Best Ways to Photograph Clouds

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Clouds can make all the difference in a photograph. Clouds can make a photograph highly dramatic and lend a touch of mystery to the picture.

If you look up at the sky, you will be able to see interesting cloud formations at different times of the day. Like snowflakes, no two formations are the exact same. Be it wispy, thick, dark or white, clouds can make a picture look extremely stunning. They can make the sky look calm and can also make it come alive with an intensity that is quite fascinating to look at.

Photographing clouds can have some wonderful outcomes. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques that can help you take amazing photographs of clouds.

Time of the Day

Needless to say, one of the best times to shoot clouds is a perfectly sunny day. The sun disappearing behind a thick cluster of milky white clouds can set the scene for your cloud photography session. It is wise to shoot when the sun is directly behind the cloud. That being said, shooting the clouds in the harsh mid-day sun may not be a good idea. This is because the brightness of the sky may be more than the range of your camera’s sensor.

Sunrises and sunsets can also add a very dramatic appeal to the scene and make the photos of the clouds look exquisite. The sky, at such times, is usually strewn with a variety of colors that make it quite appealing to look at. Therefore, these times are also known as the ‘magic hours’ of the day.

Weather Conditions

The weather condition combined with the time of the day can prove to be one of the primary aspects of the light conditions for cloud photography. A sunny weather as well as an overcast sky can be great conditions for cloud photography. However, predicting the weather to take the best shots of clouds can be quite difficult.

Since you would not know when the ideal weather conditions are going to present themselves, one of the ways to take the perfect shot is by keeping a watch on the sky throughout the day. Find out about the types of clouds that are forming and how long they take to travel directly overhead and how quickly they dissipate.

That being said, keep in mind that stormy weather can also be wonderful, find out whether there would be any storm in the day and be prepared to capture the mysterious, low-hanging clouds. Such weather condition present a number of options, including opportunities to photograph lightning.

Composition

While clouds can be exquisite subjects, you may consider including other elements in the image to make it even more interesting and lend it some context. Foreground elements like poles, street lamps etc. can make the photo quite interesting.

A lot relies on the composition of the photo. If you plan on ensuring that the sky dominates the photo, capture the photo in a way that reserves two-thirds of the image. However, if you want the clouds to enhance your landscape photography, you can click the photo in a way that the clouds take up only one-third of the photo. This will put the maximum focus on the landscape.

You can also consider including a partial frame in the photo with trees to lend a unique touch to the photos.

Exposure

While photographing clouds, attaining the perfect exposure can be a bit of a problem. If you plan on exposing the clouds, you might end up underexposing the foreground. However, exposing for the landscape could mean that the clouds will be overexposed.

One of the best ways to avoid this problem is by using a Graduated Neutral Density filter. This helps in reducing the exposure gap. Another method would be to take more than one picture of the scene with different exposures. This way, you will be able to select the best one from the lot. This is also known as bracketing the shots.

Since clouds move quickly, it is wise not to use long exposures since that may ruin the shot.

You should carry a tripod to ensure that the images are sharp. Also, your photography skills should be updated. If you live in Dubai, you can consider joining photography classes in Dubai for this purpose. These tips will ensure that you take perfect photographs of clouds every time.