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6 Creative Ideas for Rewarding Photography on Rainy Nights

Probably every night photography enthusiast has a moment of doubt when the weather forecast announces rain. If getting a camera out on a rainy day may seem like quite a challenge, rainy nights tend to scare some photographers even more... but only those who do not know what a wonderful photographic opportunity a rainy night can be! Properly equipped with waterproof clothes and camera protection, even a beginner photographer may get some absolutely stunning shots. Check out our 6 creative ideas for photography on rainy nights and find out what a rewarding experience this is!

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So what to capture?

1. Reflections

One of the best things about any wet surface is how reflective it gets, especially at night, when the street lights are on. Any dull-looking dry square or sidewalk turns into a giant mirror, reflecting even the slightest source of light. If it rains, find a well-lit area and shoot from lower position: the closer you are to the surface, the more reflective it becomes!

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Puddles of water are not to be overlooked either! Look for interesting angles and combinations and you will surely find a new way to interpret the familiar view.

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2. Umbrellas

As soon as the first raindrops hit the ground, umbrellas become an integral part of any cityscape. If the ambient light is sufficient, include umbrellas in your images as colourful accents. If the light is low, shoot against the light source and use their easily recognisable silhouettes. If you are holding an umbrella above the camera, include some of it in your view for extra depth of the image.

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3. The rain

When photographing on a rainy night, we often tend to forget about the rain itself, while it makes quite an interesting subject! Like anything transparent, rain becomes more visible when captured backlit. Look for a bright light source and shoot right into it. Use a slower shutter speed to blur the motion of the water drops (around 1/60 sec), or add a flash to stop the droplets in mid-air. Play with shallow depth of field (low f-number) and manual focus to separate some of the rain from the background for a 3D effect.

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4. Wet surfaces

Just like the rain, wet surfaces may not only serve to reflect the views, but can also make great subjects. Zoom in to those jewel-like droplets and let the street lights shine through them for some beautiful texture images. Look for even polished surfaces, such as glass, steel, stone, or even car trunks. Shallow depth of field (low f-number) will help to blur the shiny droplets into sparkles.

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5. Passers-by

Rainy weather provides multiple opportunities for candid street shots. To capture passers-by trying to protect themselves from the rain by night, use a high ISO setting (at least 1600) and a low f-number to increase the shutter speed. This will help you stop the movement and add some life to your regular night shots.

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6. Dramatic sky

On rainy nights, clouds may come quite low and close to the ground while creating some truly dramatic effects. Look for tall illuminated structures, such as skyscrapers, TV towers, or landmarks: such cityscape will definitely look different from a regular view captured on a clear night.

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Tips on photographing in the rain:

  • Protect your equipment: use any of the available rain protection gear.
  • A lens hood will save the front of your lens from the majority of raindrops.
  • Paper tissues work wonders by absorbing the occasional water drops from the lens instead of smearing them.
  • Obviously, a good umbrella is a must, both for you and your camera.
  • Dress accordingly: waterproof shoes and clothes will make the entire experience more enjoyable.
  • When photographing in the city, look for roofs, porches, or awnings: you will be able to shoot outside without having to hold the umbrella.

So are you ready for the rainy night photography challenge? If so, share your results with us!

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.

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