If you’re looking for another way of changing the dynamic of your photos, rain photography is an excellent one to take unusual street, landscape, product, macro or portrait photographs. View more about how to take photography in the rain and bad weather with high wind.
Rain photography is not a “convenient” genre for most photographers. You always may worry about your equipment and it seems impossible to take a good picture in such weather conditions. The sky is gray, there is water all around, the wind is high, etc. Meanwhile, having the right approach, the pictures taken in the rain can become so wonderful and dramatic. In this article, I would like to show you 30 basic rain photography tips for working in bad weather.
Raindrops are unlikely to appear in your photos. Everything you will see are the drops on the leaves or flowers, puddles in the ground or wet hair. To make your shots more attention-grabbing, you can involve the rain into your composition. Raindrops are more noticeable when they are illuminated. You may also add raindrop while photo editing by means of Photoshop overlays.
Rain Day Photoshop Overlays
You can create the rain effect by means of these Rain Day Photoshop Overlays. Add realistic raindrops in several clicks and make your photos dynamic or dramatic.
The overcast sky is an excellent chance to seek natural lighting. Use it while creating a composition for your photoshoot. If you are shooting under umbrellas, look out for the shadows. It is better to tilt the umbrellas in order to regulate the lighting in advance.
When you take photos in the rain, it is better to choose dark backgrounds. The reason is that it creates a gloomy atmosphere that corresponds to the rainy weather and dramatic look.
Keep your gear packed so that when it is raining unexpectedly, you will always be ready to shoot. If it looks like rain, you must ensure that you have brought all the necessary equipment.
Do you enjoy shooting in the rain? There is definitely something special about raining photography, but what about your equipment? Buy this universal cap lens and have your gear reliably protected in any weather.
A flash is an important part of every photoshoot in the rain. As the sky is cloudy and there are a lot of umbrellas everywhere, you will surely need some additional light. Moreover, flashes allow freezing the motion. If you do not use the extra light, the raindrops are scarcely visible. Using a flash, you can make water drops noticeable and highlight their shapes and forms, because the additional light reflects back in the direction of the camera.
It has a built-in reflector card and a light diffuser, which are hidden in the flash head. A diffuser is a very useful thing that helps out in difficult working conditions, such as rainy weather.
A polarizer allows creating a clear rain photo when it comes to capturing the cloudy sky. Using a polarizer, you receive a sharp and contrasting image of a rainy sky rather than a white sheet. This device is also useful for coping with a lot of haze and mist.
It prevents glares and allows making the sky deeper and bluer. It eliminates the glare from windows and water. This polarizer helps enhance color saturation, especially in the photos taken outside.
Getting a water-resistant camera would be a more convenient option than trying to protect your camera. Still, if the environment of the place you’re shooting in is harmful to the gear (you are taking desert rain photography with inescapable sand), then you should definitely get an external waterproof camera bag.
This is a great waterproof case for taking rain photography in any weather. It provides your camera with reliable protection from moisture.
Most of the equipment has some moisture protection. This allows it to not break as soon as it gets wet. However, even the waterproof cameras can still be damaged if exposed to the water long enough. So regardless of whether you take light or heavy rain photography, don’t just toss the camera in your backpack – the moisture can still work its way to the electronics there.
Moisture inside the lens can turn into a big problem. The best way to deal with it is to put some silicate glue, the same you find in shoe boxes, into your rain photography bag.
To make every falling drop freeze in the air, set the shortest shutter speed. If that is not what you’re going for, you might still want to keep the shutter speed short. Bear in mind that photos of rain are very difficult to edit, so the shot you get is going to be your end-result. The optimal setting is 1/250, but considering the different variants, you can set it faster or slower. Do not go under 1/125, though, as this range is generally not recommended for the genre.
Shooting in the rain is different from taking regular shots, because the focus needs to have a greater range to capture the background, the object and the droplets as well. Thus, make sure to keep away from the shallow depth of field. Stick to f/8 aperture and increase it if needed, but it’s not advised to go lower.
While taking a rain photo, remember that shutter speed and aperture should match each other. When you increase the latter parameter, raise the shutter speed as well. This is especially fitting for a cloudy, foggy atmosphere with very low lights.
