- WHERE: Rainbows are created when you have fine water droplets lit by bright sunlight. In other words best times /places are when a storm is approaching / forming or leaving / breaking and around waterholes, waterfalls, fountains, sprinklers etc. So the two ingredients to look for are moisture and sunlight.
- HOW: Because rainbows aren’t solid, but refracted light shooting them can be a tricky thing. In most cases you will be using a polarizer to enhance those colors, but care should be taken, since you can under certain conditions make it disappear. The best advice I can pass along is to have the sun behind you since rainbows always form in the sky opposite the sun’s position.
- COMPOSE: So once you are in front of a rainbow, your first reaction should be to find / go to a location nearby where you know / or will find a foreground subject of interest that can be complimented by the rainbow. As already mentioned, rainbows are a beautiful thing but it’s the overall composition and foreground choice that will make one rainbow photograph really stand out from the next.
- ENDPOINTS: Just like with sunsets, avoid wasting your time shooting just the rainbow, if you really want a chance at creating something unique. But in the rare case that you find yourself too close and without a wide-angle lens, then you can always try concentrating on one of the endpoints. Endpoints are also a place of compositional power and interest but you will find that it’s the colorful bow that really adds the compositional interest in most cases.
There are a small handful of dedicated photographers who purposefully chase storms and their varying visual effects and they don’t need any advice from me, but if you are just starting out in photography and are interested in enriching your portfolio with such images my only advise to you is to always be on the lookout for interesting weather phenomena and be prepared to leave your cozy sofa and venture out in those usually not so warming weather conditions.