Skies play a pivotal role in landscape photography. The sky conditions determine the kind of light that illuminates subjects, thereby dictating the image’s mood. When discussing skies and lighting, how can we not talk about clouds? All these go hand in hand; one leads to another. The presence or absence of clouds in a sky makes a world of a difference in any landscape photo. Besides affecting the lighting, clouds can also help add drama—a true wow factor. But how do you tackle a situation where you’re out in the field but there are no clouds at all? Landscape photographer Mark Denney finds himself in that situation in today’s video. Watch how he handles it:
Images with a clear sky and no hint of clouds can work, but only if you are taking photos for postcards. When it comes to creative landscape photography, clear skies just appear bland. Whether you’re shooting a sunrise, sunset or monsoon, having clouds in a landscape photograph just takes it to the next level. Clouds complete an image.
As you can see in the video, Denney employs two simple tricks when the sky is just plain boring. First, he opts to use a longer focal length. Doing so allows him to eliminate the sky from the composition and cover most of the frame with the landscape itself. However, if you still prefer using a wider lens, his second tip will help you out. He suggests you cover most of the frame with the foreground element, so you can exclude as much of the sky as possible. For this, your foreground elements should be interesting and engaging for the image to make sense. You could therefore look for interesting patterns, leading lines, structures or even frames.
What is your approach when you come across a boring sky? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
For further training: The Landscape Photography Chapters
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