Rainy Day Photography: Essential Gear to Take With You When It’s Wet
As a photographer, you probably know already that the “worst” weather is often the most exciting to shoot in. However, water and electronics aren’t exactly best friends.
A lot can go wrong when you go out to capture shots on a rainy day. It’s easy to damage your equipment if you don’t take the right protective measures, and your experience will be less enjoyable if you don’t dress for the occasion.
If you’re not sure how to prepare for rainy day photography, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover the most important gear you should take with you when it’s wet.
1. Weather-Sealed Camera Gear
Although regular modern cameras are pretty durable, they’re not designed to operate in the rain for extended periods. As such, every minute you spend outside increases the risk of damaging your equipment.
You can give yourself a little peace of mind by using camera bodies and lenses with weather-sealing abilities. Most of the major manufacturers, including FujiFilm and Nikon, have a selection of models with this feature—though it’s worth pointing out that weather-sealed cameras are often more expensive.
Weather-sealing can also help protect against conditions that come with the rain, such as strong winds that might cause debris to get stuck in your camera.
While weather-sealing will add an extra layer of protection, remember that it’s not 100% foolproof. Your gear will still get damaged if you try dragging it through deep puddles, for example, so it pays to be sensible.
2. A Rain Cover for Your Camera
Weather-sealing isn’t enough on its own, but adding further protection to safeguard your camera isn’t complicated. One of the simplest ways to keep your gear in tiptop condition is by purchasing a rain cover that covers your camera body and its lens.
You’ll find rain covers in several sizes online. You’ll likely also find one that falls within your budget, so don’t worry about splashing the cash if you can’t afford something more extravagant.
If you don’t want to buy a rain cover, you can use a plastic bag or poncho instead. However, these will only work if you’re not dealing with a downpour.
3. A Tripod
Tripods are one of those things you either love or hate. It’s true that they can be annoying to carry around, but you’ll find them valuable for shooting in the rain and other adverse weather conditions.
When it’s raining, the natural light will often be reduced compared to a sunny day. You can compensate by raising your ISO, but this will add grain that you might not want in your photos. Another option is to use a slower shutter speed.
The problem with using a slower shutter speed, however, is that any amount of shake can result in a blurry image. You can mitigate this by using a tripod, which will give you a little more flexibility.
Another benefit of using a tripod is that you can hold an umbrella over your camera with your other hand. This way, you’ll keep your equipment dry while still grabbing that killer shot.
4. A Lens Hood
When you’re out capturing your rainy day shots, you’ll want to make sure that the glass on your lens comes in contact with as little water as possible. Besides the potential associated risks to your equipment, constantly wiping droplets away can quickly get annoying.
Regardless of the camera brand you use, you should be able to find a hood for most lenses. Depending on the lens, these might be included in the box when you buy it, or you’ll need to get them separately.
If you can’t find one created by your camera manufacturer, see if you can get a lens hood from a third-party brand that fits yours.
5. A Microfiber Cloth
Sometimes, the drawbacks of rainy day photography are unavoidable. In addition to droplets getting on your equipment, you might have to deal with condensation.
Both are easily solved by carrying a cloth with you. However, you should ensure that you use a microfiber cloth; other materials might scratch your lens.
It’s also wise to bring a good towel with you to dry your equipment. That way, you’ll at the very least mitigate any possible water damage.
6. A Waterproof Camera Bag
While you should protect your camera equipment while out and about, it’s also essential to keep your gear dry while you aren’t shooting. A regular bag might work, but using a waterproof one is the safest choice.
You can find several waterproof camera bags online; of course, some will cost more than others. It’s worth saving up and investing in a higher-end one, it will likely offer better protection and won’t need replacing as often.
If you don’t want to buy a waterproof camera bag, not all hope is lost. You can keep water away from your equipment by getting a rain cover for your backpack or concealing your gear within another bag inside.
7. The Appropriate Clothes
It’s no good protecting your camera gear if you’re not wearing the right stuff yourself. At best, dressing inappropriately for rainy weather will make you feel miserable—but at worst, it could lead to you losing body heat and needing to call it a day earlier than expected.
When you go out to do rainy day photography, make sure you’ve got the following:
- A waterproof jacket with insulation.
- Trousers that are either waterproof or dry quickly.
- Shoes that are suitable for walking in water and have good grip.
- Warm socks.
- Gloves. You can find many that are specifically designed for photography, allowing you to capture great shots while not needing to take them off and freeze.
8. Your Phone
Depending on your location, rainy weather can become dangerous. Thunderstorms, floods, and hypothermia are all risks that you need to keep in the back of your head.
You must take your phone with you to call for help when needed. Having your mobile device at hand can also help you check the weather forecast, giving you enough time to move to another location if necessary.
And before you leave, let someone know where you’re headed and what time you expect to return.
Be Prepared for a Rainy Day
Rainy day photography is a lot of fun, but it’s crucial that you prepare accordingly. Not doing so can result in damaged equipment or, at the extreme end of the scale, putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
We’ve covered the essential gear you should take to protect you and your camera in this guide, all that’s left is to go out and get creative!
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About The Author
(169 Articles Published)
Danny is a writer and photographer living in Denmark. He helps MUO’s readers to improve their creative skills, and is also a member of the editorial team.
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January 9, 2022 at 01:02PM