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How to Shoot Magical Portraits in the Pouring Rain


When it starts pouring outside, most photographers may run for cover and hide from the rain. For photographer Ilko Allexandroff, heavy rain becomes an opportunity to shoot stunning backlit portraits of subjects. Here’s a 20-minute video in which Allexandroff discusses his methods, helpful tips, and 6 types of lighting setups he uses.

Here are the 6 scenarios and some beautiful example photos for each one:

#1. Backlight for Silhouettes

A single light will illuminate raindrops and turn your subject into a silhouette.

#2. Backlight Plus Reflected Light

If you’d like your subject’s face illuminated with a single light from behind, you can place your subject next to a wall or other structure that can bounce some light back onto them.

#3. Backlight Plus a Light Source

Placing your subject near another light source such as a store window can illuminate their features while the single flash in the back illuminates the rain.

#4. Backlight and RAW Editing

Allexandroff sometimes uses a single flash behind the subject and then increases exposure on the subject’s face and features during post-processing.

#5. Front Light and Back Light

You can use a flash behind your subject to illuminate the rain while using another strobe in front of them to expose their face and body.

#6. Cross Lighting

Moving the back-side flash to a diagonal position can produce a different look.

Here are some other example photos by Allexandroff for inspiration:

You can find more of Allexandroff’s videos through his YouTube channel.