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Rainy Day Portrait Photography: 8 Offbeat Indoor Location Ideas

Portrait of a woman next to a window in a rainy day

While rainy days may seem like the perfect opportunity to stay in bed and watch Netflix, there are many opportunities to use rain for creative portrait photography.

In this blog post, I’ll share 9 indoor location ideas for portrait photography in rainy weather conditions.

I have also created a separate mood board for each location and handpicked the best photos to help you get inspiration for your next portrait photo shoot. 

Let’s get into this.

1. Indoor Markets or Food Courts

Pinterest mood board with indoor market portrait photography ideas
Handpicked indoor market portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

Interesting architecture and vibrant colors from foods and vegetables make indoor markets and food courts an ideal place for portrait photography.

Food courts, in particular, can provide a range of various textures, colors, and interesting lighting that can be used to create stunning portraits.

The busy atmosphere of markets and food courts can also be great for capturing movement and an energetic vibe, adding an additional layer of interest to your photos.

Tips for Shooting Portraits in Indoor Markets and Food Courts

  • Explore the food court or the market before the photo shoot to identify the best photoshoot locations and backdrops.
  • Try to find a window to use natural light for your portrait photography.
  • Use a shallow depth of field (low apertures, such as f/2.0, or f/2.8) to create a separation between your subject and foreground.
  • Set your camera to burst mode to shoot multiple photos at once. Because your photo can be ruined by people who may get in the way of your shot.
  • Bring a tripod with you and try to shoot portraits with long exposure to create an artistic blur of people in the background behind your subject.

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2. Hotel Lobbies

Pinterest mood board with hotel lobby portrait photography ideas
Handpicked hotel lobby portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

The luxurious and elegant interiors of hotel lobbies provide a rich and elegant atmosphere, which can add an extra dimension to your portrait photos.

Modern hotel lobbies normally have a lot of natural light sources, such as large windows or skylights as well as a variety of different artificial light sources, such as chandeliers and lamps

This variety of different light sources can be used to create different moods and lighting scenarios in your portrait photography session.

Additionally, hotel lobbies have a number of unique architectural features such as arches, columns, and various textured backdrops that can really add depth to your photos.

With these elements, a hotel lobby offers an ideal indoor space for capturing stunning portrait photos.

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Tips for Shooting Portraits in Hotel Lobbies

  • Find a spot near the window to take advantage of the natural light source.
  • Try to experiment with different angles. Shoot from above, below, or at eye level to find an interesting perspective that would capture the atmosphere of a hotel lobby and tell a story.
  • Try to find an interesting interior design element to frame your subject and add depth to your portrait photos.
  • Try to shoot black-and-white portraits in a hotel lobby to create a timeless, classic look. Order a cocktail or a glass of whiskey on the rocks to add style and flair to your portrait shots.
  • Look for clean, uncluttered backgrounds and try to avoid distracting elements.
  • Ask your model to walk and try to capture them in motion to add dynamics to your photos.
  • Use shallow depth of field (low f-stop number, such as f/2.0) to separate your subject from the background and blur out distractions from your shot.

3. Flower Shops

Pinterest mood board with handpicked flower shop portrait photography ideas
Handpicked flower shop portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

Flower shops offer a wide range of visually appealing and colorful backdrops for portrait photo sessions. 

The combination of flowers and plants together with the natural light from windows creates a warm and vibrant atmosphere in flower shops.

Unique shapes, textures, and colors of flowers and plants can also be used as creative props, adding additional depth to your photos and complementing your model’s outfit.

Additionally, flower shops often have clear PVC strip doors that can be used to create unique visual effects in your portrait photos.

With its range of visually appealing elements, a flower shop is a great indoor photo location for capturing great portraits.

Tips for Shooting Portraits in Flower Shops

  • Position your model near the window so that only part of her face will be lit with the soft natural light from the window. This will make part one part of your model’s face evenly lit and the other part darker, which in turn will make your portrait photos more 3D dimensional.
  • Try to incorporate flowers into your shot and use their vibrant colors, unique shapes, and textures to compliment your model’s outfit. Use a color wheel to pick a complementary color of the flower to match and enhance your model’s outfit.
  • Try to experiment with different lenses (e.g. 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm) to find the perfect focal length for your portrait photos.
  • Ask your model to walk around and interact with flowers, which can add dynamics and create unique poses.
  • Take advantage of the clear PVC strip doors in a flower shop and use them to create unique visual effects in your portrait photos.
  • Try to use a backlighting technique by positioning your model in front of the light source to create a backlit effect in your portrait photos.

