Shooting concerts in the rain
I will start off this little tutorial with a strong warning. Do not shoot in the rain unless you got a professional camera with strong weather sealing and lens with weather sealing. If you shoot in the rain and your camera is not weather sealed, you will destroy it. Even if your camera is said to have weather sealing, go online and read what other people are saying about the cameras weather sealing. Now even if your camera has weather sealing, your lens needs weather sealing as well. Water can get into your camera from the lens mount unless the lens has a rubber gasket to seal it off. I must repeat this, make sure your gear can do this. Don’t take any chances. I shoot a lot of festivals in the rain and I never have problems with my Nikon, but I see so many Canon 5D marks II and III fail in the rain. So be careful. A camera that gets wet inside normally needs to have electronics replaced and that can be expensive. Don’t try shooting in the rain unless you are 100% positive about your camera’s abilities.
Now if you have the right equipment to shoot in the rain, you can get some great photos. The first thing you need to do is keep a lens cloth in your pocket. If your lens does get some water onto the front element, then you can clean it off as soon as possible. The second thing you want to do is shoot with your widest aperture. The wide aperture will help if you get any water onto the front element. Now the idea with shooting in the rain is that you want to get some light source behind the raindrops and the artist as the lights will bounce off the rain and give a lot of the raindrops a small halo effect which can look awesome if you get the angle right. The light source can be stage lights or it can be the sun. It does not matter as long as it is behind the artist and the raindrops that you are shooting into. But if you are shooting in the rain, make sure you are shooting with your lens hood on as the lens hood will protect the front element from raindrops. I would recommend using a longer lens for this though. The 70-200 lens usually has a deep lens hood so the front element gets more protection from the rain. A second advantage when shooting in heavy rain is that a lot of the amateur photographers will leave the pit, their gear cannot handle the wet weather so the pit usually gets very quiet. This means that you have a lot of free space to shoot from and many free angles.
Now if you need to check your lens front element for water drops, pick your camera up so that the back of the camera goes up in the air and you are looking into the lens from the bottom. Don’t check the lens from the side as water can get onto the front element like that. Shooting in the rain is easy and if you can get the light source behind the artist and the rain, the photos can look great.
The last bit of advice for shooting in the rain is with editing. When you are editing your photos, you need to add a little bit more shadow detail and clarity than you normally do to bring the raindrops out of the photo, not too much though. I usually use about 10% more shadow detail and clarity on a rain shot. If you are shooting in a festival and it starts to rain, don’t be one of the photographers who go to find shelter. You will not melt in the rain. Get out there and shoot a little, and see what results you can get. I have never shot in the rain and walked away disappointed. But I have always had to buy new shows afterward though.