Shootin’ in the Rain

Just a few weeks ago, I celebrated the change of season. The color change in the leaves, the crisp autumn breeze in the air, everything around us reminds us of fall. While it’s an invigorating time of year for me, there’s just one thing I forgot about…

Shooting in the rain kinda sucks.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the rain. Whenever it rains, my wife and I open up all the windows in the house, breathe in the wonderful smell, and listen to it fall. I also love how rain looks in photographs. Actually capturing those photos, however? That’s a different story.

Like Brett, the idea of my camera getting wet terrifies me. In high school, I was shooting a short film and reviewing footage at the bottom floor of a parking garage when suddenly, a gush of water fell on me and destroyed my camera. Someone on the top floor thought it’d be a funny prank! Ever since then, even the smallest water drop on or even near my camera makes me nervous.

I won’t deny that I’m overly cautious. Most modern cameras are built with some kind of water resistance, and as long as you don’t go out in a downpour and pay close attention to how much water gets on your equipment, you’ll likely be okay.

Still, I like to play it safe, and have found these quick fixes can help ease my worries and allow me to enjoy that sweet, sweet rainfall.

Fake it

star wars k2so black series
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

The simplest and sometimes most effective way is to simply fake it. Make it look like you’re in a downpour, either through a bit of creative editing or by sitting underneath a covering. It could be an umbrella or awning, inside a gazebo, or under a heavy cover of trees.

The K-2SO shot above employed several of these methods. It was taken on my covered back patio, and given some extra rain in Photoshop. If you really want to sell the illusion, make sure to actually get some water on your subject. I’ve found that simply sticking the figure out into the actual rain does the trick while ensuring that you and your gear stay dry (and safe!)

Stay indoors completely!

This one might feel like cheating, but staying indoors and finding ways to shoot the rain outside can lead to some excellent photos.

lego friends 41305
Rain, rain, go away…

I’ve also found that a spray bottle with a slow shutter speed, or more magic in Photoshop, can turn any studio setup into a nice rainy scene as well!

lego singin' in the rain
“I’m siiiiiingin’ in the rain!”

Cover your gear

If you do want to be brave and venture out into a rainstorm to capture the perfect shot, go for it! Just make sure to protect yourself and your gear accordingly. Keep your head covered, wear layers, and cover your camera, either in an affordable rain resistant case, or even a simple plastic bag.

I personally like the plastic bag method, and have found great success with it in both rain and snow.

All dry!

The plastic bag trick isn’t a perfect fix, and may take some trial and error. Once you get it right though, you can turn inclement weather into a prime photo opportunity. Here’s a great video tutorial and how to achieve a seal better than the one I used above.

Do you brave the elements for your photography? What methods have you found helpful for keeping you and your gear safe? Let us know in the comments below! 


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  1. Such a great post! I love the singing in the rain picture!

    I must admit that I tend to just take my camera out into downpours without a thought. I might hunch over it a bit to keep the worst off, but in general, it seems to cope with the rain very well! It probably helps that it’s reached the point in it’s life where it’s already been dropped, dented and battered so I’m not too concerned about a little English rain!

  2. Great post! No snow over here in Melbourne city – one less element to worry about!

    I do remember doing a timelapse once when it started drizzling – one of those slow and long drawn out ones – and I couldn’t bear stopping the camera as it was already halfway through the shoot. Had to sacrifice myself and shield the camera as best as I could!

    The plastic bag/ziploc is a great tip which I will adopt in future. Thanks!

    Out of curiosity, what shutter speeds did you use for that singing in the rain shot?

  3. Reiterlied

    I go out with my camera under the rain, I hold it above water with the bottom touching the water and I bury it in the snow in the winter. I’ve done the last one only with a weather-sealed camera but did the first two with my old camera body which wasn’t.

    Rain is not a danger as long as you don’t stay hours under heavy rain. I’ve tried the plastic bags but they are useless. Once your bag is soaked, you can’t see properly in the viewfinder, or on even the camera screen. Also, plastic bags don’t solve the problem of water droplets (which can ruin a photo) on the front of the lens.

    From my experience, the real danger comes from condensation created by a sudden change of temperature. Even if it’s moderately cold outside, going with your camera inside a much warmer environment can be fatal if you continue to use it.

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