Rain Photoshoot Tips for Unique and Captivating Photos

Rain Photoshoot Tips for Unique and Captivating Photos

Rain in the forecast can be a disappointment for photographers and their clients, especially if they planned an outdoor photoshoot. Rain can ruin the vision for perfect, directional lighting that was originally planned, making it difficult to capture the desired mood or atmosphere. However, instead of rescheduling or moving the shoot entirely indoors, photographers have an opportunity to capture interesting and creative photos with an outdoor rain photoshoot. In this article, we’ll provide you with some rain photoshoot tips to prepare and inspire your creativity.

Research the Weather

Photo by Lin and Jirsa (Website | Wedding Maps Profile)

The first step in planning a successful rain photoshoot is to check the weather forecast. This will help you choose the right day and time for the shoot and ensure that the weather conditions are suitable for photography. Heavy downpours may make it completely impossible, while light drizzles can be easier to manage.

Prepare Rain Photoshoot Gear

The next step is preparing the proper gear for a rain photoshoot.

Umbrellas: Prepare large umbrellas for yourself and for your subjects. Be sure that the umbrella for your client is photogenic and matches the style and vibe of the shoot. A pro tip is to consider using a large white photography umbrella for the subjects, as those have a neutral color photograph well and absorb the lighting from the flash, which we’ll cover later in this article.

Camera Rain Gear: Purchase or DIY a cover for your camera. While most cameras are weatherproof, keeping your camera gear dry is still important for the long-term performance of your equipment. You’ll also want to prepare bags for your off-camera flashes. Flash units are generally less weatherproof than cameras and lenses.

Lenses: Choose a versatile lens so that you don’t have to swap lenses in the middle of the shoot. Weatherproofing does not apply when the lens is off of the mirrorless or DSLR camera.

Determine the Style and Lighting for Your Shoot

The next step is to determine the overall style for your rain photoshoot. Are you going for a more organic, natural, storytelling style? Or are you going for a dramatic or creative effect? The style you choose will determine your overall approach.

Rain Photoshoots With Natural Light

For organic, natural light rain photoshoots, think of the clouds above as a giant softbox and go through your regular natural light workflow. Here are a few examples of natural light photoshoots (and photojournalistic moments).

Photo by 4 Eyes Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada

Photo by David Conaty (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Glencoe, Scotland UK

Photo by Larsen Photo Co (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Gunnison National Forest, Crested Butte, CO

Photo by Roddy Chung (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Beacon Hill in Boston, MA

Rain Photoshoots With Flash Photography 

Photo by Andreas Pollok (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Alte Gärtnerei in München, Germany

Flash photography in the rain can provide unique and creative opportunities for photographers to capture striking and dramatic images. The raindrops can reflect and refract the light from the flash, creating interesting patterns and textures in the image. Photographers can experiment with different flash techniques, such as bouncing the flash off reflective surfaces or using colored gels to add a creative twist to the shot. With some imagination and technical skill, rainy conditions can be turned into a creative advantage for photographers. Let's review these in the sections below.

Tips for Creative Rain Photoshoots With Flash

Try these creative techniques for flash photography in the rain.

Backlight With Long Exposures

A long exposure in the rain captures streaks of rain instead of the small, individual droplets. This can create an interesting, artistic effect in the photos. See some examples below.

Photo by Jason Vinson (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Backyard Wedding in Bentonville, Arkansas

Photo by Shirleen Burnett (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Lake Louise, AB Canada

Backlight With Creative Gels

Colored gels on the flash will add color to the atmosphere and to the rain droplets themselves. See some examples below.

Photo by SMJ Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Knights of Columbus in Washington, MO USA

Photo by Jindrich Nejedly (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) a Forest in the South Bohemia Region of the  Czech Republic

Backlight With Reflective Foreground

Rain creates puddles and wet surfaces that may not otherwise exist, giving you the opportunity to find interesting reflections.

Photo by Andreas Pollok (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Schloss Neuhaus Baden in Württemberg Germany

Rainy Wedding Photos With a Backlight With a Silhouette

Combining rain photography with other creative styles like silhouettes gives you a chance to create interesting, moody images.

Photo by Zack Bradley (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina

Remember Your Composition Theory

The challenges that rain photoshoots present can detract from your creativity. If you’re constantly worrying about staying dry, keeping your gear safe, and shouting posing instructions over the noise, it’s easy to forget about finding interesting and creative compositions. However, by slowing down and thinking through each scene, as you would normally do without the rain present, you have a chance to create some truly captivating imagery. Let’s review a few examples.

Rainy Wedding Photos With Backlight and Leading Lines 

See how these photographers used “leading lines” compositions in their rain photoshoots.

Photo by Stephane Lemaire (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Spencer Theater in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Photo by Jay Cassario (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, PA

Photo by Stephane Lemaire (Website | Wedding Maps Profile)

Rainy Wedding Photos With Symmetry

In the images below, see how these photographers used a symmetrical composition in their rain photoshoots.

Photo by Christopher S Studio (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Rockleigh Country Club Rockleigh, New Jersey USA

Photo by Party of Two (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Hidden Hill Venue Morganton, NC USA

Don't Forget the Stories

If you're photographing a wedding or event, prepare for the weather and go with the flow. Let the moments unfold as they normally would, and capture the stories that your clients hired you to document. Here are a few excellent examples of storytelling in the rain.

Photo by JCM Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Country Club of Asheville, NC

Photo by Jeroen Savelkouls (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Hervormde Kerk in Groesbeek, Netherlands

Photo by Kristin Cheatwood (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho USA

Other Rain Photography Inspiration

For your inspiration, here are more rain photoshoot images!

Photo by Mauricio Urena (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa La Fortuna, Ciudad in Quesada, Costa Rica

Photo by Creando Fotos (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) in Austin, Texas

Photo by Courtland Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Eagle Ridge by Wedgewood Weddings in Gilroy, California

Photo by Lets Make a Memory (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Jeffrey Open Space Trail Irvine, CA

Photo by Kivus and Camera (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Downtown Durham, North Carolina


Creating unique and beautiful rain photoshoots requires careful planning, techniques, and creativity. By following these tips and techniques, you can create stunning images that capture the mood and atmosphere of a rainy day. With the right planning, equipment, and post-processing techniques, you can create images that stand out and leave a lasting impression on viewers. Remember to have fun, experiment, and enjoy the unique beauty of a rainy day photoshoot.

All images provided by the incredible photographers at Wedding Maps.

Pye Jirsa's picture

Pye Jirsa is a director, photographer and educator. Founder and Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California wedding and portrait photography studio, and SLR Lounge, a photography education website, Pye devotes his time to helping photographers develop their shooting and business skills.

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As a wildlife photographer, I do a fair deal of shooting in the rain and wet post-rain conditions.

The most challenging thing for me is that many natural surfaces, when wet, have reflective glare that is a distracting eyesore in photos. Leaves, stones, and animals like salamanders produce glare that will completely ruin any photos entirely. Is there any way to counter this glare besides using a polarizing filter?

Really can't stand using polarizers because the user interface is so annoying and takes precious seconds that I don't have. Would love some other way of ensuring that there is no glare coming off of wet surfaces.


This is an informative and well thought out article. Thanks!