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Make a Rain Machine to Spice Up Your Portraits for $20 and Some Elbow Grease


When Benjamin Von Wong was commissioned to do a series of black and white portraits of SmugMug employees for the company’s gym, he knew he wasn’t going to be taking the easy route. But just because he was going to try to do something really cool, didn’t mean things needed to get expensive.

To spice up the sporty portraits, Von Wong decided to add water into the equation, and thanks to some help from the folks at SmugMug, they were able to make it rain for only $20.

To create the rain-machine, Von Wong enlisted the help of SmugMug facilities manager Daniel Petrosian, who ultimately came up with the simple contraption below made of PVC pipe, fitted with old-school breaks and copper sprinkler heads. Add in some plumber’s glue, attach the pieces together, hook up a hose, and let it rip!

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Of course, the lighting, camera equipment and experience brought to the shoot cost a lot more than $20, but the rain at least was dirt cheap. And as you can see from the results, that $20 and hour or so of work was well worth it:



Whether you’re planning a rain shoot of your own or just want an excuse to build something neat this weekend, head over to Von Wong’s blog post about the photo shoot to find out more.

Image credits: Photographs by Benjamin Von Wong and used with permission