We can plan for a lot of things as photographers, but one wildcard is always the weather.
Luckily, great photos can be made in any condition. No matter what Mother Nature has in store, there is always a way to use it to your advantage.
Here are some ideas for what to photograph, rain or shine:
Clear and Sunny:
Bright days can be some of the most challenging for photography. Direct sun will create both very harsh shadows and super bright spots in your scene. This high contrast lighting can make it tricky to get good exposure, and it’s unflattering for many subjects such as portraits.
However, black and white images look awesome with high contrast light, and they are my go-to for bright, sunny days. Both landscape and architecture scenes work particularly well with this technique.
Bright sun also gives the opportunity to create “high key” images that feel light and airy such as the photo below.
Another idea is to embrace the intense shadows by photographing silhouettes!
Cloudy days are perfect for portraits! The light is soft and diffused which is very flattering for faces. If you have a sunny day but want to mimic lovely, overcast light, look for shade in the side of a building or under a tree. This can be another great option for people photography even if there are no clouds.
Overcast days are also wonderful for photographing waterfalls or flowing water.
This is the one that makes most people hide indoors. However, for those willing to venture out, there are opportunities to find reflections and puddles galore. It’s also the best time to photograph flowers, greenery, or fall foliage. If you bring a polarizing filter to cut the glare, that will help the colors to really pop!
Here’s your chance to photograph motion. If you combine a windy day with a slow shutter speed, you have the chance to artistically blur motion creating patterns such as this field of grass swaying in the wind.
Or try freezing motion on a windy day with a fast shutter speed.
Fog, Mist, and Snow:
These scenarios give you the chance to shoot a moody, monochromatic scene. Look for leading lines, interesting shapes, and splashes of color. This is a great time for your model to wear a colorful jacket or scarf, so they really stand out against the haze.
When photographing in misty or foggy weather, it’s important to have a point of interest close to your camera. Anything that’s too far away will get obscured by the water droplets in the air and blend into the background too much.
I hope this gives you plenty of ideas for photographing, no matter what the weather forecast is.
Once you know how to make the most of any weather situation, there’s really no reason to hide inside with your camera.