The dramatic sky plays a substantial part in the formation of an image. It forms the background and often the main subject of a huge percentage of our images, in particular landscape. Exposure can often be tricky and calculating for either the sky or the foreground on their own will result in one or the other being incorrectly exposed. What can we do to overcome this?
The use of filters can help and is the preferred method for those of us wanting to achieve results in camera. Graduated neutral density filters and polarising filters assist us in achieving a more balanced exposure and our desired image. There is also the method of shooting in RAW that must be considered here for the digitally converted amongst us, and the extensive solutions available to us in post production. See our earlier post that discusses using the gradient tool in Adobe Lightroom.
The great big yellow ball in the sky is the predominant source of all natural light and the sky, in its ever changing atmospheric moods, is often the governing influence in landscape photography. These factors are also just as important to the creative portrait and fashion photographer shooting on location.
Arguably the best and most dramatic sky can be found at times of change: dawn; dusk; before and after storms are all some of the magic times to capture dramatic skies. Drama and impact are two factors that are always sought in photography and not just landscape but also, as previously mentioned, the creative portrait and fashion photographers will also benefit from a dramatic sky. While there are rules in photography, they are there as a guide and are often broken in the creation of intense and striking imagery.
So in conclusion, don’t be scared to get out there with your trusty box brownie and bend the rules and see what magical images you can create. Have a little patience, and most of all enjoy your time behind the camera.
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