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5 Photography Projects for Rainy Days

Fall is slowly fading away. The days are short, wet & cold, and the sky is one shade of monotonous grey. I don’t know about you, but I feel like completely hibernating.

Here are 5 photography projects to keep you inspired during the cold, soggy, rainy days:

1. Put your rubber boots on and grab some dewy macros.

abstract of a large leaf with raindrops
50mm. f/1.4, 1/320, ISO 200.

Now is the perfect time to get raindrop covered plant life shots for your portfolio. The light is nice and soft on cloudy days, so you’ll get even light on your subject. Don’t be afraid of getting up close and trying multiple angles. Keep shooting until you find the best angle that makes those raindrops sparkle.

You’ll want to shoot with your Aperture wide open, so you can keep your ISO low and get loads of delicious bokeh. Bring your tripod along just in case you need some steadying. And wear some rubber boots, because you’ll probably be crouching in a huge puddle o’ mud the entire time!

2. Wait for that perfect moody winter sunset.

W. 4th Ave, Kitsilano, Vancouver
18mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO 400.

Even on cloudy days the sun can make a brief apperance. And when it does, it’s usually spectacular. If you see the sun start to peak through the clouds during magic hour (1 hour before sunset), bundle up and head out to great landscape location. Winter skies are rich with colour. Add some thick clouds and you’ve got a great shot. There is nothing more magical than sun rays beaming through a dark and moody sky.

3. Get creative with strobes.

Apple Hype Monster

Get that flash off your camera and grab some gels and get creative. Set up a little studio in a corner of your place and shoot some stills with character. Check out Strobist for the 411 on off-camera flashes and cheap DIY projects to keep you inspired and busy on a gloomy day.

4. Set-up some stills on your window sills.

Breakfast Croissants at the Angel, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, UK
50mm, f/1.8, 1/80, ISO 400.

If you don’t have flashes or triggers, no fear! Make use of the lovely diffused light coming through your living room windows and snap a still shot of your tea time snacks, little toys, your little sister, sea monkeys, or whatever strikes your fancy. You probably want to set up a bounce or white board opposite the window to get some light on the subject.

5. Find hidden gems in your old photos.

bowl of colourful cufflinks
50mm, f/2, 1/125, ISO 200.

Get a big cuppa tea and look though your old photos. As you go, mark or star the photos you think have promise. After you’ve gone through once, go back and pull your top ranked photos into a photo editor (LR, PS, Aperture) and really work on them. A little cropping, sharpening, saturating, some layers and masks and voila! Great shot. You never know what amazing shots are hiding in your archives.

If all else fails, just hunker down in your bed with a stack of DVDs and call it a day.

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  • Reply
    November 2, 2008 at 6:22 PM

    Great ideas! Thanks for the inspiration…believe it or not, rainy, icky, grey days find their way here as well and I’ve definitely been short on ideas.

  • Reply
    Cory O'Brien
    November 2, 2008 at 6:59 PM

    I’ve been meaning to pick up a strobe and get a little creative, so I guess now’s the time! Plus, I do love those winter sunsets.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2008 at 7:30 PM

    Thanks for the ideas!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    Thanks for the inspiration Lisa. :D

  • Reply
    Rodney Sims
    November 3, 2008 at 2:20 AM

    Hey Lisa, Great tips. Thanks for the excellent posts.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 2:53 AM

    That green leaf looks awesome!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 7:34 AM

    Here’s my favorite before and after which was only possible by digging through old, mediocre photos :-)

    before: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lis311/249201695/
    after: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lis311/2750093825/

    Great article, Lisa!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 8:44 AM

    Nice post, very inspirational and some great photos. :)

  • Reply
    Derek K. Miller
    November 3, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    On the macro front, if you can get enough light and you’re using a true macro lens or closeup filter or extension tubes (i.e. reproduction sizes approaching life size), stopping down a little bit can be helpful: the depth of field is so astoundingly shallow in extreme closeups that it can be very hard to maintain focus where you want it with the lens wide open, especially if you’re working hand-held or your subject is moving in the wind.

    Even in the winter light, an external flash with a sync cord can be a big help too in those same situations.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 2:47 PM

    Great suggestions! Just got myself a Canon 580EX II flash recently so that’ll be my rainy day project. :D

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    Hey, I’m on Mostly Lisa! Thanks for the shout-out.

    -David Hobby

  • Reply
    Scott Thomas
    November 4, 2008 at 6:39 AM

    I took your advice to heart (even before I read it) last weekend. Going to start combing through my old files, too. I’ve learned a lot about photo editing over the last year. I’m sure some old images could use a redo.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    What wonderful pics. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Reply
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    February 1, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    This a Interesting line. I enjoyed it very much.

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    February 16, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    The tips you provided here are incredibly valuable. It turned out such an entertaining surprise to have that waiting for me as i woke up today. They are usually to the point and easy to understand. Thanks a lot for the thoughtful ideas you have shared above.

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