Summer Weather: Tips for Photographing Sunny through Stormy-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 5

Summer is filled with outdoor adventures and with the outdoors comes weather. I absolutely love incorporating elements of weather into my summer images. A photographer has no control over the weather but we can make the most of what nature sends our way when we embrace all weather conditions.

Here are a few of my favourite weather conditions and tips for capturing them.

1. Incoming storms

Stormy weather is one of my favourite weather phenomenons. I adore drama in the sky! When I’m out capturing images of my children in storms I am cautious about weather turning quickly. Being aware is important during stormy weather. If it’s safe to be outside I will capture a quick image or two but we usually stay fairly close to shelter for comfort and safety reasons. When I’m photographing dynamic weather scenes I often like to underexpose my scene in order to maintain detail in the highlights, which are usually in the sky.

ISO 200, 16mm, f9, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f9, 1/500SS

2. Overcast and rainy

Don’t let a rainy day keep you inside! Exploring in the rain and capturing rainy day images can be fun too, as long as you are prepared! When I’m out capturing rainy day images I always make sure I travel light and with a waterproof bag to store my camera in when I’m not using it. I also always pack and use a rain sleeve. Rain sleeves are the absolute best gear accessory in inclement weather. They are affordable and really easy to use. I also like to carry an umbrella with me to cover myself and my gear. Yes, it can be a little awkward holding an umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other but as long as I’m not using heavy lenses I can easily still capture my children without getting myself drenched! I also like to carry a small towel with me. This serves to dry off any rain drops that happen to land on my lens in addition to dry off my camera, if necessary. Keep an eye out in all directions because if the rain is only a passing storm you may be able to capture a rainbow as it emerges when the sun comes back out!

ISO 200, 16mm, f4, 1/6400SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f4, 1/6400SS

3. Fog or smoke

Where I live we don’t get a lot of fog however unfortunately during the summer months we can get smoke from forest fires. Smoke presents similar to fog in that it creates a flat light situation. Due to the fact that the sky is typically not all that dynamic in these weather situations I tend to compose my images in a way that places emphasis on foreground elements as opposed to the view. I also like to shoot colourful scenes in this type of weather with brightly coloured subjects as I think this adds some interest into a foggy or smoky image.

ISO 200, 35mm, f4, 800SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f4, 800SS

4. Full sun

Adventures happen all summer long and we are going to be playing in full sun. I have several posts on The Photographer’s Notebook dedicated to managing full sun situations. In the image below I waited until a cloud had passed over the sun, which diffused the bright light before I captured the image. This is a great way in which to manage full sun situations. Another tip here is to underexpose your image a bit in order to retain detail in the sky. You can lift your shadows in post processing and bring them back but straight out of camera your sky will be preserved because of the underexposure.

ISO 200, 16mm, f10, 1/250SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f10, 1/250SS

You can find My Three Best Tips for Managing Full Sun here. Don’t let those summer memories pass you by! Beautiful photographs can be created in all types of weather. In fact I think incorporating the element of weather can add emotion and interest into an image which strengthens the storytelling within the frame.

Next week is all about those little summer details in Part 6 of The Sensational Summer Photography Series! Talk to you then!