5 Tips For Using Weather to Create Amazing Photography

cloudy day
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When I first started getting interested in photography, I thought that a bright, sunny day would be the best day for taking pictures.

And while I love the bright blue Colorado skies, they aren’t the best for taking photos. Especially at high noon.

6 Types of Weather and How to Maximize Them

sunny beach photo with boat

1. Sunny

Like I said above, I used to think a sunny day was a perfect day for photos. But this isn’t true.

If you have a sunny day, that usually means the sun is going to be too bright to take evenly lit, evenly exposed photos. Everything is too harsh or blown out to make a good image.

So what can you do if you need to shoot on a sunny day?

Here are some tips:

  1. Try to capture a sunburst (for landscape photos)
  2. Block your lens from lens flare with your hand or a lens hood
  3. Try to shoot in the morning or evening (if possible)
  4. Find open shade (if you are shooting portraits) to cover your subjects from the sun.
  5. Have your subjects face their shadows to avoid harsh dark circles under their eyes and squinting.

Here are some examples of awesome sunny photos:

cloudy day

2. Cloudy

For most photographers, cloudy is the ideal weather if shooting during the day.

For landscape photographers, clouds add interest to the sky and decrease the highlights. For portrait photographers, clouds give a more even light so people won’t be squinty or have blown out skin.

So if you have a cloudy day to shoot, be thankful! Get your camera out and take some amazing pictures, no matter your subject.

Here are some examples of awesome cloudy photos:

child playing in puddle

3. Raining

Most people would look at a rainy day and just give up. But if you can brave the weather, you can get some unexpected shots you can’t get any other time.

So pack up your gear, cover your camera with a large plastic baggie and get out there.

In Colorado, my favorite part about shooting in the rain is that we almost always have rainbows after rain. And they are spectacular.

Here are some examples of awesome raining photos for inspiration:

snowy scene with wolf

4. Snowing

If you live in a snowy climate, you don’t want to quit shooting outside for 6 months out of the year. That’s crazy!

There are several things you can do to take advantage of the snow:

  • Take kids playing in the snow, snow angels, snowball fights, building snowmen
  • Watch the forecast and find a day that will be clear right after a snow storm. That will give you a clean, crisp snow for landscape pictures.
  • Before a snow storm, you can get some great cloudy shots that are dark and moody.
  • I love to take pictures of single snowflakes. They are so individual and unique. Great for macro photography.

For more tips on winter photography, check out this blog post —>12 Quick and Simple Tips for Winter Photography.

Here are some examples of awesome snowy photos:

lightning over the mountain

5. Stormy w/Lightning

Storms are great times to take photos. Dark clouds, lightning and wind can make for epic pictures. And lightning isn’t an easy thing to capture.

To catch lightning, here are some tips:

  • Safety first. If the lightning is close by, shoot from a car or building instead of standing out in a field somewhere.
  • Use a tripod to get crisp, clear images.
  • Use a long exposure to capture the lightning.
  • Use manual focus because your subject is not there when you are setting the focus.

For more information on lightning photography, I love this post by Click and Learn Photography –> How to Photography Lightning: Top Tips for Shooting the Storm.

Here are some examples of awesome storm/lightning photos:


6. Tornado

This one is kinda scary. Tornados are dangerous, no joke.

If you can get in with an experienced storm chaser, you might get a shot at a great photograph. Or if a tornado comes to your town, you might get a shot.

Tornado photos are mesmerizing, just like the movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the movie Twister, and I still sit down and watch it when it comes on tv.

I don’t have any tips on this one because even though I grew up in Texas, I have never actually been in a tornado.

Here are some examples of awesome tornado photos for inspiration:

5 Tips For Using Weather to Create Amazing Photography

1. Get a good weather app

In order to shoot the weather, you need to know what will be going on day by day. And although the joke around our house is that the weather man has the easiest job, weather forecasting can be quite complicated.

Here are a few weather apps to help you know what’s going on in advance:

2. Protect your gear

You may have thousands of dollars invested in your camera gear. You don’t want to get it ruined by weather.

  • If you are going to get wet, cover your camera with a weather proof case or a large ziploc bag.
  • If you are out in the cold, let your camera climatize to the weather so you don’t get hazy photos.
  • You can use a clear filter to cover your lens and protect it, if necessary.
  • Keep your camera in the bag when you can and have a good camera strap to keep it close when you are using it.
  • You may also want to purchase camera insurance just incase something happens to your gear.

These tips will help you keep your gear safe in different weather scenarios.

3. Be creative

When you have interesting weather to shoot in, creativity is the name of the game.

Anyone can shoot on an overcast, boring day. That’s easy.

But shooting in a storm or in snow can present its challenges. Use composition and lighting to bring out the best in these situations with creativity and experimentation.

4. Dress for the occasion

A photographer that is cold or wet is probably not going to take as good of shots as someone who was prepared for the situation.

Shivering makes for shaky photos. If you are uncomfortable, you won’t slow down and take more time to get the best shot.

So make sure you have the appropriate rain/snow gear for your situation.

  • Use gloves made for photographers to keep your hands warm.
  • Proper coat, footwear and hats are a must too.
  • If you need it, grab an umbrella to cover you and your gear in rain.

5. Try again later

Weather situations can be unpredictable. Sometimes they can be amazing and sometimes they are a straight up disaster.

If things don’t turn out right the first time, don’t give up.

Watch the weather and try again. That is the great thing about digital cameras. You can keep taking shots until you get it right.

Each time you go out, you will get better at the photography and braving the elements.

I encourage you to look at the examples provided for each weather condition and take note of the tips given.

Then the next time a challenging weather condition presents itself, instead of packing it up, be creative. Try something new.

You never know what you might get. The weather change just might give you your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken!

What is your favorite weather to shoot in? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!

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