It is possible to photograph in the rain, here’s how

Tips & Techniques

How many times have you gone out to shoot landscapes and found yourself hiding from the rain, having the quintessential car-picnic? Depending on where you live it could be pretty often. Childhood holidays were usually spent in Wales or Devon for me so I’m pretty used to wet weather.

A Spanish person actually once asked me how was it possible to live in such a wet country? Not only that but so-called bad weather can often yield some of the most beautiful and moody images. So for those of you used to inclement weather you can move along, nothing to see here. But for the rest of you, you might want to check out this video from Mads Peter Iversen on how to photograph in the pouring rain.

  1. Make sure you can endure the rain: you know the old saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”? Well, Mads has a great point here because before protecting your camera gear, you probably first want to protect yourself and make sure you’re wearing waterproof clothing, including waterproof trousers.
  2. Protect your gear: this goes without saying. You don’t want your $4000 camera out in the rain with no protection, even though most cameras and lenses are somewhat weather-sealed, I still wouldn’t want to test it out in a torrential downpour. You could use an umbrella if the wind isn’t too much of a problem, or I have been known to use one of the clear plastic shower caps you get in hotels before. Simply put it around the back of the camera with the elastic around the lens. In a pinch, it works pretty well to keep most of the water out, and because they are so small and light you can keep one in your camera bag for emergencies.
  3. Consider blending multiple images together: particularly if shooting a seascape this can be a good solution for getting waves crashing over rocks in the right places at the right time. For camera settings Mads recommends f/11 for aperture, ISO 320 to enable a slightly faster shutter speed of 1/15. Make sure you keep the focus the same all the way through the series of shots by switching to manual focus.
  4. If you do want to shoot everything in one image, Mads recommends using manual mode and the 2 seconds timer. You can then hold a lens cleaning cloth in front of the lens to wipe it just before taking the shot to avoid rain splashes.
  5. Rainy day photos can often be a little low in contrast so you can always boost that in post-processing if you wish.

There you go, don’t let a wet weekend derail your landscape photography. And the beautiful thing about being outside in the rain is drying off indoors again (hopefully in front of a roaring fire).

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