Category Archives: 22c-Rain




This exercise asks use to produce a photograph to a specification, whilst ensuring that the image is strong and attractive. The photograph is for a magazine and should illustrate the subject of rain.

The course notes offered, amongst others, the following advice-

  • Think of all the effects of rain that you have ever seen
  • Keep it simple
  • Be interesting
  • Make the photograph attractive


I tackled this exercise several months ago while I was in Scotland due to seemingly infinite supply of rainfall!

I initially had the idea of shooting the low-lying rain clouds that shroud the hills near my home in Scotland. However, when I tried to capture these things didn’t go to plan. I fitted my camera with a newly acquired rain cover and set off. The first problem was that I found the rain cover made the camera very awkward to control and with a wide-angle lens attached the plastic kept slipping over the lens. Secondly, the low light levels of a wet January day made hand-held shooting difficult and thirdly the resulting photographs were very grey and flat. Not attractive at all.

I returned to the drawing board and using the guideline above, think of all the effects of rain you have seen, I brainstormed a selection of keywords that sprang to mind. These included:

Puddles, rain drop splashes

Ducks, (as in this is a day for the ducks)




Oil slicks

Mud/ Muddy boots


Raindrops on windows

I reasoned that in order to achieve an attractive photograph worthy of a magazine cover the image needed to contain colour in order to grab a reader’s attention from a newsstand. I decided to explore the idea of a still-life arrangement involving umbrellas, which in turn led me to the idea of boots and in particular Wellington boots.

I experimented with different arrangements, combining the umbrellas and boots before realising that the boots alone in the frame worked better.

Wellington boots, 50mm, f/6.7, 1/125s, ISO 100

Wellington boots,
50mm, f/6.7, 1/125s, ISO 100

The composition is simpler allowing the viewer to make the connection between the boots, raindrops and wet autumn leaves. I use a Speedlight to light the scene while increasing my shutter speed by 2 stops to kill the ambient light which was causing large reflections on the boots. The darker background also contributes to the idea of a dull, rainy day.

The colour of the boots immediately catches the eye. Whilst the diagonals produced by the paving stones both frame the boots and lead the across the frame.

I imagined that this could be the front cover of a ‘parenting’ type magazine, winter or autumn editions.

I did consider shooting from lower and having the top of the boot extend beyond the top of the frame, however I decided upon this composition as it leaves ample room for a masthead at the top. It also has adequate space for headings and captions at both the right hand and bottom.


Considering the amount of access I had to rain it was more difficult than I had anticipated creating an attractive picture. When you see a rainy street scene in a magazine someone is usually wearing a red coat or standing under a yellow umbrella, or loitering outside a bistro which is emanating a warming glow. Not necessarily so in reality.

The next time I see a ‘rain’ type photograph I will be more attentive to see what makes it work, whether it be lighting, colour accents or simply the content