Have you ever looked out the window while you were on vacation, saw it was raining, and though to yourself, “what a poopy day”? Did you have plans to do some sightseeing, but now you’re afraid the rain is going to put a damper on those plans? Don’t think like that, silly! Just because it is raining when you are on vacation, doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good time. And in some ways, the rain can even work to your advantage. Specifically taking photos in the rain! In this post, I’ll let you in on a few tips and tricks to help you take amazing rainy day photography. You’ll get unique photos that will impress anyone.
Rainy day photography – tips and tricks for taking unique shots
I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that I’ve been disappointed to wake on vacation to find it raining. Maybe I wanted to go see a temple or garden or some other tourist thing, but now it feels like it won’t be fun. Wrong! If you have any kind of camera, you can still have a good time and take amazing photos that you can be proud of.
Advantages of rainy day photography
There are a few advantages to braving the rain on vacation and visiting tourist places:
- Less crowds
- Cool weather, in summer
- No sunburns, in summer
- Pretty scenes
- Unique shots!
In my post about surviving rainy season in Japan, I mentioned going sightseeing when it is raining because places will not be crowded. I took my own advice, and had a rainy day photography shoot at Nagoya Castle. Besides it being pleasantly deserted, there were many interesting elements that help make a great shot.
What makes rainy day photography unique?
Dark, moody skies
The skies will be dark, and there might be dark clouds. You can use this to create a dark mood on the ground. And include the dark clouds in your shot to add to the effect.
Softer light – no harsh shadows from the sun
With the sun hiding behind the clouds, you will have softer light. You won’t need to position yourself and your subjects carefully because there will not be harsh shadows on them. With the softer light, you’ll also be able to see more details.
Good reflections – puddles and wet surface
Look for unique shots and reflections in puddles and shiny surfaces. You will be able to get very unique images. Note: you’ll probably have to get very low to the ground for this to work well.
No bad reflections – sun shining on something you don’t want
With the sun hidden, it won’t be shining on bright walls or pieces of metal. So there shouldn’t be any unwanted reflections. Unless the above-mentioned puddles are reflecting something you don’t want.
Splashes and rain drops
Use a fast shutter speed to capture rain drops splashing down.
Water drips and drops
You can also take photos of still rain drops – the ones that are just sitting on a surface, or dangling off an edge or a leaf. Make sure you get up close to really show the detail.
Umbrellas as a prop
Umbrellas can work really well in helping create a mood. They also are an interesting element to add to your photos. They can be coloured or plain.
CLEAR umbrellas as an even better prop!
If you have a clear umbrella, even better! Let it collect a few rain drops on top then shoot from underneath it. Make sure you focus on the raindrops on the umbrella and not on the subject outside the umbrella. It’s better if the umbrella is newer so there aren’t any scratches on it. It’s also difficult to adjust your camera settings while holding an umbrella, so you may need to find a place to put the umbrella down and get under it.
If you decide to try out some rainy day photography, you must remember to take care of your equipment.
I don’t have any fancy protective gear for my camera. No camera jackets or things like that, just a backpack and an umbrella. Luckily, most of the time it was not pouring rain. It was still pretty awkward to hold the umbrella with one hand and the camera with one-and-a-half hands. If possible, try and get someone to come with you as your personal assistant – to hold the umbrella.
Below are a few of the photos I was able to snap around Nagoya Castle in the rain yesterday. I have a Canon EOS 600D that I bought six years ago, and I used the kit lens.
Did you know there are deer at Nagoya Castle? They live in the dried out moat around the main castle.
Although Nagoya Castle is not shiny and glamorous in the rain, it has a special rainy day charm. Visiting tourist places in the rain is a unique way to see something, and a great opportunity to practice rainy day photography. I’m sure you’ll come away with some unique and interesting shots.
Take-aways from this post
- Rainy weather does not have to stop you from going sightseeing while on vacation
- Tourist attractions will be less crowded on rainy days
- The rain can help you create moody and unique photos
Have you ever visited a tourist attraction in the rain? Did you get any unique photos?
Sign up to below to access my Japan free resource library. There’s a free cheatsheet about rainy day photography in the library!