Photography in the Rain: Tips and Advice

June 22, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
portrait in Rain
Taken in a dark woodland with the flash in frame to the RHS. This was underexposed natural daylight. Rain can give some amazing effects in portraits but you have to be bold enough to use it. : Pic by Doug Jackson Photography


Just because the rain starts doesn't mean the photography has to stop. Often the hardest things when working in all conditions is dealing with sensitive and valuable camera equipment. In my experience often the gear is far better at this and less vulnerable than you think (play at your own risk) and when working as a press photographer you often have no choice but to keep on shooting.

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Back lit with wireless flash gives very dramatic effects. The couple were not stood in the rain here but inside a porch with the flash in the rain: pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY



Practical Tips:
A Chamois Leather Lens Cloth

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Trusty chamois cut into 6 inch squares will last you a lifetime if kept dirt/grit free. Better than an expensive lens cloth too.
Most press photographers use a small piece of good old fashioned chamois leather (pronounced 'shamee') as a lens wipe and I'm assuming you'd all have a clear filter on the lenses. You should! Get one right away if not. Wiping rain drops off the lens with a chamois gives instant results with no residue left.



Use a Lens Hood

A lens hood is normally to stop flare from the sun but they do shelter lenses from rain spots. Particularly the bigger ones on longer telephoto lenses such as the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 and f4.



Protect your Gear

Be sensible and keep as much of your gear tucked away in your bag as you can. If you have a camera on your shoulder then tuck it under your arm. If your working with flash be aware that if water gets on the hot shoe between flash and camera body all hell can break lose and it all behaves very oddly. If this happens a quick wipe with a trusty chamois will normally sort things out.

Shooting Tips

Water is a solid substance in the air and therefore affected like any other visible body by flash or depth of field. If you want to make a feature of the rain you can back-light it with flash or/and shot with the widest aperture to give you a shallow depth of field. If your shooting without flash a shutter speed of 1/200th second is important to fix the rain drops and stop them blurring.
Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
No Flash and natural flat light minimises effects in light rain. Also rain only shows on dark backgrounds : pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Umbrellas can be nice props and add interest to a shot. Reflections on pavements etc also are fun especially in puddles at night: pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Long lens and shallow depth of field couples with a fast shutter speed will fix rain drops. : pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Note how drops show up on dark background : pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Ahh young love! : pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY


If you want to hide the rain try a slower shutter speed and don't use flash. A final not of caution. Using direct flash will simply light up the rain drops in front of the camera!
Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
This was taken on a G12 Canon compact (my travel camera) in extremely wet conditions. It just show how direct flash just lights up the raindrops in front of the camera. Not nice.


photography in the rain
Backlit with sunlight also gives very dramatic effect. : pic courtesy of DJP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY


n, rain, rain.....ah the British summer.

Photography in the Rain : Tips and Advice
Don't forget the details ..... raindrops on leaves

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