Taking pictures in the rain can be challenging, but very rewarding if done correctly. Living in Virginia, the fall and spring seasons always brought lots of unpredictable weather, but learning how to work with the rain helped me take advantage of the weather. Rain can add a very interesting aspect to an image and can result in very unique photographs. Knowing how to approach shooting pictures in the rain will help you to fall in love with rain photography instead of putting your camera away when the forecast calls for showers. However, before you jump right into taking pictures outside in the rain, it is important to learn how to protect your gear and how to approach shooting pictures in rainy weather.
How to Protect your Gear
A lot of photographers shy away from taking pictures in the rain because they are afraid of getting their camera and other equipment wet. While we do need to take good care of our camera, we also don’t want to coddle our equipment. Although you definitely don’t want your camera exposed while it is pouring outside, a little mist on a camera won’t hurt it. The key to keeping your camera safe is keeping it covered. If you have the resources, buy a rain jacket for your DSLR to keep it completely covered from the rain. If you can’t buy a rain jacket or you need something last minute, use an umbrella or a coat or spare clothes to wrap around the body of the camera. Even if it is only sprinkling out, using a simple covering will preserve your equipment. It’s also a good idea to bring along some dry towels to clean off any equipment that does get wet after your shoot.
How to Shoot in the Rain
Finding a good location is important for effectively shooting in the rain. Simply standing under a covered area out of the direct rain can make a big difference in your images. This could be a covered porch, from a car, or sometimes even through a window. I love to park my car at an angle so that the rain and wind are hitting the back of my car and I can shoot out the window while staying dry. Be patient when trying to find a good spot to shoot in the rain. Often it is difficult to capture the rain itself, so look for ways to see the effects of the rain. For instance, this can be puddles of water, raindrops on windows and other surfaces, reflections, people with rain jackets and umbrellas, wet hair, or anything else you see around you.
Also, watch for good lighting as you are shooting in a rain shower. Backlight is great for capturing rain as it accentuates the falling raindrops. Find a street light or a break in the clouds as your source of backlight. If the day isn’t too cloudy, natural light will be your best friend. Watch for beautiful natural light to incorporate into your image.
How to Take Pictures of People
If you are having a portrait photo shoot in the rain, make sure you come prepared. Bring an umbrella for your subject to use and any changes of clothes or jackets you might need. Any umbrella could work, but a clear umbrella is ideal for rainy days. The clear ones will let in the most light to accurately expose your subject and won’t add any strange color casts on your subject’s face. If you are taking candid photos, watch for people’s reactions to the change in weather. People will often express more emotions as they react to rain. Watch for moments where children laugh and run around in the rain, or passersby sulk in dread of getting soaked. Moments like these can add character and emotion to an image and make for a unique picture.
Rain photography is extremely rewarding and can be a lot of fun once you know what you are doing. Always come prepared for a rain shower and protect your equipment from damage. However, don’t let your worry over your camera stop you from finding great pictures in the rain. Be more proactive in going out when it is raining and practice taking pictures. I hope this post helps you to prepare well and take advantage of the rain in your photographs.