On a rainy day, the last thing you probably want to do is head outdoors to shoot photos. But rain is actually a great gift for us iPhone photographers, providing us with many interesting and creative photo opportunities. The good news is that you don’t have to shoot in the pouring rain – you can wait for the rain to stop, and you can even take great pictures from indoors. In this tutorial you’ll discover seven fun and creative ways to capture amazing iPhone photos in rainy weather.
1. Shoot Through Raindrops On Windows
Raindrops on windows offer a great opportunity for creative iPhone photography. And since you need to be on the inside of the window, you don’t have to stand out in the rain to take your shot.
You can also capture these shots after the rain has stopped as the droplet formations will remain on the glass for some time.
Look for a window with water droplets that also has an interesting scene outside. It might be a busy street full of people carrying umbrellas, a view of the city from a tall office block, or a lone tree out in a landscape.
You could use a window in your home or office, a coffee shop window, the glass panes at a bus stop, or even the window of a car or bus.
In most cases it looks best if the water droplets are in sharp focus, while the scene outside appears blurred.
To create this shallow depth of field, you need to hold the iPhone fairly close to the window. Then tap on one of the water droplets to set the focus point.
If there’s movement outside, you’ll need to lock the focus so that the iPhone’s autofocus doesn’t refocus every time something moves in the scene. To lock focus, tap and hold the screen for a few seconds until you see AE/AF Lock at the top of the screen.
If the water droplets appear blurred, try changing the distance between the iPhone and the window, then tap to focus again.
When you’re shooting a busy street scene, capturing a moment is really important. Wait patiently until you spot something interesting, such as a stranger carrying a colorful umbrella or wearing a bright colored rain coat.
Alternatively, ask a friend to stand on the other side of the window so that you can shoot a creative portrait photo through the raindrops.
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2. Capture Reflections In Water Droplets
If you take a close look at water droplets, you’ll often notice tiny reflections within the droplets. They’re especially noticeable when the water droplets are on windows or metallic reflective surfaces such as cars.
In the photo above I used a side window of a car to capture both my reflection in the glass and also the tiny reflections in the water droplets.
To capture the detail in these tiny reflections, you’ll need to get quite close to the water droplets. If you have a macro lens, use it to take extreme close ups that will capture incredible detail in the water reflections.
For the best results, ensure there’s something interesting being reflected in the water droplets, for example, an iconic building, a tree, a car, or a person,
3. Create Abstracts With Water Droplets
Raindrops provide many opportunities for you to create interesting abstract images. Abstract photography is all about producing really creative photos that present ordinary subjects in a unique and imaginative way.
In heavy rain, try shooting through a window, using the water to blur and distort the scene outside.
The photo above was taken through the windshield of a car. I loved how the raindrops distorted the trees outside, so I waited for a person with an umbrella to walk into the frame, then snapped this shot.
Water droplets on reflective surfaces are also great for creating abstract images. Fill the frame with the droplets so that they create an abstract pattern.
If you photograph water droplets on a reflective surface, you might be able to capture interesting reflections too.
In the photo below, it’s not easy to identify what’s happening at first. The combination of reflections, water droplets and the strong yellow line create an abstract image that catches the viewer’s attention and pulls them in while they try to work out what’s going on.
The photo is actually of water droplets on the trunk of a vintage car, with the tall buildings from the street being reflected in the metallic surface.
With abstract photography, the viewer is able to appreciate the beauty of the art, even if they can’t immediately identify what’s going on in the scene.
Abstract photography gives you so much creative freedom over your photos, and rain offers the perfect medium.
4. Look For People With Umbrellas
On a rainy day, you’ll find an abundance of umbrellas which make great additions to your photos. They add a splash of color and a strong geometric shape to your images.
Umbrellas are also great for creating a sense of mystery and intrigue in your images because they hide the faces of your subjects.
