Taking photos in the rain is both enjoyable and a creative process for photographers. Raindrops, light reflections, and wet colors often add a completely different meaning to photos. However, to capture stunning photographs and achieve impressive shots in rainy weather, you need to face certain challenges.
Adjusting the Focus
Taking photos in the rain brings along some challenges, especially regarding focus. Raindrops, mist, or smoke can add uncertainty and a faded appearance to your photos. Therefore, reviewing your focus settings can be beneficial for achieving clear and sharp images.
1. Choose your focus point. Taking photos in the rain can render your camera’s automatic focus settings less effective. Therefore, it’s better to manually select your focus point.
Set your focus point on the main subject of your photograph or an interesting detail. After selecting your focus point, use your camera’s focus lock feature to stabilize the focus.
2. Adjust the aperture. The aperture setting determines the depth of field in your photograph, indicating how much of your image appears sharply in focus. To capture better photos in the rain, you may want to decrease your aperture size. This way, both the foreground and background of your photograph will appear sharp.
You can adjust the aperture by increasing the value known as the F-number on your camera.
3. Set the shutter speed. Shutter speed determines how long your camera’s shutter remains open, influencing how your photograph captures moving objects. If you want to freeze raindrops in action, increase your shutter speed. If you prefer to show raindrops as streaks, decrease your shutter speed.
You can adjust your shutter speed by changing the value known as the S or Tv number on your camera.
4. Adjust the ISO value. The ISO value determines the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light.
When taking photos in the rain, you may want to increase your ISO value. This will make your photograph brighter. However, if you set your ISO value too high, it may introduce noise to your photo. Therefore, try to keep your ISO value at a level where your photo is adequately bright and clean.
Rainy weather and wet surfaces can lead to unwanted reflections, affecting the contrast, colors, and sharpness of your photograph. Therefore, preventing reflections will make it easier to achieve the desired image. Alternatively, if you want to capture a photo that entirely focuses on reflections, you can adjust these settings to your advantage.
1. Use a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter is an accessory attached to your camera’s lens. By blocking reflected light, it enhances the contrast, colors, and sharpness of your photograph.
A polarizing filter is particularly useful when photographing reflective objects such as puddles, windows, metal surfaces, and wet leaves. Choose a polarizing filter in a size that fits your camera lens, and rotate it to achieve the best results.
2. Use a lens hood. Another important accessory, as crucial as a polarizing filter, is a lens hood. Lens hoods, typically needed when taking photos in sunny conditions, can also be beneficial in rainy weather by reducing sidelight falling onto the front surface of the lens.
Being Creative and Imaginative
The traces of raindrops on objects add an aesthetic texture, transforming ordinary compositions into works of art. Therefore, photos taken on rainy days can elevate your artistic vision to a different level.
1. Capture photos from different angles. Taking photos in the rain provides an opportunity to go beyond the ordinary. Therefore, try capturing images from different angles. For example, taking photos from a low angle can capture reflections in puddles. Alternatively, capturing images from above can showcase surfaces where raindrops are falling.
2. Capture different subjects. For instance, people running, dancing, opening umbrellas, or getting wet in the rain… These and similar elements can add movement and emotion to your photos. Alternatively, rain-soaked plants, animals, buildings… It’s entirely up to your imagination.
3. Utilize different light sources. Taking photos in the rain is a great opportunity to see how light affects your photographs. Therefore, try making use of various light sources. For example, artificial light sources like street lamps, neon signs, car headlights, or storefront displays…
Photographing lightning strikes
Photographing lightning strikes is a challenging process that requires special skills and technical knowledge. Choosing the right equipment is crucial for a successful shoot. A DSLR or mirrorless camera is ideal for this task as they provide photographers with extensive control over settings. Wide-angle lenses increase the chance of capturing lightning across a broad area of the sky. Additionally, a sturdy tripod enables smooth shots by allowing for long exposures in low-light conditions.
Correctly configuring optimal camera settings is crucial when capturing lightning or thunderstorms. Wide aperture settings (small f-number), low ISO values, and manual focusing are key to capturing the sudden brightness of lightning bursts effectively. Utilizing continuous shooting mode to capture a series of frames increases the chances of capturing a lightning strike.
Prioritize your safety when capturing lightning photographs. Stay away from elevated areas, trees, and telephone/electric poles.
Protecting Equipment from Raindrops and Moisture
At last, take great care to protect your equipment. In addition to your camera, ensure that your lenses, tripod, flash diffuser, filters, lens cleaning materials, and technological accessories like batteries are safeguarded from getting wet. A waterproof bag is an ideal solution for securely storing your camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards, and other accessories.
Special waterproof covers for cameras and lenses, along with silica gel packets, can be handy. The waterproof covers should have appropriate openings for buttons and control points. Silica gel packets can be used to prevent moisture from seeping into the equipment.
If raindrops fall on your equipment, promptly use a microfiber or cotton drying cloth to dry it. Avoid using paper towels and rough tissues, as they can cause scratches or leave fibers.
After a photo shoot, cleaning and maintaining your equipment is crucial. Clean lenses, filters, and sensors gently with special cleaning cloths or brushes designed for photographers. Battery compartments, memory card slots, and other connection points should be cleaned with cotton swabs.