When April unloads its torrential showers, everyone’s instinct is to run for cover, but photographers might do well to stick around for a drenching or two. The glistening streets and splattering droplets of spring can make for some exquisite rain photography, creating dramatic scenes of people sloshing through gushing gutters and sheets of downpour.
Rain is rife with opportunities for splendid photography, so long as you don’t mind enduring the occasional spray and — yes — soggy socks. It’s a whole new visual arena very much worth exploring, but in case you’re still feeling iffy about going out into the wet stuff, this dry rundown of inspiring ideas might help push you out the door.
Here are 10 tips on how to make the most of your rain photography this spring. They’ll ensure that when you finish up your shoot and come home soaked to your core, you’ll do so with a big wet smile.
1. Wet Impressionism
If your camera can take it, the distortions of a wet lens can transform any photo into something that approaches the formless blotting of impressionist paintings.
2. Always Be Window Shopping
When you’re out in the rain it’s best to always be window shopping, because you never know what you’ll find on the other side of those beautiful shimmering droplets. Where there is a window, there is an opportunity to capture a delightfully moody and unique scene.
3. The World Is a Mirror
Rain covers the world with reflective surfaces, letting you create some stunning indirect photos. If you can break up that mirror with rain drops plunking across the surface, well then you’ve struck wet gold.
4. Umbrella Spotting
Some people own interesting umbrellas. Find them! Peeking out from the masses of stretched black canvas, human individuality can shine through in the form of a clear plastic bubble or a yellow set of Pikachu ears.
5. Celebrate the Rain
If you are fearless and your camera is waterproof, you can leave the umbrella at home and celebrate the drenching of a lifetime. Grab a friend and go for a swim. If there’s nothing to swim in, stomp around in the puddles. You may come down with a cold, but you’ll have some of the most exhilarating and life-affirming photos you’ve ever captured.
6. Don’t Give Up on Faces
While it’s true that people hide under hoods and umbrellas in the rain, don’t give up on peeking your lens underneath for a fleeting glimpse. People drop their masks when they feel like they are already concealed, and if you stay sharp, you may find yourself face-to-face with a wealth of humanity and emotion.
8. Shelter From the Storm
If you need to take a break from the torrential downpour, find shelter, but don’t take a break from shooting. Shooting from the inside out can yield brilliant contrasting shots of wet and dry worlds. Nothing accentuates that dramatic difference more than including people in the mix; the comfort of a cafe patron versus the desperation of a street pedestrian caught in the thick of it.
8. Macro Rain Photography
Shrink the world down to the realm of macro photography to capture glorious gobs of rain suspended on towering pillars of grass. The natural world beneath our feet is an amazing universe all its own, and the visuals during and after a rainstorm are marvelous.
9. Rain at High Velocity
The shining streets and washed out lights look better than ever when someone is skidding through it all at tremendous speed. Rain is very much about splashes, sprays, and slippery action. Set your shutters to a low speed to get a wonderful wet blur.
10. Black and White Rain Photography
If you haven’t noticed yet, rain does wonderful things to light, bending and reflecting it in all directions. Black and white rain photography not only highlights contrast in lighting beautifully, but also brings out all of those wonderful textures that water can help define, down to the smallest ridges in the sidewalk.
Have you braved an April shower yet? Share your photos with the hashtag #RainShot so that we can splash around in the storm with you.