Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
When you’re taking pictures in bad weather, it’s really easy to get frustrated.
The rain might cloud up your lens, you might be freezing cold or way, way too hot, and the sun never comes through the clouds during a good time.
Bad weather photography can be miserable, but, man, can it be rewarding, too!
That’s why we put this list together of tips for taking pictures in the rain, or in any bad weather for that matter.
Know What to Shoot on Bad Weather Days
Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash
This is the number one thing I’ve had to tell photography students who live in challenging climates, like say Iceland or the Pacific Northwest. You need to learn what photographs well in the rain and snow.
As an example, if the weather forecast calls for a 95% chance of rain, thinking you might grab some beautiful sunset shots tonight would be an amateur move.
Instead, think about what photographs well during an overcast day. The list is long, but it primarily circles around water. Waterfalls, streams, forests and anything really green that requires a lot of water to grow all works well when clouds are in abundance.
Like in the photo above, a little bit of rain served to darken the earth while bringing out the bright colors in the foliage. The rain clouds also give the shot tons of mood in the viewer’s mind.
If you’re looking for cooler, maybe even creepier tones for your portrait photography, then an overcast day is the perfect time to shoot them.
Twilight Light is Best for Bad Weather Photography
Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash
Gray clouds equal gray light almost all of the time. While you can use this darker lighting to your advantage like I talked about above, you can also exhibit your photographer’s intuition and shoot during twilight on rainy days.
As you science nerds know, blue light filters through the clouds the most during twilight. This allows you to capture colorful photos despite the inclement weather.
A pro photography tip for shooting during bad weather: make sure to set your white balance to a daylight preset or else it may try to balance that wonderful blue light for you.
Landscape Photography Tip: Patience is the Key
photo byclintspencer via iStock
One of the most impressive photojournalists I know smooth talked her way past government workers in order to take a ride on a four-wheeler up a mud-filled mountain. Why did she do this, you ask? Because she had just crashed her car sliding all the way off the mountain in an attempt to get a photo.
She was determined to get the shot. And, like any professional photographer, you need to be too.
While it isn’t comfortable to let rain or sleet pound you for two hours, it might be necessary in order to capture that perfect picture.
The only thing I don’t condone is putting your life in danger due to the bad weather!
Landscape Photography Gear for Bad Weather
photo by photovideostock via iStock
I never like to make umbrella statements when I’m giving photography advice, but bad weather days are the perfect excuse to bust our that old wide angle lens you have in the back of your closet.
A wider focal length means that you can use a slower shutter speed, and a slower shutter speed means your camera is taking in more light.
photo by miniloc via iStock
I fully admit there's been a time or two that I've completely forgotten my tripod at home.
That's unfortunate, because tripods are an essential tool, but even more essential during a bad weather day shoot. You don’t have as much light, so your exposure times are going to be longer.
If you don’t have a camera with image stabilizing capabilities, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when the perfect shot comes up and you missed it because didn’t have a means of stabilizing your camera to keep camera shake at bay.
The third thing I never forget when I’m going out for a photography shoot during a thunderstorm is the Camera Canopy.
I hate messing with those horrific plastic bags to try and keep my camera dry and my lens free of water droplets. They usually don’t work and are never worth the hassle.
The Camera Canopy is $80, so it’s affordable; it’s a small company, so their customer service is really great, too.
They even have a 30-day refund policy if you don’t like it more than a plastic bag (which, let’s be honest - this thing is vastly superior to sticking your head under a bag!).
The moral of the story here is that bad weather can actually be a blessing for your photos. It can add drama and mystique to otherwise blah shots. And the challenge of working in adverse conditions will only make you a better photographer in the long run.
So, grab your gear and get out there for some drama-filled bad weather photos!