Taking photographs in bad weather is something that outdoor photographers have no worry about. They get their best photos, often, in bad weather. I for one, look forward to a snowy day, and taking photos in the snowstorm, or just after the storm. So, how do we do it?

#1 – first of all, the photographer needs to prepare himself (or herself):

Taking pictures in a storm is something that the photographer needs to prepare for. If you have a great opportunity to take the most amazing photo, but, you are not dressed warm enough, or covered enough, then you may just mess up your photo. You, the photographer needs to take care of yourself. Sometimes, when I go out into the snowstorms, I make sure I have shoes or boots that are weatherproof, or waterproof. It helps so much not to have cold feet.

#2 – Consider getting a camera that is waterproof, or weatherproof
Pentax K-30 camera is designed to be waterproof

Now, I am not suggesting that you give up your current dslr camera and go with a waterproof camera, but, if you are a regular photographer in the rain or snow, then it might be worth having just a second camera that will allow you and it to be in the storm. Or, you might find that the waterproof camera is better than your dslr. There are a lot of good photographers that have more than 1 camera in their bag. I have a second camera that is in my bag, not a dslr, but it is a great camera to take in the rain.

The RICOH WG series is well known for its tough design, but with the RICOH WG-50 we acheived a waterproof performance down to 14m, and shock proof against falls from height of 1.6m.

The Ricoh WG 50 camera is the one that I keep in my bag. I usually will take this on hikes, instead of the big dslr, because, not only is it rugged, it is waterproof as well. Plus, this is not a shabby camera to take pictures with. It has a lot of camera features I like.

#3 – If you don’t have a waterproof camera, then find ways to waterproof your current camera:

We live in a wonderful world with inventions that literally take care of every problem. If you go to an online photo retailer, you will find weatherproof bags for your camera, housings that go around your camera, and a lot more different ideas. What I would warn you against, however, is trying to use a plastic grocery bag to waterproof your camera. Please make sure you get a bag that is made for a camera in the rain:

Ruggard makes a variety of camera bags for your camera. This bag in this photo was listed at a dealer for only $9.95.
#4 – Your light meter will love the rain, but, not the snow!

If you are an experienced photographer, you will have been introduced to the 18% grey card. All light meters in all cameras are calibrated to that color grey:

18% grey card

Everything would be perfect in your photo, if you used the grey card with every photo. But, that’s not realistic. But, for certain things, it could make or break you. The interesting thing about a rainy day, is that your whole scenery is probably close to this grey card. You can be pretty happy with most of your photos. But, shooting in the snow is a problem. Some cameras have an automatic mode that would be for snow or beach sand. If you set your mode for that, your photos will actually have white snow. And of course, I know that a lot of photographers will take their photos home and just lighten up the exposure with their “Lightroom” app. That works too. If you don’t have any of those, things, your camera will usually have a dial that says: +1, +2, -1, -2. This is an exposure compensation dial. If you know you are going to take photos in the snow, you can turn that dial to +1.5 and the camera will increase the exposure to +1.5, which will give you white snow, instead of that blue or grey snow.

#5- Learn how to take photos with an umbrella, or hire a friend to hold the umbrella.

The umbrella idea seems to be a good alternative, but, if you have been in a storm, it might be blowing, someone or something will splash. So, this will work as long as you can control those things.

#6 – For rainy day photos, bring up your ISO setting to a higher value

If you are used to having all your photos taken at ISO 100, you may want to consider changing the ISO setting to 400 or 800. You are going to have an issue with light at the usual 100 ISO, so, prepare your camera to be able to shoot in lower light than usual.

Wherever the ISO speed is located on your particular camera, its function will be the same: determining the sensitivity to light of your camera’s light sensor. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Rainy or snowy weather is a subject that most miss out on, but, is one of the most rewarding. If you have an opportunity to take pictures in the rain, then do it. But, prepare yourself with the steps listed above. Don’t take a chance. A repair for a regular dslr that has water damage is not a pretty picture (no pun intended).

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