Yanik's Photo School

7 Steps for Taking Photos in the Rain

It’s raining right now… actually it’s pouring.  Which made me think that it would be a great tutorial idea to give you my tricks for shooting in the rain.

It’s not because it’s raining that you can’t go out and shoot.  Some great photography was done in the rain. Not a lot of people do it  because they think it’s “bad” weather. Water creates wonderful photography opportunities just like getting up at 4am to shoot the sunrise. It,s a unique experience that every passionate of photography must try. You won’t see rainy days the same way ever again. :)

But before you go out with your precious camera and gear in a wet environment, you have to prepare accordingly. So let’s get right to it.

Step 1 – Keep Yourself Dry

This one’s a no brainer right? You would think… but I saw photographers out in the pouring rain holding an umbrella in one hand and a DSRL camera in the other. It didn’t take long for the camera and lens to get wet. Not to mention shooting one-handed with a 70-200mm lens! A disaster just waiting to happen. Forget the umbrella unless your standing still and you clamp it somewhere to act as a shelter. You need both hands to shoot. Wear a raincoat and maybe even some rain boots if it’s pouring. Cold and wet feet don’t make for a happy photographer.

Step 2 – Get an All Weather Camera Bag

Before we look at what to do to keep your camera and lens dry while shooting, it’s important to keep it dry from point A to point B. My suggestion is to get a waterproof or “all weather” type camera bag like the Lowepro DryZone 200 or the bag I currently use, the Computrekker AW which has a protective outer shell that can easily be tucked away. The AW bag saved my gear when I got caught in a flash storm a few years back while in a canoe 1 hour away from camp. Never underestimate Mother Nature. What’s $200 to protect thousands of dollars worth of gear?

Step 3 – Keep Your Camera and Lens Dry

Off course we’re dealing with electronic equipment and it doesn’t mix well with water last I checked. There are many solutions that I’ll suggest so just use your best judgment depending on your personal situation.

1- Don’t go in the rain. 😉 What I mean by this is to stay under cover under a shelter. If it’s just drizzling, a tree can do the trick. I’ve seen people shooting from their car or even out their window.
2- Purchase a pro rain cover. B&H has a great variety ranging from $39.95 to $219.95 like the Tenba or the Aquatech.
3- Make your own DIY camera rain cover by using a ziplock or garbage bag and elastic bands for just a few pennies. Try making 2 holes on either side of the ziplock bag and pass the camera strap through it and reattach it to the camera.
4- Buy cheap rain pants and use one leg and elastic bands.
5- Attach an umbrella to your monopod using a superclamp so that where ever your camera goes, the umbrella follows.

Step 4 – Changing Lenses

If you need to change your lenses out in the rain, you absolutely need to keep the inside of your camera, and the lens element attaching to the camera, dry. My first suggestion would be to get out of the rain completely. If you can’t, cover your camera and lens as best you can and point the camera towards the ground while switching lenses.

Step 5 – Use Your Lens Hood

The lens hood has many uses. It not only used for lens flair. I have it on primarily to protect it from bumps and nicks. But it’s also good for keeping rain drop away from your lens. I my opinion, your should have your len hood on all the time, but if you don’t this is a great time to put it on.

Step 6 – Something to Dry Your Equipment

Even if you used the 5 previous steps mentioned above, you might still end up getting some water on your gear so it’s very important to have an absorbent cloth in your bag. I actually have a small piece of ShamWow with my all the time but you could bring a few folded up paper towels or a dish cloth.

Step 7 – Bring a Monopod or Tripod

Rainy days means clouds which means no sun, which means less light. Less light means you’ll probably have to shoot at slower shutter speeds.  A tripod or monopod will prevent you from taking blury images due to camera shake.

Do you have any other suggestions?

12 Responses on 7 Steps for Taking Photos in the Rain"

  1. Sheila says:

    Great information! I love it when it rains. I can’t wait to get outside with my camera just as it stops raining. I wrote an article similar to this a while back. Mine is more about taking nature photography in rural areas in the rain. I guess living in the country, I don’t think about what great photo opportunities there are in the city when it is raining. I really enjoyed your article! :)

  2. Lenore says:

    Attended the Topaz webinar today and it was awesome. Downloaded the iPhone apps and I will be telling everyone about them. Thanks!

    Love these tips for the rain . . . can’t wait to share them and read more of what you have to share.

    Again thanks so much . . .

  3. haryadi be says:

    great advise!. . great tutorial too . thank you Yanik.

    greetings from sambu island-Indonesia

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, great tips

  5. Pascale says:

    Yep set tv on 1/60th of a sec to catch the rain falling or fake it with a hose as per Brian Peterson training dvd :)

  6. Michael says:

    Seven tips for taking photos in the rain might be a better title for this article but great information either way, thanks

  7. Nice tips for shooting in the rain. Very practical. Thanks for the insight.

  8. Great Article yanik..thank you so much for sharing. Waiting for the latest post.

    Regard from Bali.

  9. Randy Lawson says:


    That’s an idea, never thought of it. They need to add that to thier commercial .

  10. Profile photo of Yanik Yanik says:

    Great tips Briburt! Thx for sharing. :)

  11. briburt says:

    Hey – great post with some fantastically useful info.

    I would add the following tips:

    1. Check your lens for raindrops between shots, and keep a lens cloth handy to wipe them away if necessary.

    2. If you can wait, shoot immediately AFTER a rain shower. If you’re in a city, the reflections off the streets and sidewalks can add a lot of power and interest to a shot (esp. in the evening when streetlights are just coming on), and if you’re out in nature, the greens of the foliage look more saturated and shimmering when wet.

    3. If it’s really storming (thunder and lightning), get inside a building or vehicle. Don’t “take shelter” under a tree (very bad idea), esp. if that tree is the only tall thing around. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

    4. Look up. There can be a lot of drama in the sky (clouds mixed with sun) right before or right after a storm.

  12. Great tips .. just what I need this week. Thanks! 😀

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