What are some tips on doing night photography before / during / after rain? I'm looking for unique creative possibilities or a unique look in the resulting photos as compared to doing night photography on days / nights without rain.

Ideally, these would not require me to travel to a specific place, but would be accessible in a city. Things like the sky, a garden, railway tracks, etc. Not the top of a mountain, say :)

There are a couple of questions that ask about photographing during rain, but not specifically at night, which I'm interested in.

Am I correct that I shouldn't let rain or spray fall on the glass of the lens, because it might damage the coating or leak in? I don't have weather-sealed lenses / camera. This would limit me to places like my balcony or similar places where I have shelter.

  • keep the camera dry ! – kacalapy Jun 4 '14 at 18:59

There are a few possibilities for interesting results shooting during rain, you can focus on the human angle, using the rain to emphasize or create certain emotions (loneliness, despair etc.) This is particularly effective at night.

A very good example of this is the work of Gregory Crewdson, this image in particular:


The other creative opportunity is to make the rain itself the subject of the image, by photographing water droplets hitting a hard surface close up.

After the rain the obvious ideas are to use wet surfaces to produce interesting reflections. At night there will be lots of colourful light-sources to reflect. A good tip is to get your camera as low to the ground as possible as this will increase the amount of reflected light.

  • 1
    Link is broken :( – dassouki Jun 21 '15 at 17:01

Shooting at night, rain or not, will require some light from somewhere. That means either the moon, artificial sources, or very long exposures.

Shooting before rain will probably focus on shots of incoming clouds, but this will be very tricky in total darkness. It may be possible on a bright, moonlit night though.

Shooting during rain will have similar issues - artificial light sources like city lights will be your best bet here.

Shooting after rain will likely revolve around interesting reflections in puddles and pools, or off the roads and pavements.

If your camera is not weather sealed, you can buy waterproof covers which are reasonably affordable that cover both the lens and the camera.

  • I'm usually not worried about light. I take long exposures like 20s when there isn't enough light. If I hit the 30s limit for exposures that my camera imposes, I bump up the ISO a bit from the usual 200 that I use. So, is there anything specific about light sources during rain that doesn't apply when it's not raining? – Kartick Vaddadi Jun 4 '14 at 11:07

Shooting in the rain is not ideal and typically I avoid it especially when planning a night shot. I guess I am struggling to understand what you need rain/night for? Portraits?

Obviously the first major tip I can give you is to use a large umbrella for your gear. You will also need an assistant to help man the umbrella, quickly transition with gear, etc. I know because I have shot in the rain (landscape) before and it gets tricky with only one set of hands.

You also want to consider your lighting source off camera and how you will also keep that protected. Asking for an extra set of hands (person does not need to have photo knowledge) just to hold an extra umbrella over your light will go a long ways.

  • I almost never shoot portraits. I mostly shoot low-light landscapes, with a bit of other stuff like gardens, trains, the sky, etc. As I wrote in the question, I was wondering if I was missing something by not shooting in the rain. I guess it's not practical for me to have an assistant. BTW, I do long exposures rather than using a flash, on or off camera. – Kartick Vaddadi Jun 5 '14 at 16:27

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