Rainy Day Photography Tips
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.

>> More Nagoya, 15 Things To Do In Nagoya That Are Worth Your Time (Free Checklist)

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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?

Rainy Day Photography Tips and Tricks

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  1. Thanks for the tidbits. Rainy days sure do have their advantages. I’ll keep these things in mind the next time I hesitate state to go explore a place on a mucky day?

  2. Nice article! I agree with you, I love taking photographs when it rains! I never thought of shooting through a transparent umbrella. Great idea, I’m definitely buying one of these to try it. 🙂

  3. Different perspective. I like it! And I like your pictures too! Rain can add drama and romance. I have not done photography in the rain (always scared my cam will get damaged hehe) but during a blizzard, I did a couple of times. I also loved how the pictures turned out.

    • I’m glad you like it. The rain does add a different feel to photos. I had to be careful to keep my camera dry. Blizzard pictures must be very interesting too!

  4. antipodeanjen Reply

    I love the lighting that comes with rainy days. It can add so much to a photo. Great shots!

  5. My Himeji Castle experience was similar to yours, it poured the whole time I spent over there. But as you write, that does have advantages. 🙂

    • Oh, I really want to go to Himeji Castle someday! I think I would like to see it on a sunny day though. The white would be so pretty. Anyway, could you get some nice rainy shots?

  6. Found your Blog interesting. I am a photographer too. Will surely try these tricks.

    Tell me how we can share our blogs. I am sharing this post on FB.

    • That’s kind of you to say. That was one of the purposes of going out yesterday. It’s the first time I have purposely gone out in the rain with the intention to take photos in it and of it. It was nice too.

    • Thank you. Yes! It was perfect rainy weather yesterday afternoon, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity while I had it. Until a bit later when the rain got too heavy too safely use my camera.

  7. Managing a cameral and an umbrella (or sunshade – my umbrella does double duty) does take practice! Easier with a smaller camera, of course.

    • It’s no easy feat. Especially when you want to zoom and change the various settings. Luckily it didn’t pour for the first part of my excursion. Toward the end it started pouring heavily, and it got more challenging to keep everything dry. I don’t think I broke anything though 🙂

  8. Great photos Jennifer, moody and beautiful. I thought to look at your city via Google Earth the other day, such a huge city. News here says there is a typhoon on the south end.

    • Why, yes. There was a typhoon yesterday. I think it was near Tokyo, which is why it was rainy here yesterday. It started pouring and thundering toward the end of my photography practice, so I had to call it quits. Today is windy.

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