As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours”… right? When it comes to photography, this probably holds true for many of you. A slight drizzle can feel like a raging thunderstorm and a thunderstorm well… you probably won’t even consider heading out to shoot! While this is possible if you are shooting leisurely or have a really understanding client, in the professional world, we don’t always have the luxury of rescheduling shoots.
While rain can put a damper on your shooting plans, if you are creative and willing, you can always find ways around it. Here are our 5 tips to working with the rain, instead of letting it ruin your plans.
Tip 1: be prepared
Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. It’s a no brainer that your first and best defence against the rain is to be ready for it! It is incredibly easy to purchase a rain cover for your camera, or if you don’t want to spend that kind of cash, simply cut a hole in a heavy-duty trash bag. We recommend keeping several folded and tucked away in all your gear bags, so you’re always prepared. Alternatively, consider bringing a light, portable umbrella with you. It’ll help to shield your camera during lighter downpours, and it can add an interesting visual element to your photo. Simply allow the brim to enter the top of your image to create an interesting first-person perspective.
Tip 2: Watch for reflections
Those little pools of water on the streets can bring a whole new dimension to your photo. They can reflect lights beautifully during the blue hour; create interesting mirror images of the scene you are shooting and if timed correctly, allows movement to be captured if you get your subject to splash through the puddle. If you are shooting in a location with cobblestone or smooth roads, these little puddles will help create the illusion of a glittering pathway.
Tip 3: Use a little flash
We know what you’re thinking – won’t the flash just illuminate all the rain drops and ruin the image? Yes, but not if you lower your stop by 3 or 4. It will add just the right amount of light to your rain drops without losing the details in the background, creating an ethereal scene that can appear romantic or melancholic, depending on the setting.
Tip 4: chase thunderstorms
If the weather chooses to be extreme, then the best thing you can do is to embrace it and capture it at its most magnificent! Thunderstorms, with its menacing and heavy clouds backlit by flashes of lighting can create quite a dramatic backdrop, whether you’re shooting in an urban or suburban setting. You will likely need a tripod if you want to capture bolts of lightning, so look out for portable and travel-friendly models that are sturdy enough to hold up against the wind.
Tip 5: change your perspective
Bearing in mind that the rain itself won’t really show up in your photos, but the by-product of it. Wet hair, puddles, beads of water on windows and the various expressions of people caught in the rain can make for very interesting street photography. What we like doing is parking ourselves at an outdoor cafe with an awning, and capturing whatever we can from that vantage point. This is probably only possible if your brief or assignment allows it, but it creates an interesting challenge and is good practice as it forces your eye to see things in a different way.