I'm teaming up with AccuWeather and the Royal Meteorological Society for this year's Weather Photographer of the Year Competition. This is a chance for photographers of all levels to celebrate and capture the grandeur and beauty of the weather that surrounds us. I'm thrilled to talk about my own experience taking award-winning pictures in challenging environments and conditions while offering tips for seasoned professionals and novices alike. Ask Me Anything!Proof: https://i.redd.it/alsrt90s4c571.jpg

Comments: 49 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

yourdp15 karma

iPhone "Smart HDR" feature: on or off?

AccuWeather46 karma

I prefer to keep mine off. It can make images look a bit too punchy and fake, so instead I underexpose photos slightly then use a photo editing app to brighten the darkest areas, it creates the HDR look but with you in charge of the creativity. A good app to try is snapseed. It is free, and its so good I just wrote a whole book about how to edit photos with it on your phone!

wfbiii12 karma

What are your favorite conditions to shoot in and do you have any tips for taking photos in the rain?

AccuWeather22 karma

I live somewhere with a very high water table and it rains all LOT, so its a good job I love weather photography. Using wet and misty weather as a backdrop to your photos is a great way to add atmosphere. Also when things are wet and glistening they bounce light back and this can make the whole picture more magical. Explore subjects such as leaves with dew or raindrops on them, spider webs with tiny diamond droplets, and so on and try to include them as foreground interest in rainy day photos. Or go out in an urban space and capture the people jumping puddles, colourful umbrellas and glistening wet streets. And don't forget to look for rainbows when the rain stops!

AccuWeather10 karma

Thank you all for the great questions!

Xenophule9 karma

What is your least favorite season to shoot in and how do you motivate yourself to go take pictures then?

AccuWeather9 karma

I have just tried to think about this and they all have their merits and challenges! It can be hard in the height of summer when it is hot and not so much fun to be carrying lots of heavy kit around... but you can get such great hard light and all the colours of growth and life to showcase. I like mooching around with my camera on snowy and frosty winter days, but am less of a fan of low hanging cloud and overcast days. I would motivate myself then to go look for small details to photograph, like dewdrops and rays of light piercing through the cloud cover.

Xenophule5 karma

The original question I had in mind was: “What is your least favorite season to shoot in and why is it Summer?” haha

Thanks for the tips :)

AccuWeather6 karma

Spot on!! its a tough season, give me fall any day!

1992abc8 karma

What makes a great weather photo? Any tips for beginners? I'm a novice and my photos never seem as striking as the professional ones!

AccuWeather15 karma

Try to remember that when you are outside you really experience the weather with your eyes, and all your other senses too! This can have a huge impact on how you feel in the moment of taking it. To be able to share that mood and emotion with others when they see your photos you need to capture the atmosphere. Make sure you frame your shot with plenty of sky in it - perhaps even consider turning your camera to a tall portrait ratio rather the usual wide landscape ratio as then you can include even more of that weather! Also take lots of pictures, the more you take the more likely you will be able to bring back something amazing!

AccuWeather7 karma

I hope to see some of your photos in the competition (photocrowd.com/wpoty is the url to enter) and come and see me on instagram (@greenislandstudios) to share photos of your part of the world with me!

HunnyBee807 karma

I only use my phone camera and I'm not very good at knowing what settings to use, what advice would you give for someone starting out?

AccuWeather25 karma

Hi! The great news is that if you are using a phone camera you don't even need to worry about settings!! Provided your phone is a fairly recent release it has an amazing camera in it already (and some very clever algorithms that will do all the heavy lifting for you.) You will be able to point it at the subject and with a few swipes and touches you can make a great image. First tap the screen to focus where the subject is, and then slide your finger (apple- up and down swipe / android left to right swipe) and you will see the brightness of the image changing. My advice is to darken everything slightly, otherwise known as underexposing. This will ensure all the detail remains in the bright areas such as white fluffy clouds. Then take a few pictures with different compositions and framing (whats in the frame and whats not) and you will be well on your way to making some great photos you will be proud of!

