How to have a photo meetup in the rain

You’ve planned a great day out on a group photo walk, and when the morning dawns you are faced with a steady drizzle, a grey sky and a depressing outlook. Do you call it off? Go and leave early? Carry on but moan about the weather? Having just been on a very successful photo meetup in the pouring rain, I can offer you some tips to make the whole day a joy.

 All the photos in this post are from the A Year With My Camera meetup in Bath (UK), September 2018 - it should have been a beautiful Autumn day, but instead it was a beautiful Autumn day in the rain

All the photos in this post are from the A Year With My Camera meetup in Bath (UK), September 2018 - it should have been a beautiful Autumn day, but instead it was a beautiful Autumn day in the rain

First: choose your friends

If your group is naturally optimistic and open minded, you really won’t mind what the weather is like. In the run up to the day, remind everyone that the weather doesn’t matter as long as everyone can stay warm and dry. If most people have a positive mental attitude, that rubs off on the whole group. Don’t forget - the days we remember are the ones with the weather (in the UK, at least - it’s our favourite topic of conversation).

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Second: umbrella wrangling

If you carry a brolly, you’ll need to shoot one handed, so practise changing your settings with just one hand (or risk a crick in your neck as you balance the brolly under your chin). If you opt for a more professional umbrella-free look, you’ll need to keep the rain off your lens using other techniques including pointing it downwards, carrying lens wipes (don’t use your sleeve, you’ll scratch the lens) and leaving your lens hood on (the big plastic thing that is meant to be used to stop sunflare, but doubles up as rain protection).

 Me - the consummate professional shooting with a brolly one-handed

Me - the consummate professional shooting with a brolly one-handed

 

Third: you have to look harder for your shots

Forget the traditional vistas. Find details and close ups, reflections and people. Tell a story, shoot the wet streets. Head indoors and shoot interiors.

All the shots here were taken by AYWMCers on the Bath meetup, and reproduced with permission. Thanks to Claire Fidler, Karen Brickley, Alison Sackett, Sue Emms, Rebecca Ross, Tamara King, Jenny Bath, Caroline Morten, Will Dickson, Karen Berry, Allister Godfrey and Jacqui Bateman.

Fourth: Stop often for hot drinks

I probably don’t need to spell this one out, but it’s worth a mention. There will always be someone who wants to stop and someone who wants to carry on, so in the interests of group harmony have an opt-out option for drinks: arrange to reconvene in half an hour, after the wet ones have dried out and the keen ones have kept shooting.

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GeneralEmma Davies