Photographers are a rather sky-obsessed bunch. You might catch us tripping over our own two feet or running face-first into a pole just because we’re just so enamored with a beautiful sunset or cloud formation. We stop our cars for silver linings and sun rays send us running for our cameras… You get the picture.

But who could blame us? The sky is such a huge part of the beauty all around us. And isn’t that why we’re photographers in the first place? We love beauty, color, movement and light. We gravitate towards the magnificent, be it a blue-sky day or a cotton-candy sunset. We photograph the sky because it touches our photographer hearts.

We asked 35 Click Pros to give us their advice on photographing skies. They completely blew us away with their incredible sky photos, and we think they’ve got some pretty great tips too!

1. Shoot long exposures for a creative effect.

“One of my favorite creative tips for capturing incredible skies is using a neutral density filter to shoot a long exposure. If water is involved for creative effect or reflection, even better.” – Kristen Ryan

Incredible sky photo by Kristen Ryan
Photo by Kristen Ryan

2. Add grain for a fine art look.

“Skies are my jam! It’s one of my favorite things about my city. For a fine art look, I like to underexpose a little and add in some grain.” – Vanessa Brack

Incredible sky photo by Vanessa Brack
Photo by Vanessa Brack

3. Meter for the sky and lift shadows in post.

“Amazing skies get me every time. Meter for the sky and don’t be afraid to lift the shadows/exposure on your subjects. In Lightroom, I like to use a large radial filter around my subjects to do this.” – Natalie Greenroyd

Incredible sky photo by Natalie Greenroyd
Photo by Natalie Greenroyd

4. Use your histogram to get exposure just right.

“Use your histogram. I tend to underexpose to not lose detail in the sky. This way I can enhance the sky and brighten the foreground.” – Shay Cronin

Incredible sky photo by Shay
Photo by Shay Cronin

5. Watch and wait for your moment.

“My favorite tip is to just watch for beauty, breath it in and click the shutter. I love to leave more space for the sky in the frame as a main hero of the story.” – Olga Levien

Incredible sky photo by Olga Levien
Photo by Olga Levien

6. Include clouds to make the viewer think.

“Clouds add interesting shapes and textures to your image. They help to break up the flatness of the sky. Clouds give the viewer something to think about rather than just an empty sky without feeling.” – Sarah Gupta

Incredible sky photo by Sarah Gupta
Photo by Sarah Gupta

7. Capture dramatic skies during bad weather.

“As a landscape photographer, we always want a dramatic sky! Often the most incredible skies come during inclement weather. Here in Alberta we can get some pretty nasty summer storms that provide for awesome clouds and light.” – Lori McLellan

Incredible sky photo by Lori, taken during bad weather.
Photo by Lori McLellan

8. Shoot during sunrise and sunset for vibrant color.

“I love drama in skies! I use a wide-angle lens to play with silhouettes, reflection, and flares. Shoot during sunset and sunrise hours when there are different colors like purple, pinks, and reds in the sky to add interest to a sky photo. Whenever possible I love to include my kids in the frame to show a sense of scale.” – Shilpa Harolikar

Incredible sky photo by Shilpa Harolikar
Photo by Shilpa Harolikar

9. Underexpose for a moody sky image.

“I like to underexpose slightly to really capture the moodiness of a great sunset. I love the way everything else becomes lovely silhouettes.” – Mariah Fisher

Incredible sky photo by Mariah Fisher
Photo by Mariah Fisher

10. Stay safe when photographing lightning.

“A moody sky is my favorite and what’s more moody than lightning? If you’re photographing lightning, remember to stay safe. Lightning can strike up to 25 miles away so make sure you’re using an app like RadarScope or The Weather Channel to locate how close it is to you.” – April Nienhuis

Incredible sky photo by April Nienhuis
Photo by April Nienhuis

11. Lay on your back to get a great angle.

“I noticed these big puffy clouds floating by and I asked my daughter to pause her scooting and face the direction of the sun. I laid on my back so that I could really fill the frame with the clouds and avoid clutter in the background.” – Monica Carlson

