April showers are an ideal opportunity to get dramatic cloudy skies and interesting light. See our guide to photographing stormy skies.

After a drab and grey winter, it now feels like spring, and keen-eyed photographers can take advantage of the longer days to get some great morning or evening shots when a storm is brewing. April showers are an ideal opportunity to get the best of both worlds – dramatic cloudy skies and interesting light – for producing a striking image.

You don’t need lots of equipment. While lens filters can help to balance exposure, particularly the foreground with the sky, they’re not essential and neither is a tripod. It’s more about being able to capture the moment when it arises. Let’s take a look at some things you need to consider.

  1. The effect of a dark and ominous sky can be enhanced if there is a contrast with a lit area. Watch for those shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds or patches of blue sky, and pay attention to where light falls.
  2. It is also a good idea to have some directional light falling on the foreground of an image, to give a stronger sense of foreground interest. Underexposed foregrounds can look dull and flat.
  3. Try to use a tripod; it’s easier to get sharper shots at narrower apertures. If you don’t have a tripod, use a lens with image stabilisation and pick a fast enough shutter speed to avoid softness.
  4. If you don’t have a lens filter, you can get a similar effect using software, such as Lightroom’s Graduated Filter tool. Don’t overdo it, though, and don’t create excessive noise when fixing underexposure.