People often view stormy weather as a bad thing. It does present its challenges, but at the same time, we need rain for our crops and snow for entertainment. Of course, we are not talking about extreme weather here like hurricanes and tornadoes, but certainly, the drab, dreary weather that makes us want to stay in bed is what I think of as inclement weather.
For me, I look at bad weather as an opportunity. How can I take the best photos possible given the many challenges such as dark, dingy backgrounds, fuzzy, fog-filled air, and drops of moisture on the lens? In reality, these are all conditions that can make a photo spectacular. You just have to have some ideas to work with them. So what I am going to do is give you six of my best pointers to help get great pics during bad weather.
Six Simple Photography Lessons:
#1 – Be Prepared:
Taking spectacular photos during a storm is the difference between being there and being ready versus being home and thinking about it. Shots of lighting result in very mysterious and even sinister photos. These are definitely conversation starters. A flood of water or an avalanche of mud or snow can certainly create an awesome wall hanging. But you must venture out and go looking.
#2 – Use a Tripod:
When the weather is bad, you have more chance of “camera shake”, which is going to make your photo too blurry and unrecognizable. It’s important to steady the camera lens, which might be difficult in high winds and blustery conditions. To capture the weather happening, you’ll need a slower shutter speed, so there is more chance of a bad pic. For this type of shot, the best thing to do is bring your tripod along and attach the camera.
#3 – Focus On One Subject or Spot:
I’ve said before that you need to focus on something. That in turns becomes your subject, but the problem is when shooting inclement weather, this point is even more crucial. The reason being, a lot is going on around the subject. The photo will already be cluttered, so while I understand that you need to work fast to capture the event, be sure to make it count.
#4 – Under-Expose the Background:
If you are taking pics of a lightning crack, by under-exposing the background, you bring attention to the light streaks and create something quite dramatic. Of course, you’ll need to learn a bit about exposure, but that is a task that you can practice. This point alone can be your assignment.
#5 – Foreground Gives Depth:
When taking photos of landscape in bad weather, to get the full dimension of what is happening, provide a worthy foreground. While you focus on the subject, try to get complimentary landscape upfront, so that your photo has depth and it highlights the subject.
#6 – Dry Camera and Lens:
Finally, this may seem obvious, but keep your equipment dry. Don’t tape plastic all over the camera, as there is no room for the air to circulate, but do have a towel or clean rag handy to wipe off droplets of water. If you change lenses, look for an overhang in the surrounding landscape and stand underneath. Even large trees will do in a pinch, just be careful of lightning.
Additional Photography Lessons and Tips:
1. You know I love National Geographic, so here’s an article from them.
2. A Video with Examples of a Fashion Shoot in Really Bad Weather