Photographing in the rain can be tough. It feels dreary and often uninspiring when all the lighting is an overcast diffused gray. However, I have to get over this and shoot despite the weather.
As you know I am an avid hiker and try to get outside and at least once a week. In my current location and the surrounding areas it rains….ALL the time. I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of green and lush forests, but this means rain for about half the year. The video above was one such day on a hike.
The same can be said for some of our travels. An equally dreary place was Ireland that held a similar climate. We visited in the summer and were able to experience some glimpses of sun, but the constant spitting of rain was common.
Here are some of my top tips for shooting in the rain starting from the gear to what you can look for. Watch the video or read the post! 🙂
- Waterproofing your phone – 0:54
- Waterproof jacket – 2:55
- Gloves- 3:46
- Lens Care- 5:55
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
- Concepts – 8:16
- Reflections – 10:11
Water Proof It
You will want to water proof your phone first if you do not already have a water resistant phone. This will make it easier to photograph in the rain. I do not recommend any of the waterproof cases as they become bulky and hard to travel with. In addition to this, I use Moment lenses so I have to use their own cases. My phone is water resistant, but if I am going onto the water in a boat or kayak or I am going to hike in torrential downpour I have figured out some household hacks.
- Use a plastic shopping bag. Tape it around your phone and leave opening for the specific buttons you may need…or simply bag it up when not in use.
- Use a ziplock. Who doesn’t love zip lock. Again, you can bag it up when not in use or cut holes for the button you wish to use. NOTE: Be careful when you cut holes, you don’t want your phone sitting in a pool of water either.
- Find a jackets that is water proof and can fit your gear in the pockets. This is my go to most of the time unless I am on the water I go for the zip lock method. My jacket is not super pretty since it has to have room for layers underneath and pockets to fill up, but we are photographers, not models right now.
Ok, so you have a method to protect your phone and lenses from the rain. Now you need to protect yourself from freezing to death or having your hands fall off. Photographers do not have the luxury of keeping their hands in their pockets. You are either shooting or carrying your gear etc.
- Find a pair of gloves that is thin and light weight
- Makesure the gloves have “Tech Tips” or are touch sensitive so you can use your phone still.
- Get gloves with some grip. You do not want to be dropping your phone when you are taking hand held photos.
- Here are the gloves that I currently use.
Care for your Lens
In the rain there are those pesky little rain drops. If you are experimenting with POV you will end up getting these on your lens. I want everything with me to be light weight, minimal and non-bulky. So when I suggest taking something it means you will need it. Here are some options to keep you lens rain drop free and images sharp.
- Grab a pack of micro fiber lens cleaning clothes used for glasses. Take one in your pocket with your phone a lenses.
- If you have a shirt that is “Wicking” and non abrasive you can always use this as a hack…although unzipping your jacket to get to it can be a bit of a pain.
- DO NOT try the fog it up an wipe it off “trick” in the rain. In a rainy climate there is already so much moisture in the air and fogging it up creates a temperature change that leads to streaks and more fogging.
- Bonus Tip: Use the Moment Lens cleaning pen before your travel to make sure there is no dust in the lenses.
When the Weather Outside is Frightful
So you have the gear and are prepared for anything. Now what the heck do you shoot in pouring down rain. The lack of dramatic lighting or lighting in general poses a challenge. I have a whole list of suggestions on here on shooting in the dead of winter, but here are some basic ways to frame your work.
- Look for textures, close ups and any light that shines on or with the rain.
- Consider shooting portraits. I know it sounds crazy, but diffused light can be really flattering on the skin. Use the rain for the “wet hair” look and experiment.
- Look up! You will have to wipe off your lens, but overcast means cloud coverage so you can get some great worm’s eye views without having your image blown out.
- If you shoot video, consider how you can capture the rain in a creative way. Droplets in the water etc.
- Do not expect the “View” images that offer amazing panoramas. Often (not always) you need clear weather for this, so stick to the mindset of “moody” or diffused images.
- Use a Moment Lens such as a Macro to capture water droplets.
- Splash around and try to engage with what the environment has to offer.
Water Means Reflections
This could go in the category above, but I am in love with reflections so it gets a category of its own. When it rains there are pools of water (obviously) and they can create some fantastic images. Look around for reflections or take some reflection images of your self. Use a window pane with water droplets to create an effect if you are in the car or the house for the day.
Also consider the time of day for reflections. In the morning large bodies of water tend to be still and unmoving allowing for reflections.
Whatever you do, get outside. It is worth it! You can capture great images from inside your favorite dive bar or home, but do not think because it is raining you can’t be in the outdoors and capture that beauty. Bonus! Most people will still opt to not be outside, meaning you could have a busy trail all to yourself.
I would love to hear you favorite winter and fall adventures. What trails do you love? Any parks or places you visit in the rain and snowy weather?