Shooting Rainbows


Here’s a quick idea for you to try if you’re looking for some photo inspiration (after all, we have a whole section devoted to this kind of thing). I haven’t spent much time hashing out this idea, so it’s pretty undeveloped compared to some of the other walkthroughs I’ve written. Maybe one of these days I’ll go out with my assistant (AKA my brother) and really shoot this concept.

What You’ll Need

In addition to your camera, this will require:

  • A nice outdoor location
  • A garden hose
  • Something that can generate mist (i.e. garden hose spray gun)
  • An assistant

What To Do

Be sure it’s a pretty sunny day outside. Rainbows might be hard to catch if there’s too little direct sunlight (kind of the opposite of fish?).

You’ll want to stand somewhere between the sun and the mist. Otherwise, you’ll end up with photos that look like these:


Even though they might be interesting, you won’t end up with any rainbows shooting out of the spray gun.

Have your assistant spray mist in your general direction, and try to move around to see if you can catch a glimpse of any rainbow that may result. If you locate this rainbow, reposition your assistant’s spray and your own location until the rainbow matches up with the spray nozzle in your assistant’s hand.

I haven’t experimented much with the location or background, but try to keep the background dark to have the rainbow stand out more in the photo. Also, try shooting wide open (largest aperture) if possible, to throw the background out of focus and further bring out the rainbow.

That’s about it! If any of you try your hand at this idea and have interesting results, please do share it with us by linking to your photograph in the comments!