How to Shoot Photos in Strong Wind

Don't let strong wind keep you from taking pictures

What to Know

  • Use a fast shutter speed and shoot in burst mode to increase the chances of getting a sharp image.
  • If your camera has an image stabilization mode, turn it on. Brace yourself against a wall or tree and hold the camera close to your body.
  • Prevent dust and grit from getting into the camera by standing next to a structure that blocks the direct impact of the wind.

This article includes a series of tips for photographers who are shooting photos in a strong wind.

How to Shoot Photos in Strong Wind

If you’re a photographer, the wind is not your friend. Windy conditions can lead to camera shake and blurry photos; and can cause leaves, hair, and other objects to move too much, ruining the image; and can lead to blowing dirt or sand, thus damaging the equipment.

There are ways to negate the wind and ensure that it doesn't mess up your photography day. Use these tips to combat shooting photos in strong wind.

Fast Shutter Speed

If your subject is one that will waver slightly in windy conditions, you’ll want to use a fast shutter speed, which will allow you to stop the action. With a slower shutter speed, you may notice a slight blur in the subject because of the wind. Depending on your camera, you may be able to use the shutter priority mode, which will allow you to set a fast shutter speed. The camera then will adjust the other settings to match.

Photographer shooting in a landscape

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Try Burst Mode

If you’re shooting a subject that’s wavering in the wind, try shooting in burst mode (or continuous shooting mode). If you shoot five or more photos in one burst, chances are better that you may have one or two of them where the subject will be sharp.

Use Image Stabilization

If you’re having a hard time standing still in the wind, you need to turn on the camera’s image stabilization settings, which will allow the camera to compensate for any slight movement in the camera while you’re holding and using it. Additionally, try to brace yourself as much as you can by leaning against a wall or tree and holding the camera as close to your body as possible.

Use a Tripod

If you’re having trouble holding your body and camera steady in the wind, set up and use a tripod. To keep the tripod steady in the wind, make sure it’s placed firmly on level ground. If possible, set up the tripod in an area that’s somewhat shielded from the wind.

Use Your Camera Bag

When using a tripod while shooting in windy conditions, you may want to hang your camera bag -- or some other heavy object -- from the center of the tripod (the center post) to help hold it steady. Some tripods even have a hook for this purpose.

Watch the Swing

Be careful, though. If the wind is particularly strong, hanging your camera bag from the tripod could cause problems because the bag might swing violently and crash into the tripod, potentially leaving you with a jostled camera and blurry photo or, even worse, a damaged camera.

Shield the Camera

If possible, place your body or a wall between the direction of the wind and the camera. You then hopefully can protect the camera from any dust or sand blowing around. To provide additional protection from blowing dust or sand, keep the camera in the camera bag until just before you’re ready to shoot. Then return the camera to the bag as soon as you’re done.

Use the Wind

If you have to shoot photos in strong wind, take advantage of the conditions by creating images that aren't always available on a calm weather day. Shoot a photo of a flag that's whipped straight out by the wind. Frame a photo that shows a person walking into the wind, struggling with an umbrella. Shoot a photo that shows objects that use the wind, such as a kite or a wind turbine. Or maybe you can create some dramatic photos at a lake, showing whitecaps on the water.

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