There are three constants in every photographer’s life that are simple, undeniable facts. The first two are death and taxes. The third is that, at some point, it’s going to rain during your important photo shoot. Once that happens, you may have the option to reschedule, but you’ll more than likely have to power through and adapt to rainy day photography.
When that happens, with a little preparation, you’ll find that you have far less to worry about than you thought. In fact, with a little know how, you can use the rain to your advantage and capture an image that is more dramatic and emotional than you could have possibly gotten, even if the weather had decided to be perfect.
First and foremost is your preparation. No matter where you are and no matter how you shoot, you need raingear for your equipment. A camera is an expensive investment and you should take every precaution you can to keep it safe and functioning properly.
Rainy Day Photography Clothing
Raincoats are instrumental to keeping your gear safe. Most manufacturers offer these plastic or nylon coverings that are tailor made to fit their equipment. If for some reason yours doesn’t, or you just can’t seem to find it, there are plenty of third party providers that make top of the line protectors.
There are different raincoats for different circumstances, but you are going to need at least two: one lighter raincoat for the occasional drizzle and snow, and one heftier raincoat for downpours. If you want to be a working photographer for a long time to come, these items are non-negotiable.
The next thing that you’re going to want to keep around is a trash bag or two. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, just a regular old unused trash bag that’s at least a few gallons big. These are going to come in extremely handy when you want your subjects, or yourself, to be sitting or kneeling on the wet ground.
You can’t really expect a paying customer to ruin his or her Sunday best just so they get a shot of themselves sitting in a field, and you certainly don’t want to experience just how unhappy a soaked backside can make you over the course of a physically taxing three hour long shoot, so just drape one on the ground like a seat cushion and you’re good to go. These simple things are must haves and you’ll be shocked at just how handy they become when you need them.
You’re also going to want a couple of umbrellas around while enduring rainy day photography . If you’re working with an assistant, it’s always a nice to be able to keep yourself out of the rain as much as you keep your subjects out of it. More importantly, though, an umbrella can also be used as a prop.
There’s no reason that you can’t use the weather to your advantage, and a great way to do that is to have your subjects pose with one. If you can’t hide the fact that it’s raining in the background, then incorporating it into your image in a realistic way is the next best thing.
All of the things mentioned so far should be considered part of your gear. You never, ever want to go without them for any reason. Whether in the trunk of your car, the bottom of your backpack, or strapped to the bottom of your horse and buggy, these things are your “every day carry” in every sense of the word. Just like no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, even fewer people expect a downpour on a sunny day, but they do happen and you always need to be prepared.
Once it’s raining and you’ve committed yourself to rainy day photography , what comes next? Well, you’re probably going to want to keep your subjects out of the rain as much as possible, so look for any kind of awning or porch roof to keep them under. Once they’re set up, if you can’t hide the rain, just try to light it properly. You can set up lights to shine through a nearby window or even use the high beams on a car to get that reflective movie magic look!
So next time you see its raining outside, don’t put that camera away automatically!