A rainy day may ruin your motivation to go out and shoot, but it shouldn’t necessarily ruin your camera and picture taking abilities. Even if your camera isn’t waterproof, weatherproof or weather-sealed there are still ways that you can go out into the rain and shoot to your heart’s desire. In truth, you can capture some gorgeous scenes while you’re out in the rain.
Keep the Camera Under Your Coat/Hoodie
If you’re going out in the rain, chances are that you’re going to wear a hoodie or coat of some sort in order to keep your clothes from getting wet. In that case, you can surely keep your point-and-shoot, micro four-thirds or DSLR under your hoodie. Whenever you’re ready to shoot, just take the camera out and quickly take the shot in order to prevent excessive amounts of rain/snow from getting into the camera. For fastest results, shoot in program or aperture modes. For the results you want, it should go without say to shoot in manual.
This works great if you’ve got a DSLR and you’re wearing a hoodie. Just place your hood over your head and bring the camera in as close to your face as possible when shooting. The hood will act as a cover for your camera while you shoot. Your lens will protrude but your lens will be able to withstand the rain to a certain point.
That’s exactly how the above photo was taken using my Olympus E-510 on a rainy night out with friends around the Times Square area.
I always try to pack as light as I can when shooting, so as an alternative what you can do is take your hoodie off and wrap it around the camera. This obviously means that you will get wet, but if you’d rather you being soaked over having to replace your camera then this is a good option.
The first photo in this article was captured that way while out in NYC one night with friends and I saw the above scene. It was cloudy, raining and the Empire State Building looked like it was being swallowed by the clouds. This photo was taken while standing in the middle of Park Ave. South. (Be careful while doing something like that.)
Make a DIY Rain Cover With a Plastic Bag
Of course, there is always the old school method of doing this too. This involves using a plastic shopping bag or freezer bag, cutting a hole through it for your lens and placing it over your camera. It provides plenty of protection for your camera but can be tedious to use. If you’ve got a point-and-shoot, it may be hard to see the LCD as well. As for DSLR users, let’s just say that you’ll have a much easier time changing your settings without the bag.
Additionally, if your camera bag doesn’t have a rain cover, consider keeping a plastic garbage bag in a pouch or pocket. If you get caught out in a down pour, you can drop the entire camera bag into your “DIY rain cover” while you make your way to a dry area.
Shoot From Cover
If the subject you need to capture is out in bad weather, you need to learn how to go out and shoot in rain or shine. One method you can use while keeping your discreteness is shooting from cover. I was a few feet away from actor Justin Long when I shot this photo using my Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105mm F4L IS.
Cover can be the awning of a local deli, a nice bushy tree, scaffolding, from under a sea of umbrellas, your car, etc. It will greatly aid you because you can concentrate more on getting the shot.
Don’t Be Too Timid, Your Camera May Be Tougher Than You Think
Your camera won’t melt at the first sign of moisture or inclement weather. While you should not go asking for trouble by taking your non-weatherproof camera out for a couple of hours in a monsoon or under a waterfall like Massimo did ;-), it’s unlikely that a few rain drops or snow flakes will kill it.
Don’t panic at the first sign of bad weather. Just use some common sense and minimize your camera’s exposure to the elements.
What tips do you have to share for shooting in bad weather?