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.
Tip #1 Bring an umbrella
The simple yet game changing tip I got about photographing in the rain: Get an umbrella. Many thanks to Digby Fullam of streethunters for that one. 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 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 and rain: the importance of having an umbrella
Tip #2 Use an affordable camera
I recently wrote why I think the Ricoh GR to be the best camera for street photography. 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. Also the Ricoh GR has proven to be able to take quite a bit of rain. Yet I have seen many street togs fold when rain was setting in, simply because their camera was too expensive or too sensitive.
Tip #3 Watch 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.
same location: sun from behind
shot at iso 25.600
shot against the sun
my umbrella and me. photo © Uwa Scholz
street photography in the rain: go for drama
street photography in the rain: watch for mystery
street photography and rain: neon nights
Martin U Waltz is passionate about street photography. Berlin, the radiant capital of Germany is his preferred hunting ground.
He is a founding member of the "Berlin1020" street photography collective and one of the the editors of "The German Street Photography Site".
Martin is the co-author of the book "Street Photography: Made in Germany" published by German publishing house Rheinwerk Verlag.