How to Photograph in the Rain

Mar 17, 2020

Spring is in the air! I know that spring is already in bloom for some while others like us up North still have a while longer to wait despite what the calendar tells us. Soon, though, for all of us, snow flurries will turn into rain, and cold winds will begin to shift towards slight warmth. Those gentle raindrops are sure to be welcomed by the new blooms of spring, but can we photographers welcome a rainy day too? I certainly think so! The element of rain can be fun to infuse into spring images. Here are some tips for you about how you can go about capturing gorgeous photos between the raindrops!

1. Protect your camera

It's crucial to protect your camera from the rain. I enjoy embracing the elements and atmosphere that come along with weather, but I always ensure I protect my gear. Rain sleeves are a fantastic solution when you purposefully or accidentally get caught in the rain. So keep one tucked away inside your camera bag for such occasions. I recommend the inexpensive rain covers. For about ten dollars, you can purchase a pack of two. These types of sleeves are straightforward to use and work with many different camera bodies and lenses. I like the fact that I can see through the plastic and find the thin plastic forms to my camera body better than the more expensive rain covers. 

In more torrential rain, I've found that it's essential to use an umbrella to keep myself, the camera and the lens moderately dry. Keep in mind that bright and colourful umbrellas can cast colour. I use a clear umbrella to prevent colour casts from entering my frame. 

Drops of rain are likely to come into contact with your lens, so keep a microfiber cloth at hand. You'll want to wipe off any raindrops hitting the glass on your lens.  

ISO 500, 150mm, f2.8, 1/400SS

2. Use props 

What is cuter than pops of colour on a rainy day from brightly coloured raincoats, cheery yellow boots and fun umbrellas? Nothing! Take advantage of the props when the clouds roll in, and the rain begins to fall. I know my children love twirling in the rain with their umbrella in hand and splashing in big puddles with their shiny rain boots. Beyond that, though, there are other props you can use. Try a toy boat or rubber duck floating in a puddle, or a bundle of spring flowers clutched in little hands. Props infuse a wonderful sense of cheer and childhood and can enhance any rainy day image.    

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/4000SS

3. Find puddles

With rain comes puddles and puddles are so much fun! Don't be afraid to capture childhood puddle jumping. If you're not super excited about puddle jumping mess, try and use pools of water in a creative way instead. Sometimes puddles can reflect the sky or the surrounding scene. Reflections are a beautiful way to add visual interest and depth into an image.   


ISO 400, 35mm, f4, 1/200SS

4. Infuse movement 

One of my favourite things to do when it's raining is to infuse energy into the moment. Cue Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain!" Movement is a fun way in which to brighten up any gloomy day. With all that excess energy, my children seem to have; they are always delighted when I encourage playful running and jumping through rain showers.  

ISO 800, 116mm, f2.8, 1/400SS

5. Use overlays 

Sometimes rain is too fine to be visible in an image. Don't be afraid to use an overlay to enhance that rainy moment. Overlays are easy to use and can be easily applied. I use Adobe Photoshop to apply my overlays. A simple drag and drop of the overlay onto my image and then a change in blending mode can enhance any rainy day photograph. 

ISO 800, 170mm, f2.8, 1/640SS 

6. Photograph rain through windows 

Maybe an outing is not in the cards for you during the rain. How about popping outdoors for a moment and photographing your subject through a window? I think this is fun and creative. Raindrops on window panes will be visible, and the story of a rainy day will be enhanced.

ISO 1250, 35mm, f3.5, 1/400SS

7. Photograph rain from inside 

Perhaps you'd prefer to stay indoors when it's raining. Maybe your preference is to remain dry over splashing in puddles. Well, that's okay too! You can still infuse your images with rain-filled scenes. Try photographing your subject in a way that showcases the rainy outdoor scene. You can capture your subject as he or she looks outdoors. 

ISO 320, 35mm, f2.2, 1/320SS

Don't let a rainy day keep you from photographing all those everyday moments. There's beauty between those raindrops too! Grab your camera, a rain sleeve and have a little fun jumping and splashing away the day! You might just get lucky and see a rainbow too! 

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