DIY: Taking Photos on a Cloudy Day | Altamonte Springs Photographer

Taking Photos on Cloudy Days

Contrary to what you might think, when shooting in natural light, cloudy days / overcast weather, can turn out to be the best days for outdoor photography. In the photography industry we call clouds 'nature's soft box'. And they are exactly that! With proper composition, and shooting at adequate angles, clouds can help you bring out your subject in many flattering ways that the sun cannot. The most important, being that it provides you with soft, even light. For my style of photography, when I use a soft box or a reflector, I use them either as a fill or a bounce source, and I shoot at wider apertures and higher ISO to properly expose my image the way I want to. Depending on your style of photography, your use of these might be different, but nature's soft box is always the same. Learning how to take advantage of cloudy, overcast days, can take your photography to a whole new level!

Photos of Succulents and Cactus Flowers

I did these images today, after taking a glance outside and realizing that the beautiful, overcast weather we have in Altamonte Springs, would serve well to snap a few images of my succulents. I've never been one to love plants. In fact, I'm the kind of person that would be really excited about getting plants, and next thing you know, they would be life-less. dead. completely dead. And I don't know why! However, I never gave up. About 6 months ago, I began my little succulent nursery at home. I still have a whole lot to learn about succulents, and how to care for them, but at least they haven't died on me! Some of them I bought up in Ocala, others were gifted to me, and the rest I just buy each time I feel stressed, and bummed out. Succulents bring me happiness, and joy. There's something about them that function like an energy drink for me. Is this weird?! Anyways, today, they were my main subjects. Even when my subjects are not people, my main goal is always the same; to get the image right, in-camera, rather than shooting and relying solely on editing and post-processing. I guess this is the main reason why all my images always have the same vibe and feel. I hope my baby succulents bring you as much joy as they bring me, and that these tips that I'm sharing will help you take amazing photos of your plants, or the things you love! Comment, and let me know what you love about plants, or what your hobby is! I would love to read them :) 

Much love. As always, be inspired 💛

 This was my setup. I was out on the balcony, and I used two white cardboards, using the top one to bounce off the light that was coming in. I reposition myself for all the shots, so that I didn't have to move the cardboards. Sorry for the dirty cardboard! 

This was my setup. I was out on the balcony, and I used two white cardboards, using the top one to bounce off the light that was coming in. I reposition myself for all the shots, so that I didn't have to move the cardboards. Sorry for the dirty cardboard! 

 It's been raining on and off, which is why this succulent is still wet. However, I loved the glowy, slippery, feel it had on its leaves, and I didn't want to wipe all of the water out. I shot from mid-level at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

It's been raining on and off, which is why this succulent is still wet. However, I loved the glowy, slippery, feel it had on its leaves, and I didn't want to wipe all of the water out. I shot from mid-level at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the cardboards! Shot slightly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the cardboards! Shot slightly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 Shot completely from above, using the rule of thirds, and focusing on the cactus' body. This was shot at 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

Shot completely from above, using the rule of thirds, and focusing on the cactus' body. This was shot at 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 This was a really hard shot! I didn't want to shoot it directly from above, but I still wanted to create perspective, and light. So, I got on my knees, and shot slightly from above. Shot at 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

This was a really hard shot! I didn't want to shoot it directly from above, but I still wanted to create perspective, and light. So, I got on my knees, and shot slightly from above. Shot at 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 So much beauty!! Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

So much beauty!! Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 Clouds were beginning to get darker, and this little beauty is very tiny! So I had a noticeable change in the light coming in but I refused to change my settings because I was so in love with the vibe of my images. So for this one, I opened up the shadows, bumped my exposure (+1), added sharpness during post-processing with Lightroom. 

Clouds were beginning to get darker, and this little beauty is very tiny! So I had a noticeable change in the light coming in but I refused to change my settings because I was so in love with the vibe of my images. So for this one, I opened up the shadows, bumped my exposure (+1), added sharpness during post-processing with Lightroom. 

 Although the clouds had already began to get a bit darker, this cuteness is very tall compared to the flower cactus, since this one is ready to propagate. So I was still getting in some very gorgeous light, but not as much as I was at the beginning. I still chose not to make any drastic changes on my settings. Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus.

Although the clouds had already began to get a bit darker, this cuteness is very tall compared to the flower cactus, since this one is ready to propagate. So I was still getting in some very gorgeous light, but not as much as I was at the beginning. I still chose not to make any drastic changes on my settings. Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus.

 Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 Before and after of the image above. As you can see from this picture, you can tell that the majority of my work was done in-camera. As part of the post-processing of this image, I opened up the shadows a bit, and added sharpness, using Lightroom. 

Before and after of the image above. As you can see from this picture, you can tell that the majority of my work was done in-camera. As part of the post-processing of this image, I opened up the shadows a bit, and added sharpness, using Lightroom. 

 Shot from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

Shot from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 The soil from this momma succulent was very damp from all the rain, but I'm sure she'll be ok, and her little babies look beautiful! I was amused at the different tones of green, and yellow. And she had SO much detail. She's so pretty! Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

The soil from this momma succulent was very damp from all the rain, but I'm sure she'll be ok, and her little babies look beautiful! I was amused at the different tones of green, and yellow. And she had SO much detail. She's so pretty! Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

Shot at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 A different, but beautiful, succulent! Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

A different, but beautiful, succulent! Shot directly from above at 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 640, 85mm, manual focus. 

 With this one, I also opened up the shadows and increased my exposure a slight bit, during post-processing with Lightroom. 

With this one, I also opened up the shadows and increased my exposure a slight bit, during post-processing with Lightroom. 

My baby succulents were so much fun to shoot! My mayor challenge was the cactus flower, and the most interesting one to shoot was the momma succulent. I hope you enjoyed these beauties,  and learned that the next time it's overcast outside, go out there, take your camera, and make magic! 

If you're in Central Florida, you might be interested in this class that I'll be hosting in July! Learn Your Camera 101 - Beginner Photography Class 

Yanitza Ninett is a Lifestyle & Portrait Photographer based in Orlando, serving the Central Florida area, St. Augustine and Georgia. Her blog, Pieces of Me, features most of her work, along with photography tips, lifestyle sessions, personal experiences and travels. Yanitza Ninett documents Engagement Sessions, Beach Weddings, Seniors, Family Sessions & Boudoir. The YN Experience characterizes by giving an unforgettable photography experience along with professionalism and dedication. We are about telling stories...your story! Contact us for more info!