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9 Bad Weather Photography Tips

Learn how you can keep taking photos even if the weather's not playing ball with these 9 tips, because sometimes bad weather can produce some great dramatic shots.

| Landscape and Travel
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Photo by David Pritchard



1. 'There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather'

Top landscape photographer John Gravett once said: "There is no such thing as bad weather – only different types of lighting," and he couldn't be more correct. Just because the light's dull doesn't mean you still can't capture good shots, you just have to think a bit differently. The same goes for rain which, in fact, can help you capture cracking landscapes. Try to not leave the door with the mindset that you'll be battling bad weather instead, think how you can use it to your advantage. 


2. Dress For The Weather

Staying dry will keep you in a more positive frame of mind so make sure you have waterproof clothing protecting you from head-to-toe. Without it, you'll just get soaked when it's raining which will just make you miserable and taking photos will probably not be at the top of your list. A coat with a hood, waterproof trousers and a good pair of boots should keep you dry. A decent pair of socks and layers will keep you warm but it's down to personal choice if you wear a pair of gloves or not as fleece gloves will just become sodden and not pleasant to wear. 


3. Take The Right Bag

You can buy water- and weatherproof camera bags that'll keep your gear dry, plus many styles of camera bag now come with a waterproof cover built-in. If you're using a bag that doesn't have this feature, it's really worth spending a few pounds and investing in one. After all, a waterproof cover is cheaper to buy than new equipment! Check out our complete guide to camera bags.


4. Protect Your Camera And Lenses

Many companies are now bringing weather-sealed equipment to the market, but it's always worth adding a waterproof cover just in case. You can purchase rain sleeves which fit over your camera and lens, plus some are made to measure for your specific kit. Some photographers have used plastic bags to protect their gear in the past but obviously, this isn't the best method and will certainly not work in heavy downpours.

On wet weather days when it's humid, you can get condensation build-up on the inside of the cover as too can putting damp hands inside the cover to adjust your lens, which means water will be sat against your kit so do pack a cloth you can wipe your kit with if needs be. 


5. Take A Tripod Out With You

Lighting levels will be lower on cloudy, rainy days which means exposures will be longer so a tripod is an essential piece of kit. Plus, if you're using a rain cover, they don't tend to fit round camera straps very well so using a tripod is your best option. 


6. Pack A Lens Cloth

You may want to capture rain-filled images, but this doesn't mean you want water droplets to sit on your lens. Rain on your lens will spoil your shots so do take the time to dry the lens before hitting the shutter button. If you're going to be out for a longer period of time you'll want to pack several lens cloths as you won't achieve much if you try and dry a lens with an already damp cloth.




Photo by David Pritchard


7. Choosing Lenses 

Landscapes aren't just about wide-angle lenses as telephoto lenses can really help you capture some interesting images. In a previous article, John Gravett said: "Rain is wonderful at creating recession, in landscape pictures. Using a telephoto lens to compress perspective along with the recessive nature of the weather can create some truly striking images."


8. Try Working In Black & White 

A shot that looks dull and boring in colour can be transformed into a great moody mono. Plus, you'll be able to emphasise texture and tones, enhancing the mood and elements in your shots by shooting in black and white


9. Foreground Interest

Adding foreground interest to landscape images is something that should always be considered and this becomes even more important when shooting in the rain, as John Gravett explains: "Landscapes can often look moody and impressive when photographed in bad weather. Similarly, they can also look pastel and delicate – particularly when shooting over lakes or bodies of water. I generally try to include some foreground interest or dark element within the picture as a contrast to the overall light tones of a drizzly day. Make sure your expose "to the right" - firstly, it will maximise your data, and secondly, it will give you a high key feel rather than a dull, grey overcast look; that alone will make your thumbnails on your computer more appealing....Heavy rain can totally obscure background elements in a landscape, changing the emphasis from the overall landscape to elements in the foreground, which can so often get overlooked."

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