Photographing landscapes with clouds can be tricky if there is a cloud inversion as the sky above the clouds will be bright but the ground below will be dark such as the example below.
This is obvious but clouds can be a different hight’s such as High-level, Mid-level, Low-level so you need to work out which cloud level works best with the images you want to take.
You might think going out when the weather is bad won’t be fun but you can get some really good moody images.
Camera with Manual mode â€“ M on the dial so will need to be able to set the ISO, Aperture and shutter speed
Lens – You can use both a wide angle or telephoto lens but have the option of auto or manual focus.
Tripod – A tripod is optional for this as you can have fast shutter speeds, but having longer shutter speeds for smooth clouds you’ll need a tripod.
Photo editing software – Photoshop/Lightroom or something like Gimp which is free
Here is a link to the gear I use My Gear List
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH ClOUDS
- First which is obvious clouds can be a different hight’s such as High-level, Mid-level, Low-level so you need to work what level the cloud is and where you can go to take photo’s.
- When you have picked a place for your photo you need to decide how you want the clouds to look in the photo. If you pick a longer shutter the clouds will smoother but if you want the clouds to look how the eye is seeing them then a faster shutter is needed.
- If there is a cloud inversion, which means the clouds are low and above the sky above is clear you will need to set your Aperture not to blow your highlights out as you can always bring your shadows up in post processing.
- When thick clouds are moving across a subject your auto focus might find it hard to focus on the tree, mountain etc as its trying to focus on the cloud. Sometime I use manual focus to the subject and then wait until the clouds are how I like then take the photo.
Here are some basic starting settings to try
- Aperture between f/8 – f/16 for depth of field for example trees in the foreground and clouds above and in the distance
- ISO start off between 100 and 500 but if its a very dark over head you might want to push the ISO up but remember the higher more grainy it will look
- Shutter Speed a good starting point is 1/500 and from the a quicker or slower shutter to get the look you are after.