Rain typically creates a dark, gray mood, so a colorful umbrella will appear especially vibrant against these surroundings.
Without the colorful umbrella in the scene above, the person crossing the road would have become lost amongst the other busy surroundings.
But the umbrella instantly catches your attention, drawing your eye into the scene and directly to the subject of the photo.
How about getting really close to the umbrella so that it fills a large part of the frame? This allows you to capture the detail of the water droplets on the umbrella.
Rain at night tends to create a romantic and magical atmosphere because of the warm reflections of the street lights on the wet roads and sidewalks.
Look out for couples huddled together with their umbrellas as these kinds of shots will tell wonderful stories.
Another way to capture umbrellas is from a high perspective. Go up to a high vantage point such as a bridge, then look down and capture someone walking by with an umbrella.
Capturing umbrellas from a bird’s eye perspective provides you with an interesting focal point that emphasizes their strong shape.
5. Shoot Puddle Reflections
After the rain, you’ll find plenty of puddles that can be used to create wonderful puddle reflection shots.
Look out for puddles in parking lots, potholes, curb corners, sidewalks, and even on outdoor tables and other surfaces.
There are so many different ways to capture reflections in puddles. First of all, look for puddles that reflect interesting objects from the surroundings.
Trees, buildings, people and vehicles all make great subjects that you can capture in a puddle reflection.
You could include both the reflection and the background to create a symmetrical composition like the one above. Alternatively, try filling all or most of the frame with the reflection.
Remember there’s no right or wrong angle, and the best perspective will depend on the components within the reflection and your own creative vision.
Flipping your image upside down in post-processing often creates a more unique reflection photo, helping the viewer to appreciate the reflected elements of the image.
While puddle reflection photography can be done after the rain has stopped, shooting while it’s raining allows you to capture beautiful ripples as the raindrops hit the water’s surface.
6. Capture Reflections On Wet Surfaces
Another way of capturing beauty in rain is by paying attention to wet surfaces. An ordinary road or sidewalk can be transformed when it’s wet because it suddenly becomes a reflective surface.
Without water and reflections, the roads and sidewalks would normally appear very dark in your image. But when it’s wet, light reflected off the water creates a much brighter foreground than you’d be able to get in dry weather.
The reflections create a lot of color and visual interest in the foreground. This adds depth to the scene and draws the viewer’s eye into the image.
Reflections on wet streets are especially impressive at night. The reflections of the street lights and neon signs will create a wonderful warm glow in the lower part of your photo.
In the photo above I captured an explosion of colors on the streets because of the lights reflecting off the wet road. If I’d been shooting in dry weather, I wouldn’t have been able to capture this kind of shot.
7. Photograph Water Splashes
Rain provides some great opportunities for capturing amazing water splash photos. Photographing someone jumping into a puddle is an easy way to create a unique action shot with your iPhone.
Another option would be to throw a stone into a puddle and capture the splashes and ripples that are formed.
Taking photos of water splashes is all about timing. To ensure you capture the splash at the perfect moment, use the burst mode feature in the camera app when you shoot.
Burst mode simply captures a series of photos in quick succession. You can then choose the best shots from the sequence. To activate burst mode, just keep the shutter button held down.
Make sure you start shooting just before they jump into the puddle, and don’t release the shutter button until the splash has finished.
If you’re shooting close up splash photos, I’d recommend using a waterproof iPhone case such as the Lifeproof case to ensure your phone stays dry.
While the rain might initially put you off heading outdoors to take photos, I’d highly recommend shooting in this kind of weather.
Wet weather offers endless unique and creative photo opportunities that would be impossible to capture on a dry day.
So the next time it rains, venture out to see what you can capture. You can even shoot great rain photos from indoors by photographing the water droplets on windows.
If you’re worried about your iPhone getting wet, be sure to invest in a waterproof case to minimize the risk of damaging your phone.
With your iPhone protected, you can get much more adventurous with your rain photography!