Xenophule6 karma

I’m always afraid to enter contests lest my image is “stolen” by the people running the competition, but I’d love to be ‘award winning’ as well!

Any tips on getting over this fear, or is it substantiated?

Thanks in advance!

AccuWeather18 karma

It really is not a concern. Entering competitions provides great exposure for winners and runners up and leads to other opportunities to exhibit, publish and sell your work. Be savvy though! When you look for competitions to enter, read the small print. All reputable organisations, (such as RMets and AccuWeather!) will have included a clause stating that the rights to the image are retained by the photographer. And that you will consent to them showing / publishing the work to highlight the best entires and winners and promote the competition and future competitions. You want this, your image will be credited to you and will be seen far and wide. Be bold, don't hide your shots on your hard drive, the world wants to see your great photos!

HunnyBee805 karma

How can I enter the RMetS AccuWeather one? do I have to be a professional?

AccuWeather7 karma

Thats easy! Just got to www.photocrowd.com/wpoty to enter! And good luck!

Darlington285 karma

How many cats are too many?

AccuWeather12 karma

Can you have too many furry sidekicks I wonder? I am more of a dog person though!

The_Fox_and_the_Fly5 karma

I spend most of my time trying to get better photos of fish I catch on the side of a river. Currently I have a small flexible leg tripod and use the selfie camera and voice commands on my phone to line up the shot for a quick picture. I've noticed that having the sun at an angle produces better color than when the sun is directly behind the camera (colors get washed out and glare is high). I also just read your tip to underexpose the photo and edit later instead of using the HDR feature which I will definitely be trying. Given my specific scenario, do you have any other tips or specialized gear you could recommend?

Another question: my grandparents front porch overlooks a valley and the sun rises over the mountains directly across, which makes for some spectacular sunrises. Any tips for shooting/exposing pictures of sunrises? If the clouds aren't just right it's pretty easy to mess up the picture with a huge bright sun. Too early and the pictures are dark, too late and the sun blows it up.

And thanks for doing this!

AccuWeather10 karma

Low angled sunlight is always going to be more attractive and atmospheric, have a read about the benefits of shooting in the golden hour (just before sunset and just after sunrise) and the blue hour (just after sunset and just before sunrise). As for the porch setup.... you have to be set up and ready to take your photos before it happens to make the most of it. If you can get spring and fall mornings where there is a temperature inversion and you get mist in the valley between you and the mountains you will be on to a winner.

AccuWeather10 karma

Also do experiment with an ND filter on your lens to reduce the light of the sun!

taebyoung20123 karma

I'm getting ready to go on vacation out West to see a few national parks. This will be my first big trip with a decent camera. Do you have any advice on shooting landscapes/scenery? Or any tips for travel/what to bring photography-wise (lenses, tripod, etc.)?

AccuWeather8 karma

I would take a nice stable tripod and look for a good head too. I use a Manfrotto set that has very sturdy but fairly lightweight legs with a heavy duty head that can be adjusted 3 ways. I never leave without decent lens cleaning fluid and cloths because the lenses take a beating in the weather and dust. A couple of decent wide angle lenses are a must, with the best quality glass you can muster the funds for, and a telephoto would be useful for wildlife in the parks. I also take an app like PhotoPills to predict where the sun, moon and stars will be and consult the AccuWeather app constantly for a reliable source of up to date and accurate weather info

pondertart3 karma

What are your thoughts between DSLR (in this case a Canon T5i) and one of the pro-level mobile devices (in this case a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra)? Would you pick one over the other in certain settings?

AccuWeather7 karma

I love shooting with mobile phones! Check out my book, smart phone smart photography, its available in all book stores and online, to get tons of tips for shooting with your phone. I am judging the smartphone category of the Weather Photographer of the Year Competition and the entries coming in are stunning! The phone is often my first choice over a bigger camera just because I always have it with me