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Photography Tips: Good Shots In Bad Weather

beginners creative tips Jun 12, 2024

Weather conditions are often seen as obstacles in photography, but they can actually be used to create stunning, atmospheric images. Rain, storms, and snow each bring their own unique challenges and opportunities, and shouldn’t be a barrier to creative photography.


Rain: Capturing the Mood

Photographing in the rain can add a dramatic and moody feel to your images. Rain creates reflections, diffuses light, and can even introduce interesting elements like raindrops and puddles. We get a lot of rain here in the UK, but there are brief gaps, and those are the best times to get out and take photographs, when the pavements are still wet. Depending on the time of year, rain storms are often followed by bright sunlight as the clouds blow over, and these dramatic moments are well worth capturing.


Technical Tips:

Protection: Use a rain cover for your camera and lens to keep your gear dry. Consider using an umbrella to shield yourself and your equipment (an assistant is a very good idea if you can persuade someone to get wet with you!)

Reflections: Look for reflections in wet surfaces like roads and pavements. The rain can create a mirror effect that adds depth and interest to your composition. (These are best when the rain has actually stopped but the pavements are still wet).

Raindrops: Capture raindrops on windows or other surfaces for abstract and detailed shots. Use a macro lens for close-ups to highlight the texture and patterns.

Shutter Speed: Adjust your shutter speed to capture the rain. A fast shutter speed (1/500s or higher) will freeze the raindrops, while a slower speed (1/30s) will create streaks, giving a sense of movement.

ISO and Aperture: Increase ISO (400-800) to compensate for lower light during most rain showers, and use a wider aperture (f/2.8 to f/5.6) to allow more light into the camera.


For Phone Photographers:

- Use a waterproof case or cover for your phone.

- Look for reflections and raindrops on windows or surfaces.

- Adjust your phone’s settings to increase ISO and use burst mode to capture multiple shots quickly if there are moving elements to your composition so you can choose the best later on.


Stormy Skies: Dramatic and Dynamic

Stormy skies can add drama and intensity to your photographs. The dark clouds create a powerful backdrop, and the light that breaks through after a storm can transform a scene.


Technical Tips:

Cloud Formations: Capture the dramatic shapes and textures of storm clouds. Wide-angle lenses can help encompass the vastness of the sky. Look for splashes of colour within a drab scene to provide a focal point for the viewer.

Contrast and Highlights: Increase contrast in post-processing to emphasize the difference between the dark clouds and any light breaking through. Black and White images work particularly well with storm clouds.

Light After the Storm: After the storm passes, be ready for bursts of sunlight. This light can create stunning effects, illuminating the landscape in a magical way.

Lightning: If you’re feeling adventurous, try capturing lightning. Use a tripod, a long exposure (10-30 seconds), and a narrow aperture (f/8 to f/11) to increase your chances of getting the shot. A remote shutter release can help avoid camera shake.


For Phone Photographers:

- Use HDR mode to capture a wide range of light and dark areas.

- Use apps that allow manual control of exposure and focus to better capture lightning and cloud details.


Snow: Embracing the Cold

Snow can transform a landscape into a winter wonderland, adding a magical quality to your photographs. It’s perfect for creating high-contrast scenes and adding a sense of calm and stillness.


Technical Tips:

Exposure Compensation: Snow can fool your camera’s light meter into underexposing the scene. Use exposure compensation (+1 to +2 stops) to ensure the snow appears white, not grey.

White Balance: Adjust your white balance to avoid blue-tinted snow. Use the ‘shade’ preset, or manually set the white balance for more accurate colours.

Textures and Patterns: Look for interesting textures and patterns in the snow, like footprints, animal tracks, or wind-sculpted drifts. These can add depth and interest to your compositions.

Contrast: The contrast between snow and dark objects can create striking images. Use this to your advantage by framing dark subjects against the bright snow. Anything that is “red” will really stand out in a snow image, so use this to your advantage. Frame your scene then wait for something to come into view… person, vehicle, etc.


For Phone Photographers:

- Use exposure compensation in your phone’s camera settings to ensure the snow appears white.

- Use burst mode to capture the best moments in dynamic snow scenes.


Fog: Adding Mystery and Depth

Fog can transform familiar scenes into something magical and mysterious, adding layers and a sense of depth to your photographs. It softens the light and reduces contrast, making it perfect for creating atmospheric images.


Technical Tips:

Exposure Compensation: Fog can trick your camera’s light meter into overexposing the scene. Use exposure compensation (-1 to -2 stops) to retain the fog’s ethereal quality.

Contrast: Boost contrast in post-processing to bring back some definition to your images, as fog naturally reduces contrast.

Composition: Use leading lines, trees, or buildings to add depth and guide the viewer’s eye through the scene.

Manual Focus: Autofocus can struggle in foggy conditions. Switch to manual focus to ensure your subject is sharp.

White Balance: Adjust white balance to match the mood. Use a cooler setting for a more dramatic feel or a warmer setting to add a hint of warmth to the foggy scene.


For Phone Photographers:

Exposure Adjustment: Use your phone’s exposure adjustment to avoid overexposing the scene.

Focus: Tap to focus on a specific subject within the fog.

Editing Apps: Use photo editing apps to increase contrast and adjust white balance to enhance the mood of your foggy images.




Understanding how to capture different weather conditions means you don’t have to put your camera away just because the sun isn’t shining. Rain, storms, fog and snow each offer unique opportunities to add mood and atmosphere to your images. By mastering these techniques, you can turn challenging weather into a photographic advantage, creating stunning and evocative images.


For more photography tips and tutorials, join our community and share your weather-inspired shots for feedback and support. Unlock your photographic potential by embracing the beauty of the weather.

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