If you love outdoor photography, then you will know there are few things as beautiful as having clouds in your pictures. When done correctly, your scene will stand out and will leave anyone who sees it breathless.
However, taking great cloud photos is not easy. It is something that you have to learn and take time to master. You will need to understand how weather conditions affect your photos and when is the right time to shoot. Some days may be dull, grey, and cloudy, which makes it hard to get great cloud photos. On the other hand, you may be able to get bright sunny days which will make your photos to stand out.
No matter the case, taking great cloud photos is not just about the weather, you need to understand what time to shoot and also master your camera settings. There are some camera settings that will allow you to give another dimension to your cloud photos and make them stand out.
In this article, you will learn about some important tips that can make your cloud photos stand out.
1. Bright Sun and Dynamic Cloud Movement Makes Best scene
If you want to capture a breath-taking and jaw-dropping cloud photos, plan your shoot when the sun is brightest and cloud movement is dynamic. These two periods make the best shot.
If the sun is very bright and keeps on appearing and disappearing behind the clouds, it is your cue to shoot. Most professional photographers have tried this and the result is always awesome.
You need to plan your shoot in advance, master your camera and input the settings on time while you wait for this condition to be perfected. Once you have it the way you want it, take as many shoots as you can and then select the best ones later.
2. Shoot During Sunset For Vibrant Colors
When it comes to mastering how to shoot great cloud photos, one thing every photographer has to learn is the best time of the day to take the shot. Of course, if you want to capture vibrant cloud colors, you will have to wait till sunset. This is because when the sun goes down on the horizon, it makes the sky and the clouds to take on different hues of yellow, orange, pink, and blue.
Most clouds photos with vibrant colors were probably taken during the sunset. It doesn't matter your location, if your aim is to capture beautiful clouds with vibrant colors, then you will have to wait for the sunset.
3. Use Your Tripod and Bracket Exposures To Capture Various Moods
At this stage, you must have understood how important tripod is to your photography career. You need it for various shoots. If you want to shoot the clouds with a DSLR, I will definitely recommend that you make use of your tripod and then take multiple photos in "Auto exposure mode" or "Auto bracketing mode". Doing this will help you produce different moods from the same cloud condition.
It is quite easy to use this setting, start by setting your camera to "Aperture Priority" and then turn on "Auto bracketing” (AEB). I will recommend that you set your bracket exposures to -1.0, and +1. Using the above setting will ensure you get three pictures of the clouds at different exposures.
4. Use a Polarizing Filter
Next to tripod is a polarizing filter, this tool can save you in a lot of situations. With a polarizing filter, you can be able to separate the clouds from the sky as well as darken the sky.
Using polarizing filter is easy, just attach it to the front of your lens and then rotate until the effect becomes obvious in the viewfinder. You can make your cloud photos "pop" when you are using a polarizing filter at the right angle. One of the best functions of this tool is to block certain light waves from entering the lens.
5. Master Exposure Length
For most photographers, it is extremely tempting to use long exposures in order to create a smooth, silky look of the cloud. Unfortunately, this may not be possible in every situation. This is because clouds often move very fast. This happens when they are very low. What this means is that using long exposures can completely ruin your images and eliminate all forms and shapes from the clouds.
I will recommend using shorter exposure times if you want to bring out the clouds as separate elements. However, you can use long exposures if you plan on capturing a surreal sky. The fact is that there are no rules of thumb for the shutter speed; it mostly depends on what you want to achieve.
6. Weather Conditions
Despite the fact that the best time to shoot great clouds photos is on sunny days, you can still capture fascinating shots on bad weather days. Unfortunately, this will take some learning and experience. In fact, some of the best cloud photos were captured during the bad weather days.
If you take your time to learn weather conditions, you will be able to learn how you can turn bad weather days to your advantage and produce awe-inspiring cloud photos.
7. Post-Process Your Photos
Your camera might have done a great job. Unfortunately, taking great cloud photos does not end with your camera. You can still make your images stand out and more dramatic just by spending a little time post-processing your shots.
If you are still learning how to post-process images, you can read up online or find someone to teach you. When you are done post-processing your images the right way, you will definitely be impressed with your results.