Sky Photography: How to Capture Dramatic Skies
One thing is for certain when it comes to photography. A beautiful sky in a photo has the power to captivate the viewer. That’s why photographers chase those stunning sunsets. Or why they wake up in the early hours of the morning to capture those first rays of the sun poking out from the horizon. It’s why they will brave the cold and wet weather.
Even if there is only the slightest chance of something extraordinary, it’s worth a try. But sky photography comes with many challenges.
Here’s how to capture those stunning sky images.
Where to Find That Beautiful Sky
That might seem obvious, right? But it’s amazing how often the first principle of capturing a great sky photo gets overlooked.
Any outdoor photography means that you rely on the conditions. If those conditions are not right, you won’t be able to capture a great photo.
No matter how amazing the scene in front of you is, if you have a blanket of white clouds and muted light, the photo will look flat and uninteresting. But add some dramatic clouds or stormy weather and the whole photo changes.
Your starting point for any great sky photography should be research and patience. Check the weather forecast and wait for the right conditions. Only that will give you the photo that you want to capture.
Here are the most useful landscape photography that will help you find that gorgeous sky.
When Is the Best Time of Day for Dramatic Sky Photos
Light is one of the most important components of any photo. Great sky images will usually have wonderful light in them. This will often be during the early hours of the morning and late afternoon.
The softer and more golden color light can make any scene look beautiful.
But also when the sun is very low like around sunrise and sunset, it can also have an incredible effect on the clouds. This is when you will get that stunning blue and orange sky or even the more dramatic red sky.
Why You’ll Still Need Some Clouds
Clouds are an essential part of capturing good pictures of the sky. But the key is having the right type of cloud for the photo you are taking.
For blue sky photography during the day you’ll want some big fluffy white clouds. These can add interest to what would otherwise be a vast blue space.
If the weather is looking moody and stormy, some dark grey clouds can give you a completely different type of photo.
For sunrise or sunset photography if you have low cloud cover it may not allow sunlight to get through. Whereas high broken clouds can mean amazing pictures of the sky.
Try to learn and understand the type of clouds that will give you the results you want. Here’s a great article on cloud photography to help you with this.
Add a Point of Interest to Draw the Viewer’s Attention
Whilst a dramatic sky picture might look OK, adding a point of interest can take it to the next level. Often the best sky photography will contain a focus point for the viewer to grab their attention.
It might be a boat in the lake. Or a piece of driftwood on the beach. It might even be a person standing in the foreground admiring the view.
Adding a point of interest to your sky images not only gives them more of a story, but it can also help the person looking at the image to navigate around it.