Any outdoor photography relies heavily on the weather. Which can sometimes be incredibly frustrating if you were planning to photograph something specific. But one of the biggest attributes you need to be a great photographer is to be able to adapt to different conditions and change your plans if needed. Whether it’s raining, sunny or foggy there are opportunities to take great photos at any time. To help you, here is a guide on what to photograph in different weather conditions.
Bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds are perfect for any outdoor photography scenario. The only thing you need to be aware of is the direction of the light and its intensity. For example, avoid the period around midday when the light is far too harsh. Instead, aim for the morning and late afternoon for the main bulk of your photography.
Also, pay attention to the direction of the light as well. Try to avoid shooting straight into the sun which can mean blown out skies or dark areas such as shadows. Look to photograph with the sun either behind you or to the side. Not only will this light-up the scene better but also often give you a richer and bluer sky. One more thing, make sure you pay attention to where your shadow is falling.
Cloudy or overcast
Depending on the type of overcast sky that you get, anything like landscape photography might be off the cards. For example, a blanket white cloud will make the light flat and won’t give you much to work with for landscapes. But if you have different shades of greys in the clouds it can actually work to give you an interesting moody photo.
If you are faced with a bland overcast sky, spend your time focusing on things like portraits or even environmental portraits. Overcast skies act as a diffuser and help give you even light across a person’s face. This will help you avoid harsh shadows.
Another good subject to photograph in overcast conditions is food. Again the flat outdoor light is ideal in ensuring that the plate of food or ingredients don’t have harsh shadows on them.
Snow or icy conditions
Snow or ice is wonderful for any landscape photography. If it’s a little bit of dusting, it can be even better. This will give your photos a wonderful contrast and help them stand out. It’s not just wild landscapes that can look great with snow. Cities are also wonderful places to photograph when it is snowing or with snow in them.
If the forecast predicts icy or frosty conditions head out early in the morning to capture it before it melts. But you might also be lucky to get some mist appearing from the sun hitting the cold ground.
Mist or fog
Just like snow, ice and frost, mist or fog are also fantastic conditions to be out photographing in. If you can get up on the higher ground and look down, if there is low mist it can provide some of the best landscape photos you can imagine. Obviously, if it is very thick fog you may not be able to see much, but be patient as conditions can change very quickly.
You can just about photograph any landscape scene in these conditions. From cities to dramatic wilderness shots, they would all look great in these conditions.
No one likes being out in the rain, but rainy conditions can offer some nice alternative photos to the norm. For example, cities are good places to photograph in the rain as you’ll capture photos of reflection of lights on the ground. There is also often a nice contrast between the dark and moody scene and the bright umbrellas people carry.
Another good scenario to photograph during rain or immediately after it are forests and waterfalls. Forests will come alive after rain with foliage and fauna taking on an almost luminous green colour. These can pop against the darker surroundings of the rocks and mud. The rain can also help waterfalls become much more full and often colourful if some mud washes into the water.
But if you are photographing in the rain make sure that you keep your camera safe and dry. Wrap it in a plastic bag or even in a towel to make sure it stays dry.
If it’s heavy rainfall and you don’t want to get wet, look to photograph indoor scenarios such as museums and galleries (only if photography is allowed of course). You can also find covered markets where you can photograph food and the market vendors.
Extreme weather conditions
Anything from storms to lightning can also provide a great backdrop in any sort of landscape, cityscape or coastal photography. Whilst they may not give you those postcard type shots, they will often be far more dramatic and striking. But make sure you are keeping yourself and equipment safe. For example, be aware of things like lightning or even strong winds which can easily knock over your camera equipment.
Being able to photograph in different conditions is a must for any outdoor photographer. Most of the time you will find yourself without the perfect conditions for photos, so it is imperative to be able to adapt. Always remember that there is a perfect time and conditions to photograph everything. So if the conditions are not right for what you are photographing, find something that would be perfect for it.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.