A Rainbow is something that has the power to stop you in your tracks when it unexpectedly appears when you’re least expecting to see one. They’re beautiful – but how do you photograph a rainbow?
Find a Rainbow
This is the most obvious but also perhaps the hardest part of the process. Their appearance will depend upon the conditions and they are something that will often happen completely out of the blue. Having said this – you should especially be on the look out for rainbows when you have two elements present – falling/spraying water droplets and bright sunlight. As a result they’re common when a storm is approaching and around waterfalls/sprinklers/fountains.
As rainbows are not solid objects one of the keys to photographing them is to capture them in front of a background that allows them to stand out as much as possible. Ideally you’ll want to get a background that is uncluttered and if possible one that has darker colors (think dark clouds, mountains etc). While it’s not always possible to change the background – you might find that you’re able to change the angle that you’re shooting from or to focus just upon part of the rainbow that is in front of a good background.
Consider not only the background of your rainbow shots – but the foregrounds. These can add interest to the shot but also lead the eye towards focal points. Also scan the foreground for distractions that you could remove.
Keep in mind that where there is one rainbow there can often be a second one – or at least another layer of one that arches over the first. Including both can lead to an extra layer of interest in the shot