Adelaide Sunset Cloudy
On Photography,  Tutorials

Bad Weather Photo Tips – What to Take if Weather Isn’t Lovely

You flew twelve hours to Japan in Economy Class. Finally it comes to a full-stop, you look outside – it is raining cats and dogs. How disappointing that is! I am sure many of you have had such kind of experience before. But don’t worry, this post will give you a few bad weather photo ideas, that will save your trip (and your mood).

But before going into details, here is the disclaimer.

The weather is crap. It really is.

There is no way that we can change it. And there is no possibility that you will take a postcard-like photograph, with blue sky and the beautiful skyline.

Let’s face it – that just will not happen.

I am not here to disappoint you. But we all have to face the reality.

So can we still take good photographs? The answer is a big yes.

How? In simple words, we have to change what we take. The sky is dull – then avoid it! A good photographer has to be flexible. Always remember, the weather cannot be changed, and the buildings cannot be moved. But we can always change our mindset. We can walk to another spot. We can rearrange and make a better composition. There is always a good photographer behind a good photograph.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some bad weather photo ideas.

Tips 1 – Avoid the Sky

Imagine you are driving a car on the Motorway. There is a big pothole in front of you. What are you going to do?

You avoid it.

As I have mentioned above – the same rule applies in photography. The sky is dull, boring, disgusting. Then avoid it! Take something else. Avoid showing the sky in your picture.

London Buckingham
Buckingham, London. Lovely greenish tone on a cloudy day.

A bright blue sky on a sunny day is great, but it can create problems as well. Sometimes the contrast is too big, which is particularly unfavourable for, say, portrait photographs. On the contrary, a cloudy day may look dull, but the lighting is much better for taking photographs. There are always two sides of a coin.


Tips 2 – Go Indoors

Basically an extension of the first tip. If there is absolutely no possibility that you can avoid showing the sky – then go indoors. Go to a museum, a library, a concert hall, anything you like.

British Museum
The British Museum in London.
Shen Zhen Library
Shenzhen Library in China. Lovely tone with a beautifully designed facade.

Put photography aside, if there is a heavy downpour, it is probably the wisest to stay indoors anyway.


Tips 3 – Black and White

You hate your photo because there is no saturated blue sky. The sky looks dull. Then exploit it – go fully desaturated.

The little “cheat” is to shoot in black and white.

By shooting in black and white, you are detaching colour from the photo. Sometimes colour is a distraction. By removing colour, you have to place greater emphasis on other elements, such as composition and contrast, just to name a few.

Black and white photos are often associated with vintage, antique, and fine art. It gives a special “feel” to the audience. You are shifting the attention from a very dull sky, to something positive – as being a great artsy photograph.

Big Ben
The Big Ben in London, in 2016. Note that it is currently (2020) under renovation. 
London Bus
A bus in London.


Tips 4 – Embrace It

Last tip sounds pessimistic – but it is not. It is quite the opposite.

This is life. Life is not perfect. Weather is not perfect either. But can we make good use of it?

It is overcast? Doesn’t matter. Clouds can be your friend, sometimes.

Saw that featured sunset photo on the top? I took that in Adelaide using my phone! A cloudy sunset can give fantastic colour and contrast!

Mount Eden Auckland New Zealand
Mount Eden Summit, Auckland, New Zealand. I love the clouds in this picture, which help bring out the contrast of the entire photo.
Port Willunga Australia
Port Willunga, South Australia. Interesting looking clouds at the background.


Be a Flexible Photographer

Those are my four tips for you, on a bad weather day. Of course, I hope weather is perfect throughout your trip, and you will not be using any of those. But these tips are just good to have in your pocket.

Let me just reiterate here – there is always a good photographer behind a good photograph. Be flexible, choose what to take wisely on a bad weather day. There is always something good to take, especially when you are travelling.

Do you have any other suggestions? If yes, share them with us please! Let us know by commenting below.

Also if you find this article useful, share it with your friends and family! Also, don’t forget to check out my other photos!

Thanks for reading!

Administrator of TraPhoner. Based in Asia. Traveller-photographer with just a phone.

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