The sky is an infinitive movie and you will get lost if you search for something in it. However, if you will ever try to disguise yourself as a photographer and look at the sky, you will find thousands of stories. The sun, the moon, the stars, and the cloud all of them keep telling their own story. You will find that the sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset, dramatic moves of the clouds, different colors in the sun rays, and the best of all inspiration. Looking at all these, you won’t be able to stop yourself from capturing the dramatic skies in your photos.
Sky Photography boasts some of the incredible, breathtaking, and inspirational photos. Whether you want to display the unique and stunning colors combination of the sky or take shots of the incredible landscape, sunset beach, or showcasing the natural beauty of mountain touching the sky, the sky photography is the key to complete your shots.
Although it is relatively easy to capture the photos of skies during different times of the day, still it requires a set of skills. So that you can capture what you exactly see with your own eyes or even you can capture better. Sky photography not only sharpens your skills but also inspires you as well as other aspiring and professional photographers to capture and share the unparalleled and natural beauty of the outdoors. Here, in this article, you will get some basic tips about sky photography.
Learn to Time Your Shots
Timing the shots is one of the most important things in photography. However, it will be a little difficult for you to time your shots in the beginning, but you will learn with practice. For Sky photography, the weather can act as an indicator for you. That means you can learn from the weather that what you will be shooting on any day and you can prepare yourself accordingly. Like, in order to shoot a clear sunset, just make sure that there’s no storm brewing on the horizon so clouds won’t get in the way or for capturing a beautiful daytime sky, make sure that the sky is bright and blue before heading out. To take a gloomier shot, capture the photo in stormy weather. These are some basic examples. Apart from these, there can be many other cases as well. So, just think about those cases and prepare to time your shots accordingly.
Clear The Photography Basics
Sky photography is not only about heading your camera towards the sky and taking the shots. It is much more than that. Learn the fundamentals of photography. Go through your camera manual and read how the elements of the Exposure Triangle, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture can help you in capturing that perfect shot. So that you can expose your shot properly and avoid overexposure. And with practice and time, you will start capturing the stunning sky photos.
Shoot in RAW
Start taking shots in the digital RAW format instead of the usual JPEG images. This is basically due to the reason that the digital RAW format gives your photos more dynamic range, colors, and resolution. You can make use of dynamic range, colors, and resolution to manipulate and experiment with during the editing process. Also, you will have more freedom to adjust exposure levels and try out different white balance settings that too without degrading the quality of the image.
Quest The Sun
The Sun’s rays contain different colors and you can make use of these colors to capture some stunning photos. One of the best times to capture stunning skies is to take shots around the time the sun rises and sets. As we all know, the rising and setting of the sun bring out some of the most staggering colors of the sky. Start adding variations in your everyday sky photos by heading out and shooting during dawn and dusk.
Focus On Your Composition
If you want to become a great photographer or want to create professional-quality photos, you have to mind your composition very well. Irrespective of the fact, you are using the sky as your main subject or backdrop, you have to consider the placement of the elements within your photos, particularly of the horizon and your foreground subject.
To take excellent sky shots, try to place the line that separates the sky from the ground or body of water anywhere along the horizontal lines of the Rule of Thirds. Also, at the same time, lit your subjects well against the background by using a reflector or an external flash with ample and softened lighting. Don’t forget to make sure that the elements used in your image are in harmony with each other in terms of mood, visual theme, and story.
If you want to excel in sky photography, you will have to learn using the filters. You can use CPL filters which is a must for sky photography. CPL filters can be attached to your lens. You can keep rotating it until you get your desired effect or polarization. When the CPL filter will be set correctly, you will find that skies look a lot bluer and the clouds pop out to get more beautifully saturated colors. You will also see the increased definition of certain elements that are normally washed out by bright light.
Apart from the CPL, you can also use the ND filters. ND stands for Neutral Density. ND filters block some of the light entering into the lens that helps to manage reflections, glare, and also make water bodies look more silky and frothy when used with slower shutter speeds.
Feature The Silhouettes
If you want to shoot the sky as a dramatic backdrop, shooting foreground subjects as silhouettes do a great. It will be even much easier to achieve when the sun is pretty low and there isn’t much diffused and scattered light that will expose your subject. Along with that, you can also take this shot a few hours before and after noon. However, in both situations, you will need to adjust your camera settings a little bit so that you can bring out the clouds and underexpose your subjects until they are dark and distinguishable.
Take The Mirror Shot With The Water Reflection
Another beautiful way to capture the photo of a stunning sky is to take the shot of its reflection on a big and still water body. You need to frame the scene in such a way that includes the sky and the water so that you can get an amazing mirror shot of the sky.
Along with that, you can also include subjects, such as boats, rocks, people, etc. to tell your viewers which side of the photo is the ground.
Use Slower Shutter Speeds
If you are looking to take photos of the dreamy night sky, using a slower shutter speed will be a fantastic idea. This is because in the night time slowing the shutter speed will brighten the skies to a lighter blue. The same applies to daytime shots where the clouds appear to be blurred and moving. This gives the photographer and viewers more interesting shots. So, to capture the moving clouds, it is recommended to use a shutter speed of about 10 seconds (depending on the speed of the clouds) with ND filter so the sky doesn’t appear blown out and for the night photography, recommended shutter speed is 15 to 20 seconds with aperture of around f/2.8 and lowest ISO possible.
There is a lot more to discuss about sky photography. This is a basic guide containing some important points that you should know about sky photography. You can visit GoSocial and participate in the Sky Photography challenges created by the experts.
Take these photography Challenges to practise sky photography: