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How to shoot pictures with overcast skies

Overcast skies can be tricky for photographers, but sometimes they can be a blessing. Here are a few tricks to producing a beautiful image in spite of them.

Quick tip: Cutting off the sky can allow you to focus on the colors and details of the foreground.

Overcast skies can be tricky for photographers, but sometimes they can be a blessing. Depending on the time of day, a clear sky can hurt your pictures by washing out the colors. In my experience, at least a few clouds are always good because they add both texture and color to your picture. But if there are a few too many clouds in your way, here's a few tricks to producing a beautiful image in spite of them.

1. Boost ISO: Olympus America (and other photo sites) recommend that on partly cloudy days, try to stick with an ISO 200. But on extra cloudy days, bump it up to ISO 400.

2. Use a filter: If you have digital SLR camera and willing to spend a little for better pictures, consider purchasing a neutral density filter. A filter can give the photographer more flexibility when it comes to deciding aperture and exposure. Basically, this filter can reduce the contrast between the sky and your subjects on the ground, without harming the colors of either. 3. Portraits: If you're interested in outdoor portraiture, a cloudy day is far better for both you, your subject and the photo overall. Grey skies act as a natural diffuser, eliminating most shadows and reflections from your portrait. Plus, the subject is less likely to be squinty, shiny or sweating, making it easier for you to shoot a better image.

4. Avoid Infinity: If the skies aren't on your side and the color isn't working out, crop out the sky and try looking for a close-up subject. Using macro mode and/or zooming in with your lens, look for an object with extra details so the background doesn't matter as much.

5. B&W Filter: If you really can't seem to work with the colors in the photo, but you want to save the image, use a black and white overlay filter (available in any photo-editing program). You can just call it the Ansel Adams look.