To get an image of rain, be it light or heavy, you would want to set the ISO value from 1600 and above to capture droplets hanging in the air. ISO has to correspond to the environment, because a too high value might create noise.
Rain photography is a genre of portrait, landscape and macro photography. Its main feature is shooting during the rain. If you take such kind of photography in the right conditions using the necessary techniques and equipment, you can achieve excellent results.
Create an atmospheric rain photo without leaving your cozy house. Just download this Rain Photoshop Brush and experiment as much as you wish, adding tiny raindrops or even real downpour to your shots in a matter of seconds.
During your photoshoot, you may change the locations. It is necessary to consider beforehand where to keep things safe. You can use a lean-to, trees or any other covering so that your things do not get drenched.
If you want to scout and research the location for shooting, use this app. You may use either a free or paid version (it costs $9.99 per year). The paid upgrade gives more possibilities: you can use the app offline, save some extra search and filter functions.
There is no need to actually demonstrate the rain. Use the different approach to change the whole idea around the raindrops. If you have them fill the most of the frame, incredible shapes and forms appear.
It would be nice to have some tested places for shooting on the rainy day which you can quickly get to, especially if the rain does not last long. Choose the reachable and safe location, which is close to a shelter or a cafe. Explore what sources of artificial and natural light are used in this place. Keep in mind that traffic and a stiff wind can greatly influence the shooting process.
Occasionally it is not necessary to capture the rain factually. All you need is to show signs that point to the rainy weather. When it comes to shooting the cityscape rain photography, you can take photos of people in raincoats, puddles in the street, umbrellas, and the raindrops on the window shopper.
Nothing looks as abstract as rain. If you take rain photos of the traffic lights through your car window, which is covered in raindrops, the interesting forms may appear in result. You can focus on any object you prefer.
I recommend you reading this book if you want to improve your landscape photography skills. Here you’ll find many useful tips about photo angles and natural light shooting landscapes.
You can make the rain more visible if you shoot in backlight. The light that penetrates through the raindrops is intense and a bit more prominent than the rest of the composition. That is why it is necessary to look out for the additional sources of light. It may be a street lamp at night or a ray of sunshine that is coming through the clouds.
The puddles that appear on the ground while it is raining create reflections. Thanks to reflections, you can reveal two different positions of the object of the same area. You shoot the texture and the person in the foreground while buildings, forms and shapes are less noticeable and stay in the background. The objects become imperfect as the pools in the ground distort them. But it makes your rain photography really extraordinary.
In order to take unique photos of rain, use juxtaposition. You place two absolutely controversial subjects close together to create a contrasting effect. It is possible to produce an irresistible image of rain by placing the subject in the frame that wouldn’t commonly be in this place. For instance, by mixing the rain and fire, you can receive a dynamic and symbolic picture.
If it is rather cool and drizzly outdoors, it is probably warm indoors. It will produce condensation on everything that is made of glass. This way you can make your street photo more striking and mysterious. It is possible to make a slight focus on your subject or even hide their identity.
If there is stormy weather on your way, do not stay inside. Rainy weather gives a unique opportunity to capture extraordinary moments and nature. Storm clouds and raindrops add a particular mood to your rainy photography.
People change their behavior in the rainy weather. Their reaction to the rain will be different – people may look gloomy or enjoy this kind of weather. Anyway, when it is raining, people are full of emotions. So your task is to capture these emotions to receive excellent photos of rain.
If the sun appears while there is still humidity in the air, you can see a rainbow. A rainbow is caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun's light by water droplets, making an arch of colors visible in the sky.
Trying the Macro Mode is also a good option to take stunning shots, especially after rain. It will turn out really well if you want to take a close-up photo of a flower or leaf with tiny droplets of water in crisp colors.
For photography in the rain, having a car is a huge benefit. In certain conditions, this will be the only way to take shots, but in others, you will probably prefer it just to stay comfortable. In any case, if you can get a car for the shooting, pick a long-focus lens to capture all the interesting objects with it.
You need to slow down and find worthy subjects for shooting. If you’re lucky, you can discover something unique to depict or find a rare combination of scenes to see familiar things in a new light.