4. University Campuses

Pinterest mood board with handpicked flower shop portrait photography ideas
Handpicked university campus portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

A university campus is a great location for indoor portrait photography because it offers a variety of different environments within its buildings.

From modern lecture halls to historic libraries and halls, each location provides its own unique character and atmosphere.

The use of natural light and shadows within these indoor spaces is perfect for creating moody portraits.

Meanwhile, grand staircases, detailed moldings, and stained glass windows can add visual interest and depth to the backgrounds of portrait shots.

With its range of environments and interesting architectural elements, a university campus offers a versatile and dynamic location for capturing gorgeous portraits.

Tips for Shooting Portraits on University Campus

  • Take a moment to explore the university campus to find interesting backdrops, such as grand staircases, textured walls, and interesting architectural elements that could be used to create unique portrait photos.
  • Search for locations with beams of natural light and strong shadows to create moody portrait shots with high contrast and depth.
  • Try to shoot black-and-white photos within a university campus to create classic looks.
  • Experiment with different perspectives in your photos. Shoot portraits from above or from a low angle to create less ordinary perspectives in your portrait photos.
  • Try to use motion blur in your portrait photos. Set your camera on a tripod, set a low shutter speed (e.g. 1/15s), and ask your model to stand still in one place while students behind your model will be moving around. With the right shutter speed settings you will be able to capture a creative portrait with your model in focus and moving students behind your model blurred.

5. Cozy Coffee Shops

Pinterest board with handpicked coffee shop portrait photography ideas
Handpicked cofee shop portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

The welcoming and warm atmosphere of coffee shops is a great location for taking indoor photography.

Coffee shops usually have a lot of different details and design elements such as brick walls, paintings or photos on the wall, a lot of greenery, plants, and cozy furniture that can be used as backdrops for taking photos.

The ambient lighting from the lamps and the natural light that comes in through the windows can be a great source of lighting for indoor portrait photography.

My personal experience shows that people often feel relaxed and at ease in familiar environments like coffee shops, making them ideal for taking portraits full of emotions and intimate moments. 

So, if you looking for a location with a cool vibe and cozy environment to take portrait photos on a rainy day, a coffee shop is a perfect location for you.

Tips for Taking Portraits in Coffee Shops

  • Try to place a coffee cup, or a table plant in front of the lens and adjust your camera focus on your model’s face to create an interesting visual effect with an unfocussed object in the foreground.
  • Try to take a photo of your model sitting next to a coffee shop window from the outside. This will create a beautiful cinematic effect with reflections and raindrops on the window.
  • Choose a table near the window so that you could use both natural and artificial lighting in your photos.
  • Ask your model to hold a cup of coffee in their hands to add a feeling of cozy vibes and to create a more natural look in your portrait photos.
  • Ask your model to interact with different props, such as a newspaper, magazine, plant, notebook, or other items that you can find in a coffee shop.
  • Ask the coffee shop barista to create coffee art on a cappuccino or a latte and use it in your portrait photo.

6. Public Libraries

Pinterest mood board with handpicked public library portrait photography ideas
Handpicked public library portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

Unique architecture, large windows with a lot of natural light, grand staircases, high ceilings, a lot of different textures, and backdrops – all of this make public libraries a truly great location for taking portrait photos on a rainy day.

The bookshelves filled with various books can serve as a great backdrop and add depth to your portrait photos.

Additionally, public libraries provide a peaceful environment with fewer people around compared to marketplaces and coffee shops. This can be a huge bonus if your model feels uncomfortable with taking photos in public places.

Tips for Shooting Portraits in Public Libraries

  • Ask your model to sit on the floor between bookshelves and pretend to read a book to convey an interesting story in your portrait photo.
  • Try to take photos of your model through the bookshelves to create candid-style portraits.
  • Search for a location near a window to use a natural light source in your photos. Position your model so that the light from the window would only fall on half of your model’s face to create more depth in your photos.
  • Try to use a book in a non-standard manner to add creative flair to your portrait photos. For example, ask your model to open the book and place it on top of her head, or ask your model to open the book and hold it in front of the camera so that you could take a portrait photo through the open book.
  • Add interest to your photos by shooting them from different perspectives – from a low angle or from above.
  • Incorporate leading lines from the symmetrical bookshelves in your photos.
  • Use reading lamps to take a close-up portrait with a reading lamp as the main source of light.

