Street Photography in the Rain: 3 Lessons learnt

3 Tips for Street Photography and Rain

I really love the combination of street photography and rain. Since rain changes the mood and the city completely. As a result the most mundane things turn into drama, mystery and and poetry. Here are 3 easy to follow tips for amazing street photographs in the rain.

Bring an umbrella

The simple yet game changing tip I got about photographing in the rain: Get an umbrella. It really seems so obvious. An umbrella offers basic protection for yourself and more importantly your gear. So I made an umbrella part of my essential street photography gear. Just like spare batteries or a spare memory card.  As I can attest: It is not only much more pleasant to shoot in the rain, when you are under an umbrella. I get better images as well. Being protected allows for more calmness and time when framing a photograph.

Street Photography Rain Martin U Waltz
My umbrella and me – photograph by Uwa Scholz

On a side note: My camera, a Ricoh GR, survived that rain shoot and so did I. Only the sneakers had to go afterwards, the flooded sewers made them olfactoric very challenging .

Use an affordable camera

I recently wrote why I think the Ricoh GR to be one of the best cameras for street photography. And here is another reason why I like the Ricoh GR: The Ricoh GR is very affordable. Because I can get a second hand one for as low as 400 € or USD. So I’m very ok with the camera being at risk. And the Ricoh GR has proven to be able to take quite a bit of rain. Yet I have seen many street photographers fold when rain was setting in.  The camera they use were too expensive or too sensitive to expose them to any kind of humidity let alone rain.

Look for the Light

Finding interesting light is especially relevant when it comes to street photography and rain. At the same time it is and the most challenging task. As rain usually comes with dull light. If lucky, there are both rain and sunshine. Also city lights, car lights, neon lights can provide great light sources. Even if the light is dull, reflections on the ground or in puddles can enhance the image immensely. That has worked well for Henri Cartier-Bresson when he took his famous puddle jump image and it will work for you.

Street Photography Rain in Berlin by Martin U Waltz

Street Photography in the Rain – Style Choices


street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography rain Martin U Waltz


street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography rain Martin U Waltz

Neon Lights

street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography rain Martin U Waltz
street photography and rain Martin U Waltz
street photography and rain Martin U Waltz

Final Thoughts

The combination of street photography and rain allows for truly amazing photographs. Yet these images come with a price. You have to expose yourself and your gear to that very rain. It is quite surprising to see how many photographers fold, once the rain sets in.

I feel great shots happen outside your comfort zone. And that is certainly true for rain street photography.

Interested in more rain street photography? Have a look at the light urban rain series.

Photographer Berlin Martin U Waltz

Martin U Waltz is a photographer, educator and writer in Berlin. His passion is street photography. 

Martin has written and co-authored several books on street photography. Martin  has won numerous photography awards and his work has been shown in exhibitions around the world. 

Martin is a passionate photography teacher. He offers street photography workshops and personal photo coaching in Berlin.


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