Water can double as a great mirror, and a puddle in rainy photography is an incredible source of vibrant reflections.
A common city street, when empty, acquires a very different look. Not to mention more atmospheric places like parks or open-air museums.
Summer rain opens a great opportunity to capture a bolt of lightning or its reflection in the surroundings. No rain photography tips will help you replicate the effects that a flash of lightning creates. Never forget the safety rules, though.
Black and White Images
A rainy atmosphere turns everything into shades of grey, strongly toning down the colors. Enjoy playing with contrasts.
Use Some Bright Objects
Working on rain photography you will find low lights and contrasts. As I mentioned earlier, you can take some B&W shots. Or you can have some fun with bright and colorful objects, that create a sharp contrast with the grey shades around, placing them in the center of the viewer’s attention.
An umbrella can be a great assistant or subject. Taking a rain photo with it might look interesting if you use a wide-angle lens. Or you can try a different perspective on passers-by carrying umbrellas.
Direct Light at the Raindrops
Passing through the droplet, the light gets dispersed, and this makes it shine brighter. Find light sources you can use for the photos in the rain, like lanterns, rays of the sun, and let them play a part in your composition.
Landscapes with Droplets
There is something enchanting in windows covered with drops of rain. Landscape photography in the rain can give you a double exposure where the view from the window and the very droplets on it will both be well-defined.
Macro-shots of Drops
Open your aperture and hunt for those oddly-shaped beads of water. The lights on the background (other windows, display cases, passing cars) will mix some interesting colors into the beautiful bokeh.
Capture the falling droplets of rain, you can never get enough of them.
Kids and Rain
Children are happy even when it’s pouring. Raining photography can help you capture some of those genuine emotions.
There is nothing that can depict romance and warmth of emotions of a couple in love like the cold rain pouring down.
Try portrait photography in the rain combining a young woman and beads of water streaming down. The shot will be full of emotion and movement.
One of the rainy-day photoshoot ideas is a city with grunge theme.
Plan a trip to a forest when it rains. It is full of wonders, so don’t hesitate to experiment with settings and subjects.
Product Photography that Stands out
You can incorporate other items in your product photography, sparkling new ideas and associations. Try placing the cosmetic items or refreshing drinks in the rainy atmosphere.
Rainy Day Weddings
There is nothing that can ruin the couple’s mood that day, so wedding photography in the rain can turn into something special. You can make shots full of romance, tenderness and happiness that the newlyweds will treasure.
The after rain photography can be as fascinating, if, in the humid air, the light creates a rainbow.
Plants and Insects
The wildlife photography in the rain is distinctive for its saturated, vivid colors. Little beads of water sitting on leaves and hanging from branches are a whole different subject to experiment with.
Streams Running down Roofs, Pipes, Drains
Take shots of little streams of water, they will be full of movement and fascination.
Everything becomes brighter and more saturated at night. Try it!
Take a picture of a still life connecting it with raindrops. It looks really fantastic!
Taking wedding photos in the rain do not forget about the guests. Give the whole holiday atmosphere.
Create even more fantastic image of your model with the help of rain.
Pass the whole atmosphere of sports companion in the pouring rain!
It is time-consuming to edit this kind of photos but some elements of the process can be made faster if you use some Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions. Download these photo editing freebies to make your rain photography pop or dramatic in several clicks.
If you didn’t manage to catch a flash of lightning, this overlay would put a bright accent on the sky and make the horizon stand out. It is not too universal though, so select your landscape photo carefully.
If you’re not fond of photographing in heavy rain, this overlay with washy, long raindrops will help you stay dry and warm while creating a realistic illusion on the chosen shot.
For a photo with a stronger character, you can apply this free overlay that will blur and brighten the background. You can’t see the separate drops, but the effect of a cold autumn rain is immediately recognized.
This double exposure action for Photoshop allows you to combine portraits with land/cityscapes and achieve impressive results. When either of the shots has some bright colors, they will stand out in the final image.
This LR plugin helps restore the colors that have been washed out of the images due to a cloudy, gloomy atmosphere. They will burst with life and motion again in the shot.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.