For those of us that currently live in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is on its way out and spring is right around the corner.
Spring can be described as having all the weather conditions and it can change in an instant – despite what the weatherman says. Being a photographer, you have no control over the weather.
But I say, give me all the fog, snow, rain and wind!
When the weather suddenly shifts, people start to take cover and I love to shoot in what you call real weather because that’s when you get the dramatic skies and the sudden shaft of sunlight as the clouds part way.
This gives me the opportunity to create emotion and to capture textures and dimension in an otherwise ordinary scene.
Protect your gear
First and foremost, before you grab your camera and go running into a thunderstorm, you need to protect your gear. A great way to do this is with a rain guard.
You also need to pick a lens and stick with it – don’t try to switch lenses when the sleet is coming down and could get water inside your camera.
If it’s very cold outside, one danger that will be presented to you is condensation on the cold surfaces. Not when you are outside but when you come back inside where it’s warm. What I like to do is put my camera inside a large Ziploc freezer bag. The condensation will form on the outside of the bag and your camera will stay dry.
1. Cloudy/overcast skies
My favorite weather to photograph in, besides fog, is a gloomy overcast day.
The clouds act as a natural light diffuser and can be ideal weather for portraits. Your subject will be evenly lit and there will be no strong contrasts, harsh light or unwanted shadows. You can go both outdoors and indoors.
This is the kind of light that I love to use indoors when taking a food photograph or a portrait of my son beside a window.
You’re outside and start to see the rain clouds start to roll in. Don’t be afraid and run inside. Instead, protect your gear and use the rain and moody clouds to your advantage.
I see so many opportunities to capture moments in the rain whether that be your child trying to catch rain drops on their tongue or jumping in a puddle, using your tripod and capturing a wide angle landscape shot of rain clouds to practicing your macro work and capture rolling drops of rain.
And a quick video on how I would edit in this situation…
Fog is my absolute favorite kind of weather for photos. It adds a certain element of mystique and interest without doing much of anything.
Fog also helps to re-direct the light rays and spreads them evenly. This gives you wonderfully diffused light. I also love to shoot in fog because it separates the subject from the background beautifully. It adds just the right amount of magic to almost any situation!
Use the same practice as you would in rain to protect your gear but also protect yourself as well.
I use warm fingerless mittens with a cover when shooting outside in the cold to protect my hands. Remember to always have an extra camera battery on hand as the cold drains batteries faster.
Snow photos can be very tricky from a technical standpoint. The surface is reflective and can distort color. I tend to underexpose just a tiny bit so that I do not lose detail in the snow. It’s very easy to over expose highlights and I tend to photograph snow when it’s overcast outside or during golden hour.
The best way to feel comfortable in any weather condition with your photography is to just get out and practice. Spring can give us a lot of uncertainty with the weather and if the predictions were not accurate and you find yourself outside unsure of what to expect, you’ll be prepared!