In photography, the weather is everything. It impacts the light, shadows, texture and overall mood of your photos. This is why professional photographers constantly keeping an eye on the weather forecast, as getting out in ideal conditions can really take your photos to the next level.
Luckily for us, several helpful weather apps (free and paid) help predict those ideal conditions. While no app or forecast is fool proof or perfect, here are the 5 favourite apps we use in planning my photography adventures.
AccuWeather prides itself on the accuracy of its forecasts, and the global weather monitoring company’s free mobile app manages to cover a lot. It has everything from instant readings on what the weather’s doing now to more detailed radar scans showing precipitation and clouds over a wider area.
And if you’re looking for up-to-the-minute information on when the skies may open up, it’s got MinuteCast: a circular, clock-like forecasting tool that shows whether or not you can expect precipitation in the next 60 minutes.
Beyond sunshine and rain, AccuWeather can give details on wind speed, solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) levels, humidity, cloud cover, visibility, and more.
It’s undoubtedly one of the best weather apps out there for the depth and precision of its data.
Weather Underground offers a bright and intuitive interface, easy access to weather forecasts wherever you need them, and enough other features to put it ahead of most of the weather apps available for your phone.
From telling you how long a current rain shower will last, to forecast the wind speed in your area next week, Weather Underground is packed with useful data and features. These include a radar map, severe weather alerts, ski resort reports, and sunrise and sunset times.
One of the app’s best features is a “smart forecast” tool for running, hiking, or any other outdoor activity. To use it, describe the weather you’d prefer for your excursion (a sunny morning, perhaps), and Weather Underground will tell you when that forecast is expected next.
Dark Sky turned to be a direct competitor to AccuWeather app as it became one of the top weather apps by predicting imminent local weather conditions using current data readings and clever algorithms, but it also offers longer-term forecasts and can cover a range of geographic areas.
Flicking between radar views, daily and weekly forecasts, temperature and wind levels, and other meteorological data is straightforward. We like the time machine feature that lets you explore weather conditions at a specific point in time in either the past or future.
We are really impressed with its short-term forecasts and alerts about approaching storms. Use it, and you’ll always know how long it’s going to be before the next bout of showers.
If you want the experience of watching TV weather on your phone, then the mobile apps from The Weather Channel are perfect. They’ll give you a quick summary of current and upcoming conditions, but you’ll also get a ton of short video forecasts too.
However you like your weather prediction, everything is elegantly laid out and easy to get around. So whether you want a quick update on what the weather’s going to do in the next 5 minutes or to take a deep dive into next week’s expected wind speeds and precipitation levels, The Weather Channel has you covered.
We like the little flashcards that show key data in a rotating carousel. For the sheer number of different ways you can get weather information, The Weather Channel earns a place on our list of best weather apps for photographers.
If you’re after the most accurate weather app you can get, RadarScope could be the one for you. It has an incredible array of high-resolution radar data for checking forecasts and keeping track of severe weather warnings.
The app describes itself as being “for weather enthusiasts and meteorologists” and has a price tag to match those claims. What you see in this app is the same data professional weather forecasters make use of.
RadarScope is particularly good for tracking and chasing storms across the country, so it could be worth the outlay if you are looking for dramatic weather for your photos. The learning curve is steeper here than with the other apps in this list, but RadarScope rewards the investment.
If despite using a weather app the weather conditions are not ideal, you can always adjust and enhance your pictures in post-processing with powerful tools such as sky replacements and landscape brushes. Check out our website for easy ways to make your photos stand out even though the weather conditions were not perfect during your photoshoot. That's it for today, but if you need any help, make sure to contact us directly, and we will do our best to help.
#StaySafe - Jakub Bors
@CleverPhotographer | @BorsPhotography