A lot of people are asking me what the best conditions for street photography are, claiming that it might be impossible to take decent pictures when the weather conditions aren’t ideal. While I have to agree that the motivation might take a hit when it’s cold outside, there is also a valuable lesson to be learned under harsher conditions – embrace the difference.
A week ago we made sure that we have enough spare time to explore new streets, cleaned the lenses, charged the batteries and arranged a meeting with fellow photographers. The weather forecast is perfect, sunny and it seems like the perfect weekend. Then, as usual, two hours before you want to leave, it starts to rain cats and dogs. In a rush of anger you cancel your meeting, throw your bag in the corner and complain why of all things, this always has to happen to you. As a photographer, we were all at this point some time ago and instead of browsing through our newest trophies that we shot today we were watching the newest episode of our favorite tv-show.
Perfect means never
To prevent such a disaster from happening again and to make sure the weather conditions are perfect for your next photo tour, you downloaded the newest weather app, subscribed to the news and started an online course of meteorology. But is this really the solution? Should we make our photographic adventures depend on external factors we can not influence?
Honestly, even when it might be raining, dark or cold outside there isn’t really anything holding us back to take exceptional pictures anyway. Cameras of today’s standards are all built to deal with a short time in the rain and even my cheap Canon 1100d survived some heavy rain without a problem.
The rain is your advantage
Photographing under such “harder” circumstances also has a lot of positive effects.
Your pictures will be easier to stand out of the mass of street photos that are taken because most people aren’t willing to shoot in the rain. This means that although you might just take “average” pictures, that they might be of higher interest than your every day sunny photographs, because of the increasing rarity. Everybody can shoot under perfect conditions, but it is way harder to catch the beautiful atmosphere of a rainy day.
You can also use these different conditions to your advantage. Are you complaining that there is a huge puddle in front of you and your feet might get wet? Get low on the ground and use the water as a reflection, while other people walk by.
Is there a window with raindrops, maybe a bus stop or something similar? Take a photo up close in front of the window of the people that are waiting. A picture that might be pretty boring any other day, profits from the details that the drops add.
Take the head start
So if you are asking yourself the next time, what time might be perfect for the next shoot – it is now. If you really want to take photos, the weather shouldn’t be an excuse, but be used to your advantage. If you are willing to embrace that no weather can hold you back, you are already ahead of those who think otherwise.