That torrential downpour you see out the window some days could signal the end of your next big shoot — or it could indicate a new, albeit slushier, opportunity. Rain brings new possibilities for portrait, landscape and other genres of photos.
Take up some savvy ways to set up these rain shots so you and your subjects minimize time spent in puddles as you get the perfect pic.
Fear not — it’s just water.
If you want the best rain photography, you have to be willing to get wet. Dress for the weather, whenever possible, and embrace a bit of discomfort for the sake of perfecting your craft.
Photo by Nick Edmunson
Use microfiber cloths to keep your gear dry.
Just as you should dress for the weather, so too should your equipment. Even weather resistant gear is better off not getting drenched, and you are going to want your lens dry for most shots.
Create contrast by shooting in low light.
Raindrops are most apparent in twilight and nighttime shots, especially if the picture is eventually published in black and white. Viewers’ eyes are called to textures and patterns, like rippling puddles or splashing raindrops, with less light — and thus less colour.
Photo by Bob Cooley
Backlight your raindrops for visibility.
While low light calls attention to patterns, backlight makes subjects in its path more visible. Try shooting toward – though not directly into – a light source to see the raindrops against its luminosity. Streetlights are great for this approach.
Establish complementary light with your flash.
Yet another way to illuminate raindrops is to use your flash. It does not have to be your primary light source. Instead, it can be lowered by a few stops to supply complementary light that lets the precipitation glisten.
Research in advance for portraiture scenes.
Rain can be an interruption to portraiture sessions, but maybe your clients embrace its melancholy vibe. Survey your area for potential compositions where your subject could pose at length without getting soaked.
Photo by Jason Vinson
Place your subject beneath an awning or overhang.
Keep your subject dry for a portrait session by setting the shot beneath a covering on the street. This provides shelter, and the composition has a natural feel, seeing as people often wait out storms beneath these coverings.
Move out of the shower and behind the wheel.
Like awnings and overhangs, cars serve as adequate shelter and realistic scenes. Vehicles are good for more than composition, though. If the rain is too much for you and your equipment, and if you don’t have a sufficient umbrella, shoot from your car.
Capture the humanity in rainy day reactions.
It is difficult to be unaffected by rain. Reactions range from puddle dances to dread-faced power walks. Street photography on rainy days can highlight characteristics of joy, resilience and vulnerability in fresh ways.
Photo by Erwin T Lim
Rain does not have to be end of your shoot. It can be the beginning, so long as your eyes stay open to creative opportunities. To learn more about the cameras you could be using for your rain photography sessions, check out our eBook, Which X Series Should I Buy?