Rain photography can be demanding especially for photographers who aren't used to shooting in inclement weather. You need to take into account low light, cloudy skies, unsaturated colors and of course lots of water and reflections! It's tricky to find the right camera settings for such conditions.
Check out the following tips and tricks on camera settings for rain photography – they will make your rainy photo-shoots much more enjoyable!
Visualize The Atmosphere You Want To Achieve
Your camera settings for rain photography should depend on the type of photography you do and the mood you want to achieve. Do you shoot landscapes or portraits? Do you want your images to look ominous or romantic? Do you want them to be properly exposed or more on the dark side? Do you maybe want to play with slow shutter speed and create a soft painterly vibe, like the one you can see in impressionist paintings? Always ask yourself these questions before you start your photo session – having a clear plan in your mind will save you time!
Of course, feel free to experiment and use bracketing in case you’re not sure what the best exposure should be. Your camera’s metering system can be tricked by low-light conditions, so you have to make sure that your exposures aren't completely wrong.
Don’t Use The Lowest ISO Setting
Rain photography usually means shooting in low light – you might need to increase your ISO a little bit to avoid underexposed images. Using a bit higher ISO will also help maintain a fast shutter speed in case you’d like to capture the amazing beauty of raindrops!
But also make sure not to go too high in terms of ISO, because the more you raise it, the more noise you have to deal with!
Choose Shutter Speed Wisely
Just like any other subject in motion, rain requires a fast shutter speed if you want to focus on splashing water or droplets. A good starting point would be approximately 1/250 sec – you can go quicker or slower from there, depending on your preferences.
You can use a slow shutter speed for softer dreamy images, but don’t overdo it because you can easily end up with no focal point at all.
Experiment With Aperture
A large aperture is very useful because it allows more light into the camera – it will help you maintain a fast shutter speed if that's what you're looking for. However, for the sake of preserving fine details or background, it's good to avoid choosing the shallowest depth of field. You can start with f/8 and adjust it accordingly.
It might take some time to find the perfect balance between shutter speed and aperture!
Get Creative With Light Sources
If you shoot rain photographs during the evening or at night, you should pay attention to bright windows, billboards, traffic lights, car headlights and other sources of light that can help you make more creative and more colorful images. Also, it can be quite hard to focus at night and these sources of light will help you avoid out of focus photos.
Use The Flash (But In Manual Mode!)
You don’t have to rely on other sources of light if you decide to use flash. However, the automatic setting on your flash might be too harsh for rain photography, so you should use flash in manual mode and choose the exact intensity you want. If you’re still a beginner when it comes to flash photography, it can be better to rely on available light or take some time to learn how to use flash in manual mode.
Rely On Manual Focus
If you let your camera choose the focal point for you while shooting in rain, you definitely risk focusing on an unimportant part of the scene. In order to avoid this common issue, make sure to use manual focus. In this way, you will be free to decide what parts of the scene you want to emphasize.
If you want to learn more about taking photos in the rain, check out the links below!