Rainy weather appears to hold most individuals indoors, but it’s a perfect chance for stunning shots for devoted photographers. When you’re warm and dry inside, shooting in the rain may seem unattractive, but going out is worth the discomfort, especially when you nail a perfect rainy-day shot.
Make sure your camera is water-tight until you head outside. For a low budget rain cover, you can get a good rain cover for your camera or cut a hole in a plastic bag. In any case, after shooting, you will need to dry your gear thoroughly, as it’s hard to keep your camera completely dry in the rain.
After the rain stops, another choice is to go out. Although this technique won’t get you any shots of dropping rain, you will still be able to catch the mood of a rainy day. We’ll cover both methods in this article, starting with shooting in the rain.
Shooting in the Rain:
One thing to remember if you’re filming in the rain is do you want to see individual raindrops, do you want a blur of rain, like a semi-opaque curtain? You’ll need reasonably heavy rainfall for both choices.
You’ll need to get the shutter speed cranked up pretty high to see the raindrops (at least 1/250, and that may not be enough). Given that your main light source is limited by the cloud cover at this shutter speed, you will need to set the aperture for a very deep field depth. Otherwise only your subject will be in clear focus and the surrounding rain will no longer be captured by you.
Curtain of Rain:
This is also easy to do if you choose to use the falling rain as a form of curtain. All you need to do is drop the speed of the shutter to around 1/30 or 1/15. (You might need a tripod at these lower shutter speeds, unless you can still shake your body enough to prevent camera shake.) Then open up the aperture to a reasonably small f-stop, where the DOF is shallow.
You can shoot away with reckless abandonment or cautious calculation until you have settled on how you want to represent the rain when it’s raining. Either way, in your pictures, manipulating the DOF is important for using the falling rain creatively. To effectively control the DOF, changing the shutter speed and aperture takes practice, practice, practice. Be sure to wipe your camera down when you’re finished shooting in the rain, dab the lens dry with lens cleaner cloth, and remove the lens from the camera during the drying process.
Shooting After a Rainfall:
Only after the rain ends, the beauty of shooting is that most items are already damp and glistening, reflecting the sun. A glowing sheen may have anything as basic as a wet pavement, elevating a mundane picture into a stunning one.
The sheen of rain water also enhances any image’s apparent depth. This is because in different directions and intensities, the water reflects the sun. Within your line of sight, this optical phenomenon gives structure to whatever happens to be wet. With this in mind, see if you can get the light bouncing off the wet surface(s) while angling yourself for a snap, moving straight through your lens.
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