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Rain photography is artful and dramatic. Learn the key features of rain photography and transform beautiful rain into your favorite subject.
Rain photography is highly demanding, and many photographers prefer to wait for sunny weather. Taking pictures of rain and wet subjects challenges photographers to use special gear and settings, compose in difficult conditions, and convey a poetic message. Unlike sunset photography, rain photography works with low light, gray skies, unsaturated colors, and lots of water.
Despite all this, rain pictures are part of all great photographers’ portfolios regardless of their style. There are good reasons for this. Rain is mysterious, moody, and dramatic. It changes landscapes and people. Rain is always different and perfect for artistic approaches. It can easily transform a dull subject into something amazing.
Do you remember Elliott Erwitt’s photograph “Leap on a rainy day,” taken for the hundredth anniversary of the Eiffel Tower? Or the many rainy day images of Henri Cartier-Bresson? His street life pictures wouldn’t have been the same without rain.
Rain photography is indeed an art. You need solid knowledge of photography, a professional camera with high performance in low-light conditions, and a lot of patience. Here’s everything you need to know to add beautiful rain pictures to your portfolio.
In terms of gear, there are some vital things for taking rain pictures:
Camera settings depend on the type of photography you do. Your style and the atmosphere of the pictures are also important. The most popular settings below will make the raindrops visible, but you can experiment with other settings as well. Bracketing is often used to establish the best exposure. Vary the exposure slightly around the recommended value given by your camera. A camera’s metering system can be tricked by low-light conditions. Here are the most useful settings for rain photography:
These recommended settings will help you start your adventure into the world of rain photography. Nevertheless, they aren’t the only settings you can use. Choose your subject and adapt the settings to your style, the weather conditions, and the location. Rain images feature a wide range of subjects: storms, misty autumn rain, rainbows, night rain, tropical rain, freezing rain. Sometimes the best images break all the rules.
Rainy day pictures ask for more artful compositions than other types of photographs. Let the weather inspire you and choose the message you want to convey. Then choose the mood for your rain images and consider all the tools you need.
Photo editing software like Luminar 3 can help you correct the exposure and white balance and make all sorts of other adjustments. Luminar 3 is designed by photographers who understand your needs. It has many extraordinary Looks that completely change the mood of your rainy day pictures, and every new version adds more Looks (presets). For example, you can use the Dramatic Look from the Creative set to enhance contrast, details, and colors. Every rain drop will gain personality and weight.
Or you can choose the soft and diffused Look called Mystic Land from the Landscape set and transform your rain image into something more poetic and delicate.
Luminar 3 allows you to modify and save each Look, add filters, and work in layers. It also gives you smart tools for photo retouching and photo organizing. You can download it and try it for free right now.
While good photo editing software can help you improve the quality of your images, it can’t help you improve your composition. For rain photography, there are some creative compositions that can guide you, but you have to find your own perspectives. Study and practice these four compositions, then move on to your own creative ideas:
Photo by Jack Finnigan
Photography in the rain adds artistic value to your compositions. You won’t have just rainy streets or gray landscapes; you’ll have stories. Every story has its own characters and setting, and your role is to build the atmosphere and follow the narrative.
Rain photography gives you the opportunity to work with unique colors and textures. You can experiment with some of the less used effects and artistic approaches. Rain photography is closer to painting and poetry. It can have the dark side of Edgar Allan Poe or the soft glow of Impressionism. It can have the scary adventure of an Agatha Christie novel or the romanticism of a Hollywood movie. You can find inspiration in art museums, movies, music, and literature. You can also find inspiration in yourself and transpose your inner state into images. Here are some guidelines to help you discover the artistic faces of rain photography:
Taking pictures in the rain gets you out of your comfort zone. You learn to work in hard conditions and adapt to constantly changing scenery. You learn to take pictures in low-light conditions and consider weather in your compositions. Rain photography is spectacular and easily wins the public and the critics. Ask photographer Andrew Suryono, whose picture “Orangutan in the Rain” received no less than six awards.
More than technical skills and endurance, rain requires creativity and engagement with the subject. You need to feel the mood, understand the narrative, and enjoy the artistic work. Experiment with different compositions and effects, learn to enhance your photographs in post-processing, and add some poetry to your portfolio. Luminar 3 can help a lot with establishing the mood you want without taking too much time. Moreover, you can try Luminar 3 for free by downloading it right now.
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