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7. Art Museums or Art Galleries

Pinterest mood board with handpicked art gallery and museum portrait photography ideas
Handpicked art museum and gallery portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

An abstract environment of art museums and galleries allows photographers to take photos where the model is the central stage of the photo.

The combination of unusual shapes, colors, and textures in the background, together with a variety of natural light sources make art galleries and museums a great location for taking rainy-day photoshoots.

Additionally, the architecture of art galleries and museums often features interesting lines and shapes that can be used as the leading lines in your photos.

Tips for Taking Portrait Photos in Art Museums and Galleries

  • Use the museum environment to make the most of art museums and galleries. For example, take advantage of features like busts by having your model stand between two for a captivating portrait photo.
  • Search for backgrounds with strong contrasting colors that would complement your model’s outfit. For example, if your model is wearing a primarily beige outfit, try to search for an art object or a background that would be of a bluish color – it is a complementary color for beige. You can use color wheel tools to quickly find complementary colors during your photoshoot.
  • Utilize the motion blur technique to create captivating portrait photos in art museums and galleries. To do this, you’ll need to take a tripod with you and use a low shutter speed. This way, museum or gallery visitors will appear blurry, whilst your model who will be standing still will be sharp and in focus.
  • Try to search for interesting or harsh shadows that you could utilize in your photos. Place your model in the area with light and expose for the model’s face. This way, you’ll end up with a high-contrast and creative photo.

8. Botanic Gardens

Pinterest mood board with handpicked botanic garden portrait photography ideas
Handpicked botanic garden portrait photography ideas - View Pinterest mood board

The peaceful and serene atmosphere paired with rich colors and unique shapes of plants and flowers make botanic gardens the perfect location for taking portrait and engagement photos.

Botanic gardens have a lot of natural light that is needed for the plants as well as beautifully shaped shadows from the flowers and plants that can be used to create dynamic and visually interesting portrait photos.

Moreover, botanic gardens are great for shooting portrait photos of people who are shy to take photos in public places. The peaceful atmosphere of botanic gardens can help you make your model feel relaxed and safe, which in turn can lead to beautiful intimate photos full of real human emotions.

Tips for Taking Portrait Photos in Art Museums and Galleries

  • Use plants and flowers as natural frames in your portrait photos. Simply try to find a small gap between two or more plants and shoot through it to frame your model in your photo. This will add a beautiful foreground and depth to your image and make it look creative and attractive.
  • Utilize leaves as props in your photos. Simply ask your model to take a few leaves in their hands or arrange them near their neck and shoulders. This will add an interesting texture and depth to your photos.
  • Play around with the shadows from the leaves to add a creative touch to your photos. Simply position your model so that there would be a plant or a tree that would cast a shadow on your model’s face. I highly recommend you check out a highly-detailed article that I wrote on how to use shadows in your portrait photography.

Locations for Rainy Day Portrait Photography: Conclusion

In this blog post, I have shared with you eight rainy-day portrait photography location ideas.

I have also handpicked inspiring photos for each location on Pinterest so that you can easily access them and get inspiration for your next portrait photoshoot. Here’s the list of all eight locations with the link to the dedicated Pinterest mood board:

  1. Indoor Markets or Food Courts
  2. Hotel Lobbies
  3. Flower Shops
  4. University Campuses
  5. Cozy Coffee Shops
  6. Public Libraries
  7. Art Museums and Galleries
  8. Botanical Gardens

I truly hope that this post was helpful to you and it provided you with new indoor location ideas for rainy days.

P.S. If you’ve liked this post, I recommend you to sign up for the OHMYCAMERA newsletter to get insightful articles about photography, post-production, and marketing for photographers.

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Aleksandrs Karevs

Aleksandrs Karevs

Hi, my name is Aleksandrs and I am a full-stack digital marketer passionate about digital photography. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V. Read full story here.

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Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

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Simply enter your email below to receive a FREE eBook filled with actionable tips for immediate photography improvements. 

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