more creative in spite of unfavorable conditions. So what should you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate and makes it uncomfortable? Get out there in bad weather and practice these 10 Photography tips for  grey sky or rainy days, hopefully you can improve your skills and creativity on impossible or no fun days outdoors.

 

 

The First Lady cruises in Chicago

The First Lady cruises in Chicago

How to photograph on cloudy and rainy days

1) Take out those lifeless skies – there’s nothing worse than a skyline filled with flat and dull skies so the best trick on this is basically to crop out those boring skies. Crop sharply and zone in on the important features you want to highlight

 

Clock details on a Chicago street

Clock details on a Chicago street

 

 

2) Details, details – Just like the above in cropping and zooming, finding those interesting details and environmental shots that really give you the sense of place is what makes urban photography interesting, Keep your eyes always looking around and finding interesting architectural details, fun and quirky signs, iconic landmarks or unusual things that pop up at you when you are walking down those streets.

 

The Bean in Chicago's Millennium park

The Bean in Chicago’s Millennium park

 

 

3) Get those iconic shots but amp up the presentation. So I’ve seen lots of images of the Bean in Chicago’s waterfront and you always see the images with the skyline etched on the sculpture. Okay that’s fun but so boring, so why not walk around it or under it and see what you can capture, you’ll find some really fascinating photo ops but taking your time and observing what other people are doing in front of iconic images

 

 

The Bean detail in black and white

The Bean detail in black and white

 

 

4) Photograph in black and white – visualizing and photographing urban scenes in black and white is already challenging but on dull grey days, it is even more challenging but done right can make for some wonderful captures and a nice way to present your subject matter differently     5) It’s raining – Yeah head under cover and forgot the outdoor shots, well yes you can concentrate on indoor images but how about challenging yourself and see how you can work with the rain. Play with your shutter speed  or f-stops and see if you can create that rainy effects or nice zoomed details with hazy backgrounds and your subject matter with raindrops or some focus on the rain effects.

 

 

Chicago street scene reflections

Chicago street scene reflections

 

 

6)  Capture reflections – reflections on rainy days are what makes rainy days fun! You can really concentrate on the reflections or different effects created by rain. Again, play with the creative controls on your camera or set them to some of the automatic controls that make it work better     7) Increase your ISO setting – nothing like taking a photo and it is not tack sharp because you forgot to bump up your ISO to a setting that works. Depending on how grey or dark the skies and composition is, you can start low like at 400 and see how tack sharp you are.

 

Street scene in Chicago's theater district

Street scene in Chicago’s theater district

 

 

8) Change settings on your white balance – try some of the settings that can warm up those grey skies, experiment with the settings based on your preference and take some experimental shots to ser are what you are happy with.

 

Architectural detail in Chicago

Architectural detail in Chicago

 

 

9) Look for saturated color in your subject matter.  Grey skies are perfect for certain types of photography like flowers, landscape details and color which brings out more vivid details and saturation.  Look for color details and blocking while you are walking around. Finding someone wearing a bright color against some grey backdrop or with interesting texture will make your subject matter pop and make the image come alive.

 

 

Underneath the Bean experiment In Chicago

Underneath the Bean experiment In Chicago

 

 

10) Experiment – Grey and dull days typically produce very boring and cliché images. Why not just change your way of looking and interpreting by challenging yourself, experiment with new camera techniques, or better yet – go for that art interpretation. Why not, when the skies are grey, it’s time to think out of the box and really amp up your creative juices in these conditions.

 

 

Water taxi in Chicago

Water taxi in Chicago

 

If you enjoyed these camera tips, please check out some of my other photo tips below

Black and white photo tips for beginners

Capturing street images – some photo tips and techniques

15 Instagram tips for better photos and compositions

10 Photography tips for grey sky or rainy days

Flower and nature photography – tips on making your images pop

Photographing people – some tips and techniques

Photography tips for travel Photography

Travel photography – what to pack

Photo tip – backlighting your image

Photo tip – fill the frame

Food photography – making your images pop

 

Thanks for visiting, I hope that the 10 Photography tips on  grey sky and rainy days was helpful and made you think about what to do despite unfavorable conditions.  If you have any other favorite photography tips on rainy, grey sky days, please do share them in the comment section below, thank you.

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