Incredible sky photo by Monica Carlson
Photo by Monica Carlson

12. Find the right white balance for great color.

“I find that setting my white balance to “cloudy” or “shade” can increase the dramatic color of sunset or sunrise.” – Liana Bunde

Incredible sky photo by Liana Bunde
Photo by Liana Bunde

13. Use a graduated filter to adjust exposure.

“If I want to darken the sky but not change anything below the horizon, I add a graduated filter in Lightroom. This brings down the exposure, shadows and highlights in just the sky. I sometimes adjust the color and vibrance, as well.” – Leslie Crane

Incredible sky photo by Leslie Crane
Photo by Leslie Crane

14. Try multiple exposures for tricky lighting situations.

“I tend to underexpose slightly to make sure I don’t have any blown areas. Sometimes I will take multiple exposures and blend them together in Lightroom.” – Kristen Ryan

Incredible sky photo by Kristen Ryan
Photo by Kristen Ryan

15. Look beyond sunsets and backlight.

“My sky photo tip is to not get so caught up in sunsets, backlighting, and flare that you forget to turn around and see what’s happening in the rest of the sky. In this image, if my clients are at 12 o’clock, the sun is setting at about 7 o’clock, over the dunes.” – Larissa Lord

Incredible sky photo by Larissa
Photo by Larissa Lord

16. Capture reflections to add interest.

“It’s easy to want to photograph only the sky when it looks so beautiful. One way to make your image more interesting is to capture it in reflection.” – Ebony Logins

Incredible sky photo by Ebony Logins
Photo by Ebony Logins

17. Create balance with the rule of thirds.

“Don’t forget about the rule of thirds. If you see a killer sky, take advantage of the rules and put the horizon in the lower third of your image so the amazing sky takes up two-thirds of the frame. If the sky is amazing but the landscape adds depth to the image, place the horizon in the upper third of photo.” – Kathy Roberts

Incredible sky photo by Kathy Roberts
Photo by Kathy Roberts

18. Birds make the perfect photo bombs.

“I love when there are birds in the sky. I sometimes get creative and add even more. The following image is a composite of three images with the same seagull moving in the frame.” – 

Incredible sky photo by Julie Audoux
Photo by Julie Audoux

19. Stop and capture the moment.

“I really need a hands-free car! If I see something amazing, like clouds forming or pink skies, I plead with my husband to stop somewhere so I can soak up all that sky gorgeousness and take some pictures!” – 

Incredible sky photo by Jyotsna
Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

20. Lower the highlights to make colors pop.

“I normally lower the highlights and add clarity to my sky photos. This really makes the colors and clouds pop.” – 

Incredible sky photo by Jilian Baudry
Photo by Jillian Baudry

21. Look for interesting details in the sky.

“I have a thing for moody skies. I underexpose to get details. I try to look for interesting details in the sky, like the sun peaking through or storm clouds.” – Jenny Rosenbring

Incredible sky photo by Jenny Rosenbring
Photo by Jenny Rosenbring

22. Shoot with a narrow aperture to keep detail.

“I usually shoot with an aperture over f/2.8 if I want the sky to be one of the subjects in my image. For this photo, I shot at f/3.5, ISO 250 and 1/4000.” – Iris Bergmann

Incredible sky photo by Iris Rut Bergmann
Photo by Iris Bergmann

23. Look for changes in the sky to capture drama.

“I like to look for dramatic changes in skies and I love a good summer thunderstorm. In order to capture both aspects in one click, I underexpose a little so as to not lose any details in the highlights.” – Denise Laurinaitis

Incredible sky photo by Denise Laurinatis
Photo by Denise Laurinaitis

24. Underexpose to preserve color.

“Yep, I pulled my car over and parked when I saw this amazing sunset. To capture the detail and color, I underexposed the whole scene.” – Dana Ball

