Rain in the weather forecast can be a photographer’s worst nightmare when shooting outdoors, or it can be an additional creative tool for taking unusual photos. Read this article to learn how to protect your equipment in the rain, take beautiful photos and enjoy the process.
What cool pictures you can get during and after the rain
How to know if it’s going to rain
How to shoot in the rain, how to protect the camera from moisture
In autumn, anyone who takes a lot of pictures in the open air becomes a frequent visitor to weather forecast sites. And the biggest fear usually looks like this.
However, rain may not spoil some of the photos, but rather decorate them. The main thing is to properly prepare for shooting and, if you shoot people, convince them that rain is not a problem.
Rain gives many opportunities for photography, you just need to learn how to see them. Here is some of them.
Reflections. During and immediately after the rain, the whole world around begins to shine with moisture and turns into one big mirror. This is especially true for filming in the city. Especially in the evening. When filming night scenes in a movie, the asphalt is often deliberately sprinkled with water so that the road from an inexpressive gray mass that simply takes up space in the frame turns into a shiny strip that adds volume.
Deserted streets. Shooting in the rain is a great opportunity to take pictures where crowds of tourists and passers-by usually get in the way. Because normal people usually hide from the rain.
Running through puddles, dancing in the rain. When it comes to family shooting or love-story, rain makes it possible to shoot unusual effects. Unless, of course, it is too strong and without wind. You can catch drops with your tongue, put on rubber boots and splash while running through puddles, and no one will say for sure that this is a “banal autumn shoot with leaves”. Relevant for those customers who value originality.
When planning these shoots, don’t make them too long. Jumping through puddles and dancing in the rain is fun and romantic, but cold. The best option is half an hour outside, half an hour warm, for example, in a cafe with cups of hot tea in your hands.
Umbrellas as an interesting props. The right umbrella can make a boring shoot more interesting. The choice of an umbrella should be treated in the same way as the choice of clothing. It should fit into the overall color scheme or, conversely, be a bright accent. Bright red and yellow umbrellas look good. Solid white is suitable for wedding photography.
White umbrellas are also convenient because they transmit light well and do not tint it. Thicker dark options can create shadows on faces, you need to constantly monitor them so that the hero’s eyes do not fall into blackness. And either throw the umbrella back on your shoulder, or use a flash or reflector.
Colored people may have another problem: they look beautiful in the frame, but they can create color reflections on faces. A universal option is a transparent umbrella.
Flash-frozen droplets in the air. Such pictures are easy to get by shooting in the evening with a flash.
Photo Ideas: How to Freeze Motion in a Frame
To achieve this effect, you need to put a flash directly behind the main characters. Hard backlight will illuminate the droplets, a short burst of flash will freeze them in the air, preventing them from smearing. Pay attention to the difference between the two shots above: in the first, a stronger pulse illuminated the space a few meters from the newlyweds, in the second, a weaker one illuminated only a small spot around their heads.
Well, what convinced you that nature has no bad weather and it’s cool to shoot in the rain? Yeah, now let’s try to catch this rain. If you do not follow the forecasts, it may seem that it is pouring all autumn long outside the window. In fact, it’s worth scheduling a rainy shoot and the weather forecast starts showing partly cloudy all the time. Murphy’s Laws in action. This is especially true if you want to remove a downpour, and not a sluggish drizzle.
When planning a shoot in the rain, it’s worth looking at a few weather forecasts. Yandex.weather and yr.no work well in the North-West of Russia. If both forecasts show rain on the right date, it most likely will. If the readings differ, then the weather is still unstable and you may not catch rain. The most trustworthy is the hourly forecast, which appears 24 hours in advance.
Capturing the weather can often be tricky, so tips and tricks for rainy shoots are more likely to be memorized and applied when the weather catches up with you.
When shooting in the rain, it is worth remembering the safety of the equipment. Each system has a class of waterproof cameras that are not afraid of rain, but they should not be wet for an hour in a row.
Rain-proof compact cameras designed for shooting underwater and in difficult conditions. For example, Olympus Tough TG‑6, Sony RX0 II or GoPRO action cameras. They withstand not only rain, but also diving to a depth of 5 meters. But such devices will not give all the possibilities of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Many older models of different systems have moisture protection. For example, Canon 1Dx m II, Fujifilm X‑T3, Olympus E‑M1 m III, Sony a9 m II, Nikon D6. It is also important that not only the camera itself, but also the lens is protected from moisture. So when buying, you should pay attention to the characteristics of the lens.
For some manufacturers, it is easy to understand whether the glass is protected from water or not. For example, Fujifilm will have such lenses marked WR (Weather Resistant), Olympus will only have protection for lenses marked Pro. For other systems, this is not so simple, you need to look at the instructions for a particular lens. At Canon, all L‑series glasses definitely have moisture protection, at Sony, moisture protection is found in lenses of the GM system, Nikon has no officially protected lenses.
If you shoot with equipment that is afraid of water, one of the convenient and budget options for protecting your camera from moisture is a rain cover. He will close the camera and at the same time will not interfere with your shooting.
If the rain caught you by surprise, a special raincoat can be replaced with an ordinary plastic bag of a suitable size. But working with a camera in a package is not so convenient.
When shooting, it is useful to have microfiber cloths with you to wipe the lens if it gets rained on. You can also protect the lens with a filter if you are worried that the anti-reflection coating may suffer from frequent rubbing.
There are also fully sealed cases that combine the functions of a rain cover and protective filter with a lens. They can also be used to shoot underwater. But such accessories need to be chosen more thoughtfully, carefully reading whether a particular model will fit your equipment — they are more rigid than plastic raincoats, and you need to choose the right size.
If you shoot with a flash (for example, with backlight), it should also be covered from the rain. You can just pull a transparent bag on top. It does not greatly affect the power and dispersion of light and will protect the flash from moisture.
Another handy option for shooting in the rain is to have an assistant holding an umbrella over you. You can also look for places to shoot where you can be under a roof (under a porch canopy, for example, or shoot from a window or from a car), and your characters can be in the rain. This approach allows you to make spectacular shots and not risk equipment.