Photographing in the Rainy Season in Korea

The rainy season is upon us here in Korea and it is a damp and sticky time of the year. If it is not raining, the humidity will make your armpits and forehead rain with sweat. With that being said, what (as a photographer) do you do?

Just Roll with It

The first piece of advice I would give is to just take it day by day. You never know what the weather will do during this time and often, it will kick out a great sunrise or an absolute burner of a sunset. As I was recording my podcast on this, the day was actually amazing. It was hot but there were blue skies and white puffy clouds.

Basically, there sometimes will be a mixed bag when it comes to the weather and you may get lucky or you may end up heading out a 3am and witness the sun rise into a white milky wasteland of a sky. You just never know.

So my advice here is to just roll with it and not place too much importance on getting the most perfect shots but rather just make the best out of what you got.

Use Your Time Wisely

You don’t have to spend this time actually out taking photos. You can use it to go through your previous shots and find some images that you might have overlooked. Often, you can find some great shots that you took but never edited because you had something else in mind when you edited them. Now, as you have progressed with your creative vision, you might see things differently. Thus, you can use this so-called “downtime” to review and see what you can find.

You can also visit museums or art galleries in your city to find inspiration. I usually take this time to catch up on the backlog of ebooks that have accumulated on my computer. This allows me to gain insight and also inspires me to practice a few new techniques. Again, you can use this time effectively and to your advantage.

Work with the Weather

Often there will be a few nice days mixed in with the rainy season but for the most part, it is a hot muggy mess. So what can you do? Well, my best advice would be to explore some other areas like food photography or still life. This is a time when you can turn of the A/C and make a home studio.

Korea is also one of the most caffeinated places in the world and especially around the larger cities, you can find some truly stunning cafes. This is where you can set up some model shoots or some food photography or anything really. Just make sure that you are not infringing on other people or taking up too much space.

I usually try to go as early as I can and get set up. That way you are not trying to shoot around people or having too many onlookers. Check google or kakao maps and they will show you when the peak times are.

The final point here is that you can shoot the bad weather, that is fine. My Dad would often say “get out there! You’re not made of sugar!” which basically means toughen up! Seaside shots of waves crashing on the rocks or wet city streets lit by neon signs are great places to start from.

The bottomline here is that you can make the most out of this season if you want to. Also you can take this time and chill for a bit and recalibrate. It is always up to you and your creative drive. So take some time and see what happens. It is not all doom and gloom even though it might look like that outside.

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Jason Teale 

Photographer, educator, podcaster

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Photographing Korea and the world beyond!