Taking Great Photos In Spite Of These 3 Common Weather Related Roadblocks

When the weather takes a turn for the worse it can be difficult to muster up the motivation to get out there and make photographs. On top of that, when you’re not a fan of the weather forecast in the first place, it can be impossible to even imagine you would find something inspiring to photograph out there even if you were to brave the elements. However, pushing ourselves to do something that falls outside of our comfort zones is what makes us stronger photographers.

So, let’s take a look at three common weather conditions that can impact our photography and talk about some different ways you can conquer it. (And hopefully, we can turn any dread into anticipation!)

1. Snow

  • In most cases, it’s okay to slightly overexpose the snow, since it will still look like snow even if it’s a little blown out. This will allow you to achieve a correct exposure on darker objects or people in your photo.
  • During post production, you may need to boost the contrast a little to breathe a little life back into a flat, grey photo of snow. Experiment with the sliders until you find a setting that fits your taste.

2. Rain

Photo: Balloon/Weather by Jack Wallsten
Photo: Balloon/Weather by Jack Wallsten
  • Some of the best rain photos are not of the raindrops falling, but of the scenarios and effects created by a rainfall. Try capturing reflections of trees or buildings in puddles or beads of rainwater on different surfaces like windows, metal, leaves, etc…
  • Rainy days are also great days to capture some street photography shots as people are often carrying interesting umbrellas and wearing eye catching rain boots (both of which make for interesting silhouettes), and you can often find people doing something interesting to avoid getting wet!

3. Fog

Photo by Tiffany Mueller
Photo by Tiffany Mueller
  • Keeping your subject closer to the camera will help keep them sharp in focus, instead falling off into the foggy background.
  • Use a tripod to help tackle low light and prevent motion blur. If you don’t have a tripod, adjust your ISO upwards to allow for shorter exposure times.

Weatherproofing Your Gear

Alright, are you starting to get excited about your next “bad” weather photo adventure? Before you head out, make sure you’ve got what you need to keep your gear safe and protected from the weather. If it’s going to be wet outside–snow, rain, sleet, etc–you can keep your camera dry by using a number of methods. Many people have great success using a large plastic bag as a DIY rain sleeve. If you’re not so trusting, you can always consider investing in a cover that was designed specifically for your camera, such as a Dicapac.

Protect your camera from rain and snow with a plastic bag, Photo: Prof by ellsa
Protect your camera from rain and snow with a plastic bag, Photo: Prof by ellsa

You may also be inclined to try to keep your camera warm when it’s cold outside. The cold can temporarily disable your cameras LCD screen and shorten battery life. But, switching your camera from a cold atmosphere to a warm atmosphere can cause your lens to fog up and put your camera at risk of condensation getting inside of it.

You can prevent that by placing your camera in a enclosed plastic bag (which is at the outside, cold temperature) before bringing your camera into a warm place like your car, house, or even under your jacket. Allow the camera to come to room temperature before removing it from the bag. By doing so, any condensation that will form will form on the outside of the bag and not your camera. If this is not possible and condensation does accumulate on your camera, be sure not to remove the lens until the camera has warmed and all there is no more condensation.

Safety First

Last but not least, remember to always use your best judgement when heading outside in inclement weather–safety should always come first! If it’s too wicked outside, try coming up with some indoor photography projects as an alternative.