The humble cloud. Probably one of the most-photographed subjects (with almost five million images on Flickr), they somehow still manage to captivate us time and time again. Today we’ll be suggesting a few tips for taking more interesting cloud photos that stand out from the crowd.
Look For Interesting Shapes
If you just decide to look up and snap off a cloud photo for no real reason, it’s likely to look like every other cloud image out there. Wait, be patient, and hold out for something that’s particularly interesting. Maybe it represents something in particular, or just has a particularly atmospheric feel.
Here’s an example of finding a shape between the clouds (certainly not the most beautiful image ever, but it illustrates the type of pattern you could look for):
Don’t Just Look Up
Rather than pointing your camera straight up into the air, consider looking for a reflection of the sky. This could be in a window, lake, or anything else shiny! This gives you a chance to incorporate a new element into the photograph, or tell a story involving an extra subject.
These two examples combine the natural atmosphere with reflective man-made structures. They make for an interesting mix of textures and ideas. It’s highlights how you can use cloud to enhance your existing composition, rather than it being the sole subject in a photograph:
Shoot From Above
Next time you’re travelling by plane, make the most of an opportunity to shoot the sky from a completely different angle. Granted, airplane windows aren’t the easiest medium to photography through, but get your camera as close as you can to the perspex and wait for an interesting composition.
Sunsets shot from above can be mesmerising, and a welcome change from the traditional images we tend to see. The air is completely free from shadow cast by cloud, so you’ll be far more likely to see a stunning sunset when you’re flying above them.
Experiment in Photoshop
Clouds are a blank canvas. They’re neutral in colour, and a perfect subject to experiment with in Photoshop. You could try adding a striking colour manipulation, increasing the contrast, and producing something that looks incredibly atmospheric:
Look for Silhouettes
In a similar vein, the simplicity of cloud means that it can be used as a wonderful background to silhouette an object. Here, the photographer has used it to show the interesting pattern created by a flock of birds taking off into the sky:
Share Your Cloud Photos
I’m sure you have a few interesting cloud images sitting in your Flickr account, so why not post a link to one below? It would be great to see a few extra examples and understand how/why you approached a particular shot as you did!