Once you get hooked on landscape photography, it’s only a matter of time before you start wondering what it would be like to score one of those amazing weather shots everyone goes gaga for. Whether you long to capture a lightning strike in its full glory or secretly dream of an image that really conveys the power of prairie wind in action, it probably goes without saying that you need to know how to approach things in order to nail a really big win.

Why Learn to Photograph Weather?

Weather elements of all types have the power to bring something really special to the table when it comes to your shots. For one thing, successfully capturing weather can add a lot of depth to your photographs. They’re also perfect ways to underscore a certain mood you’d like the shot to have, add texture to the field of vision, and so forth. Capturing the same location under various weather conditions can be a great way to show its versatility as well.

Be Patient

If you’ve been photographing landscapes long, then you’ve probably already received a lesson or three when it comes to patience straight from Mother Nature herself. A photographer’s patience is almost always rewarded with visual gold if he holds out long enough. Being patient is how you capture a perfect sunrise at the exact right moment or grab a shot of that ocean wave from exactly the right angle.

Patience becomes even more important when you’re photographing “real weather”. This is especially the case when attempting to capture storm-related phenomena like lightning. You never know when or how a lightning strike might show up next, so keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to wait it out.

Use a Tripod

Make your weather-related photoshoot easier on yourself by packing your tripod before you hit your location. This way you won’t have to kill your arms waiting for the perfect moment, nor will you risk ruining an otherwise perfect shot with a camera that’s not perfectly still. Using a cable release and setting your camera to manual mode as well will help further increase your chances of getting a really great shot.

Expand Your Field of Vision

As touched on above, some effects – like lightning bolts – can be incredibly unpredictable. In particular, it’s difficult to impossible to determine where they’ll actually appear in your field of vision. That said, go wide and include a large expanse of sky when putting together your composition. You’ll greatly maximize your chances of capturing something really special. This approach can be useful when capturing the emotional poignancy of rainstorms, snowfall, and more as well.

Be Safe

Last but definitely not least, it’s important to make sure that you put safety first. That fantastic shot of an incoming blizzard or a lightning bolt won’t do you any good if you’re not around to enjoy it! Do not stand under trees or near metal poles during storms. Also make sure you pay attention to severe weather warnings and safety advisories for your area. Even the most spectacular shot isn’t so good that it’s worth dying for.