While every season has its own charms, there’s something about the monsoon that feels special, something worth capturing. If you’ve been meaning to get into photography then there couldn’t be a better time to start. On the other hand, if you’ve been into photography, and just haven’t tried monsoon photography yet, we’ve got you covered today. We’re going to look at some of the best practices and precautions you need to take to get the best monsoon shots this season.

The gear 

The first thing you need to ensure is that you have the right gear before you step out during the monsoon. Keeping yourself and your equipment in optimal health is a high priority.

Clothing

If you fall sick, your monsoon photography wishes will remain wishes for the time being. Ensure that you wear only waterproof clothing, and carry a raincoat, umbrella and rain boots. Not only will it keep the rain out, it will also keep you from shivering during a perfect shot and keep you focused on that click. "While composing an image, do not let yourself get deterred from the weather," says Chandigarh-based filmmaker and photographer Samar Singh Virdi, "Focus and spend time until you get the composition you want."



Camera case 

Water and electronics don’t usually go well together, and most cameras are no different. To keep your camera safe from the perils of the rain, when you’re out to capture it in all its glory, pick a durable waterproof camera case. “Always have a few silica gel packets in your bag to avoid moisture for your gear” says Mumbai-based freelance photographer Prashin Jagger, “An expensive alternative is to keep all your gear in a dry cabinet. Most camera bags have a rain cover, if yours doesn't, try to get one and have a second cover for the camera itself.” 


Lens hood 

A lens hood will keep your shot free from unwanted droplets in the rain, and it will also keep your lens safe in case of an accidental drop. 


Cleaning kit 

Regardless of how safe you keep it, there’s bound to be a couple of droplets that make their way onto the body of the camera. Keep a microfiber cloth and a cleaning kit to keep your gear spic and span for the perfect click. 


Tripod 

A tripod isn’t necessary for taking a good picture, but it goes a long way to battle the challenging conditions of the monsoon and achieve the desired stability in your pictures. It is essential to use a tripod particularly if you’re going for slower shutter speeds in your clicks. 


Photography tips 

“Speaking about photography, I like to focus on how there is new life everywhere, the trees feel alive, the birds are chirpy and busy making nests”, says Prashin, “Visually it's a great to look out for reflections where you don't generally see them. Great looking clouds are always around the corner. Shooting in the rain makes it easier to photograph people since they are more focused on the rain or whatever they might be doing.” 

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You should play with darker backgrounds, different types of lighting and multiple shots to figure out what works for you and gets you the best results. Even using the flash can get you interesting results in some cases. "Water is a very interesting element. It gives you an opportunity to explore macro as well as wide compositions," says Samar, "Look out for stories, how monsoons affect a certain place, structure, people or institution."

Beyond the creative aspect, there are a lot of technical tweaks to regular every day photography that makes monsoon shots come out perfect. We’ve explained a few of them below:
 
  • Shutter speed: When it comes to how your final photo comes out, shutter speed plays a huge role in monsoon photography. A quicker shutter speed will give you greater detail on falling droplets. The starting point would be 1/250 sec from where you can go quicker or slower depending on your preferences. Anything at or below 1/125 isn’t recommended for rain photography. 
  • Aperture: When it comes to aperture, going for f/8 or higher makes sense. You want more than just one object to be in focus – the background, the droplets and more. With quicker shutter speed, you must couple it with greater aperture to get perfect rain photos even in dim-lighting condition. 
  • ISO: Quite a few modern cameras have auto-ISO feature, where you can even set an upper and lower limit for the same. To capture individual droplets, setting the ISO at or higher than 1600 is ideal, but don’t go too high, as that will create noise in the image. 

With these tips and expert advice, you should be good to kick off your monsoon photography adventures. Don't be afraid to look for inspiration around you, says Samar, "(I) would recommend work of legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa to study weather as an influential character in storytelling." Once you get started, share your best shots with us. Let us know if these tips work for you.  

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock; Samar Singh Virdi; Prashin Jagger 

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