Incredible sky photo by Dana Ball
Photo by Dana Ball

25. Try a contrasty black and white conversion.

“I love dramatic skies! Make daytime skies more dramatic and full of texture by converting them to black and white and increasing contrast.” – Ceri Herd

Incredible sky photo by Ceri Herd
Photo by Ceri Herd

26. Meter for the sky to create a silhouette.

“I don’t always meter exactly for the sky, unless I’m doing a silhouette. If I want to retain both the sky and my subject, I expose about two stops darker than my subject so I can still bring up shadows, but not blow out the sky. ”
– Cami Turpin

Incredible sky photo by Cami Turpin
Photo by Cami Turpin

27. Get outside after a storm to catch interesting clouds.

“Just after a storm, especially around sunset, is the perfect time for interesting clouds with beautiful colors. After the storm has rolled out, venture outside and capture the beautiful remnants before the clouds have a chance to clear away.”
– Chanel French

Incredible sky photo by Chanel French
Photo by Chanel French

28. Don’t blow highlights in your sky photos.

“I underexpose my images to make sure I don’t blow the highlights. While I have used a fake sky once, I’m all about real now. I haven’t used one in over three years!” – Ann Ferguson

Incredible sky photo by Ann Ferguson
Photo by Ann Ferguson

29. Photograph a subject in addition to the sky.

“Dramatic skies are my favorite and we have so many out here on the farm. I never knew how much I loved wide open spaces until we moved here. I like to have some sort of subject in the photo with my sky. I love a silhouette or fluffy white clouds on a bright sunshiny day.” – Angee Manns

Incredible sky photo by Angee Manns
Photo by Angee Manns

30. Capture light rays through smoke.

“A little smoke in the air can create some incredible light rays! Wildfires are no good, but this was a beautiful moment in the sky due to smoke.” – Amy Miller

Incredible sky photo by Amy Miller
Photo by Amy Miller

31. Shoot in RAW for more editing options.

“I always shoot in RAW so that I have the most options for pushing and pulling shadows and highlights while editing. Because RAW photos are pretty ‘blah’ straight out of camera, I like to increase vibrance, sharpening, and contrast right away. I almost always pull out the shadows and tone down the highlights as well.” – Amanda Ruzicka

Incredible sky photo by Amanda Ruzicka
Photo by Amanda Ruzica

32. Get up early to catch sunrise.

“Sunrise is my favorite time of day because the sky is beautiful, and I get the feeling that I have it all to myself.” – Alicia Bruce

Incredible sky photo by Alicia
Photo by Alicia Bruce

33. Use the gear you have in the moment.

“You can’t always predict when the sky is going to be amazing. Sometimes your phone is all you have with you, so don’t hesitate to use it! Even it’s through a car window.” – Lindsay Beros

mobile image of a beautiful sunset
Photo by Lindsay Beros

34. Try photographing the sky at night.

“Night photography forces me to slow down, use a tripod and wait. Those three things do not come naturally to me, but learning how to create a long exposure is so worth it. I never know what I’ll capture in those beautiful night skies.” – Sally Ann Field

Don't forget the night time when photographing skies.
Photo by Sally Ann Field

35. Use adjustment brushes when editing.

“If I’ve underexposed, I like to bring up the exposure on selected parts of my sky image in Lightroom. I use a combination of global exposure adjustments and selective adjustment brushes. I’ll dodge and burn clouds and sky to get the balance of highlights and sky details just how I want them. I also love to brush on added contrast and clarity and boost saturation or luminosity selectively across parts of the sky.” Aimee Glucina

A tropical thunderstorm creates great sky photos.
Photo by Aimee Glucina

Do you love, love, love the sky? We’d love to know your favorite tip for capturing incredible sky photos. Share in the comments! We’d also love to connect with you on Pinterest, where we pin really fun photography-related stuff, like great sky photos. Find us here.

Feature image at top of post is by Kristen Ryan