It seems like all us Brits do, is talk about the weather, but it is an element that all photographers have to account for when using their equipment outside. Sometimes it is expected (like rain in London), but other times it can take you completely by surprise. We will discuss some aspects of the weather that can be utilised to change your image or to make the most of your image when the weather isn’t behaving!
Typically we get a lot of rain in London/UK, so I am always having to consider the effect of moving water (active rain) and still water (the puddles left behind) on the subject matter.
Focus on water droplets – get up close to water droplets either on or through windows, or in nature, with droplets lingering in flowers and leaves
Check out your reflection – with a wide enough lens, you may be able to capture both your subject and their/its reflection in puddles, or do you even need to see your subject, is the reflection sufficient?
Contrast and Texture – a cobbled street, licked with rainwater adds an unusual shiny element, look at how water changes the texture of your scene
Atmosphere – when shooting in the rain, the light is generally a lot less, this can add an atmospheric element with increasing your ISO to capture your subject, making the image a bit grainier and possible gritty. This ultimately depends on your subject (probably not best for portraits)
One of the best weather conditions for mood, whether it’s creepy or romantic. As the light is limited and quite diffuse, you will need to use longer exposure times, so a tripod is pretty handy.
Depth – it’s often helpful to have at least some of your subject close to the camera, as further away from the camera the image loses contrast and can become lost
Scatter the Light – Fog and mist is often heavy with water droplets and can cause a scattering of light that would not otherwise be possible. This can be in a gorgeous soft focus or can be in beams or rays of light
Silhouettes – fog and mist can emphasise the shape of subjects because it downplays their internal texture and contrast. Often, the subject can even be reduced to nothing more than a simple silhouette
Black and White – as colours can sometimes be lost with fog, as well as texture and contrast, it can be beneficial to consider your composition as if you are shooting in monochrome
Frost transforms things into artwork. On leaves, subtle edge and vein patterns stand out boldly as interesting designs and formations on windows can be fascinating.
Ice, Ice Baby – the ones that form on plants at night provide attractive details that are perfect for a macro lens
Contrast – frost can create contrast and texture in landscape scenes that may be lacking in light
White Out! – Under fresh snow the camera will try to under-expose the shot, making it look an unattractive grey. Keep an eye on your white balance to make the snow as white as you can see it
Don’t forget that weather is light, one of the most energetic and dynamic subjects matters out there. Step out of your comfort zone and even when the weather looks a bit grim, still get out there! Stay safe out there though.
See another of our photography guides on the weather here