I'm certain I now have the undivided attention of every blogger in the UK: after the rain we've had this week, this is the post for you! Having to photograph an outfit post (or two) when it's chucking it down outside is one of the most frustrating challenges a blogger can face. Sometimes you've just got to work with the rain, rather than against it, so read on for my top tips for how to get the best results in wet weather.
(If you're a Southern California blogger you may want something else to read, so here's a nice picture of a rainbow to gaze at instead. Unless you've already left us and have gone out for a jolly in the sunshine... I'm not bitter. Oh no.)
1. Lack of light is your enemy so face the direction of the sun
This may seem strange, as on rainy days there's usually a blanket of cloud completely obscuring the sun. However, you'd be amazed how much light still comes from the direction of the sun, so ensure you're facing that way. Otherwise you'll run the risk of an underexposed face and/or outfit as the sky behind you will inevitably be ten times brighter.
2. Get a fab umbrella or two
Please - no boring black umbrellas! There are some beauties on the market - just make sure it's a light colour underneath or reasonably transparent so that as much light as possible is reflected back onto your face. Some umbrellas have a plain colour on top and a pattern underneath, which will make a great statement in your photos (and you can get away with a darker colour on top with these). A fabulous umbrella is an accessory in itself, and will keep your outfit dry.
Shop these fabulous umbrellas if you want to replace that boring black one you've got...!
3. Use a tripod
Failing light can be a problem - the camera will probably have to slow down the shutter speed to get as much light as possible into the pictures. However, this can cause blur from camera shake, and if the photographer is grappling with an umbrella too, you're probably going to end up with some pretty blurry shots. The tripod will free up the photographer's hands, allowing them to hold an umbrella over themselves and use the camera simultaneously.
If you're thinking of buying a tripod, my advice is to spend as much as you can afford (triple figures for UK prices is not an extravagance if you want a serious one that does the job). A tripod that's too lightweight for your camera will run the risk of being blown or knocked over, which of course could cost you more in replacement camera costs. A heavy, sturdy tripod is more expensive but totally worth the investment... mine cost me nearly £100 in 1992 and is one of the best photography investments I've ever made.
A strange phenomena that I've found occurs when using a tripod in failing light (allowing you to use slow shutter speeds without blur) is that the quality of light in the photos is really unique and quite beautiful. It's hard to describe, but if you try it you may see what I mean - it's totally different to standard daylight.
4. Make a feature out of raincoats, puddles and droplets of rain
If you can't beat it, join it! Rather than sitting around waiting for the rain to stop, it can be nice to actually see the rain in photos sometimes. Put your wellies on and splash about in puddles, or wear a fabulous raincoat. If the sun comes out when it's still raining, that's a golden photo opportunity right there - shoot slightly into the sun (don't let the photographer blind themselves) and the raindrops will be highlighted by the sun and look beautiful. Take close up shots of the rain droplets on your jacket sleeves or bag, or photograph your wellies in the puddles.
5. Get a practical golf umbrella for your photographer. Cake too.
It may seem like I'm suggesting you get a huge umbrella to keep your photographer dry just to be nice, but really you need to make sure you protect your camera. Of course it's a good idea as well to keep the photographer happy, so lure them into the rain with the promise of tea and cake for both of you once you're back in the dry.
6. Wear a hat
Something with a wide brim, like a fedora, will keep the rain off your face and mostly off your hair. We tend to squint and generally screw our faces up if it's being lashed by rain, so the protection of a hat is perfect to prevent unfortunate facial expressions.
7. Take shelter somewhere that's near daylight
If you really don't want to venture out into the rain, get creative with outdoor locations that offer shelter. You need as much natural daylight as possible, so stand near the entrances/on the edges of these locations for your photographs:
- A bandstand (this is at the top of my list of locations I want to shoot in)
- A cool bus shelter
- A pedestrian underpass (as with all location shooting make sure you stay safe, some can be dodgy)
- A warehouse or loading bay entrance
- A shopping centre (not a mall) with covered walkways
- An open garage doorway (without the car - it needs to be mostly empty)
- The doorstep of a photogenic house (not a stranger's house though, and definitely don't pose on private property without the owner's permission!)
- The dugout on a sports field
Image credits: Bandstand / Bus shelter / Underpass
Above all - have fun in the rain! Working with the rain is easier than trying to battle against it, and I've wasted many hours waiting for the rain to stop when I've needed to get outfit photos taken.
Have you got any extra tips for photographing outfits when it's pouring down? Do let us know in the comments - and good luck!