The weather doesn’t always cooperate with our schedules. And even when we plan, there are still surprise storms or windy days. So when you’re at a family reunion or on vacation, but the weather isn’t on your side, what do you do?

Take pictures from slightly above

Overcast days can make people’s faces flat and their eyes dull. So, when you can, get up on a step stool to get slightly above eye level. Your subjects will have to look up–and in doing so, their eyes will catch more light, making for a much better picture.

Use color pops

On a gray, overcast day, dress your subjects in bright, fun colors and use that as your focus. Their clothes or props can make your images much more interesting. You can also make sure their backgrounds are much lighter or darker so that they will stand out rather than blend into a cloudy sky.

Choose your setting carefully

Water features and waterfalls look amazing without harsh overhead lighting. So if you and your family are near waterfalls, now is the time to gather them in for a scenic shot that includes your vacation spot. Or, if you’re not near a waterfall, check out the woods, if there are any nearby. The leaves and branches overhead diffuse lighting, making it good for any weather.

Buildings and other settings can help you shape the lighting around your subjects as well. Use your setting to create or reduce shadows and contrast on an overcast, gray day.

Catch your family at play

Trying to pose family members in the rain may turn out to be a miserable experience, memorable for all the wrong reasons. If your family members play in the rain instead when it’s safe, get photos of that. Rain and wind can be great for spontaneous shots of emotion or instinctual behavior that you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Other bad weather tips

  • When photographing during a storm, don’t try to capture the sky, since rainy skies are gray and flat. Instead, focus in tight on your subjects.
  • If you want to capture the sky, or if you must, use it as a flat backdrop. A cloudy sky will flatten out to white or light gray.
  • Stop and think about the lighting. Poor lighting doesn’t mean you can’t take pictures; it only means you have to approach it differently.
  • Weatherproof your camera, both in and out of the bag, to keep it safe during wet weather. While you’re at it, dress warm and dry so you can focus on your pictures, not on how miserable you are!
  • Storms create low lighting, so you’ll need longer exposures. Check your settings to make sure you’re getting enough light, with an ISO between 400 and 1600.
  • Since you need longer exposures, use a tripod, especially if it’s windy.


How have your overcast or rainy photos turned out? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks here, too!