A rainy day is perfect for sitting on the couch with a blanket and a hot drink – and, if you’re a photographer, a camera! Even if you don’t go outside, you can get great moody shots of the rain through a window.
Of course, not every rainy window picture is equally beautiful. To get a striking photo, you’ll have to think carefully about your subject, technique, and composition.
7 Ways to Photograph Rain on Windows
In addition to good composition, here are some strategies to try out when you’re shooting a rainy day through a window. We’ve paired each strategy with images to inspire your own ideas and photography.
Many of these images were selected from our community, both on Flickr and through our newsletter. We had a photography challenge for the subject “Rain,” and this post includes some photos from that challenge. More photos from that challenge are in our post about outdoor rain photography. Check it out!
Experiment with bokeh.
Raindrops on a window can create a gorgeous bokeh glow with the right lighting. Generally, you’ll get the best bokeh through a rainy window if you’re shooting bright lights surrounded by dreariness or darkness. For example, car headlights in the evening can work great.
However, you can still get nice bokeh photos with sunshine and rain, too. It might be more challenging, since the sun will need to be at a certain angle to illuminate the raindrops, but it’s still possible!
Compose your image with bright colors.
The grayness of a rainy day can lead to dull images, especially through a window. But this grayness can also be a benefit if you’re shooting something bright on the other side of the window. The dullness will bring out the colorfulness, making it look more striking because of the contrast. Even if the rainy window makes the subject unclear, the bright color can be enough to make your image look interesting.
Switch to black and white.
Shooting in black and white is another way to make a dull scene look striking, as it brings attention to the contrast in light. This emphasis on light can make subjects look clearer and bring out patterns that are less obvious in color. In addition, the moodiness of black and white can match the atmosphere of a rainy day, being colorless and bleak.
Art Vrecenak – The Hotel New York in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Choose subjects that are recognizable.
Whether you shoot in color or black and white, you’ll have a higher chance of capturing a nice photo if your subject is recognizable. If it’s not, viewers might be confused about the photo and why you took it. This is especially true because the subject may be blurry or half-hidden by the rain. If you shoot something recognizable like trees or buildings, viewers will understand your photo better, even with this blur.
People are one of the easiest subjects to recognize, even when they’re obscured by rain. They tend to grab attention, too, especially if the portrait shows their eyes. A single facial expression can instantly communicate a story and add emotional weight to a photo, making it more compelling.
Focus on the raindrops.
When you can’t find a good subject or a good angle to capture a subject through a rainy window, try focusing on the raindrops instead. Look around the window for an interesting pattern, and get really close. With some luck, the raindrops will show the background subject upside down, but even if they don’t, their texture and color alone can be beautiful enough to photograph.
Put a subject on or beside the window.
You don’t have to settle for whatever subject happens to be on the other side of a rainy window. You can choose an eye-catching subject to put on or by the window, so that it becomes an interesting shot. Colorful subjects like red leaves are typically a good choice, as are people. Even a handprint can make an unremarkable window look intriguing. Play with different ideas and compositions; it’s a great way to practice and improve your photography on a rainy day!