Two ways to add drama to an overcast sky

In this video I show you a couple of ways to add texture and drama to a dull and boring sky.

Maybe you avoid going out for a photo walk on an overcast day. I hope this post changes your mind!

Here’s a couple of photos showing the before and after of what I’m talking about doing here.

drama1a drama1b

For these methods I’m going to demonstrate, you need a landscape photo that was shot on an overcast day, with a sky having little or no contrast.




Recipe 1 – Cell phone and Snapseed

  • Take a couple of photos of your landscape with your smart phone.
  • Download the free app called Snapseed. I’ve blogged about this app before, you can read that here.
  • Scroll down to the filter section, and choose the Drama Filter
  • Usually it boosts the contrast immediately to acceptable results.
  • Lower the strength if you think it’s too much drama.
  • Adjust the Saturation. The default is -40. I personally like a fully saturated landscape so that I keep any colour that is in the shot. So I usually put this slider back to 0.
  • Save the photo.
  • You can also transfer photos to your iPhone or iPad using WiFi or Dropbox, and then apply the filter to a digital camera file. This is what I usually do as I don’t like the quality of photos from my iPhone.

Recipe 2 – In camera method – For Lumix Lovers

Lumix cameras have a bunch of built-in creative filters. Other camera brands have filters too, but I only have first hand experience with Lumix. The camera shown in the video is the Lumix GM1, but all Lumix cameras have these built-in creative effects.

  • You can set up your camera to take two photos with and without the filter effects.
  • You can also shoot jpg + raw and only the jpg will have the filter effects.
  • To get a dramatic sky, choose the Impressive Art filter.
  • Take a test photo.
  • Adjust the filter to suit your taste, as shown in the video.
  • Take another test photo.
  • You’re done!

There are more ways to juice up a flat looking sky, such as using other software filters, apps, Instagram filters, and pre-sets in post processing, but these are the two I use the most. My favourite is Snapseed.

Want some more fun?

Use these methods to juice up other photos too. I use it a lot to liven up my skateboard photos on a dull day.

drama2 drama3 drama4 drama5

If you’re interested in seeing more of my skateboarding photos, check out my Instagram feed. I’m @imagemaven

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p.s. If you’re interested in learning more about Snapseed, I’ve got blog post on using the grungy filters.

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