Rain Effects

Rain Effects

Rain Effects | Dial-in the downpour in your images
There’s a certain depth and emotion rain brings to a scene. But without proper waterproofing, you can’t exactly bring your camera out into a downpour. Even if you manage to grab some shots, they don’t always capture the full power of what you experienced live.

This happened to me just last month in Maui on a client shoot for Saxx swim shorts. We were on a strenuous hike in the Hana rainforest and the moment we arrived to see the prize at the end, a huge waterfall, it started to pour. It was the perfect sort of scene every photographer hopes to stumble upon… the only problem was I couldn’t find any cover.

With the camera and drone still packed up in my waterproof bag, I decided to go for a swim to pass the time. Eventually, things let up enough to take a few shots with the product but I knew I’d have some editing work ahead of me to recreate that original surreal moment.

  • Before-Rain
    Before Rain After
Editing with rain can be a bit tricky because a little bit goes a long way. For this photo, I primarily added small drops of rain across the whole scene mixed with some linear rain for diversity. An additional layer of rain was added around the waterfall which better accentuated it’s power. Finally, by pulling up the contrast and adding some more softness it helped thin out the raindrops and blend all the effects more naturally.

A few tips to keep in mind:

1) Stick with shots that would naturally have rain present. Make sure your subject, surroundings, and effects all work together to create a cohesive scene (your viewer will feel that something is off if the pavement is dry or the sky is clear).

2) Add the effect first and then edit the colors of the image. This will also help to blend everything more cleanly.

To show you this idea in action, we’ve gathered three samples from community members and photographers Nathan Tecson, Sam Ciurdar, and Jonathan Zoeteman. We also had them share a bit of their process.

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Statement Sound Effects

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Cutting edge brand pieces, innovative product launches, and revolutionary campaigns evoke more emotion by using meaningful sound design. Statement SFX gives you the essential sounds to make your mark.

“I wanted to capture the emotion of a person feeling overwhelmed in a dark situation. The rain effect added another dimension that expressed the feeling of a person who is facing a large and challenging situation, but is slowly embracing it; The texture of the rain effect brings the viewer so much closer to experiencing that same emotion.”

Nathan Tecson @bringoutthegold

“When we were exploring Vancouver we had some really wet conditions. It was light and mild most of the times, but consistent enough to get you pretty wet. In these images it was hard to see the rain because it was so light, but still wanted to convey that emotion by adding a subtle rain effect from the Lens Distortions free mobile packs. It isn’t too on the nose, but subtle enough to make it look real – and that was the key!”

-Sam Ciurdar @samciurdar

“I used the rain effects combined with a light usage of the fog effects to help emphasize the rainy atmosphere in a more distinctive way. Usually, I’ll begin with a light layer of fog, reduce the opacity a little bit and then add a couple layers of the rain with the first having a lightly reduced opacity and the second having a greatly reduced opacity to give the image some depth. Being able to add a more defined rain effect allows the images to feel more “in the moment”, and allows me to present an image that can be very difficult to capture while the rain is falling heavily.

Jonathan Zoeteman @jonathanzoeteman

Check out Rain for Photoshop or our free mobile app to start experimenting with rain effects.

Remember the best effects are hiding in plain site. Challenge yourself to see how naturally you can blend the effects into your own rainy shots.

Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen

Community Lead

Paul Tellefsen is a lifestyle and travel photographer from Texas. His clients include Buick, Travel Alberta, Google, Ford, Marriott and country music hall of fame member Paul Brandt.

Peter McKinnon “Better iPhone Shots”

Peter McKinnon “Better iPhone Shots”

Take Better Shots with Your iPhone | Peter McKinnon shares a few of his favorite tips
“I love that Light Hits don’t necessarily scream ‘presets!’ but feel more natural in that you would never know they were added in post.”
Peter McKinnon is a Photographer & Filmmaker based out of Toronto Ontario, Canada. He runs a self-titled channel on YouTube where he shares tips, techniques and favorite tools for great visuals, which includes the Lens Distortions mobile app.
What’s the driving idea behind all the content you’re creating?
I want to use this platform, this gift I’ve been blessed with to empower those who need it. I have all this knowledge from grinding it out in this industry over the past decade and I remember the days when I was working the lousy jobs wondering if I would ever get to do what I loved for a living.

I want to inspire my audience and fill them with a sense of hope and drive. I have been exactly where they are and know exactly how they feel.

What lead you to start using Lens Distortions?
I stumbled across it on a Facebook Ad of all places! The one time I actually thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll check that out.” You guys got me!

I started with purchasing the Photoshop effects from your website and then moved to the app just in case I was ever on the go and needed to drop some sort of light source in on my phone. It quickly became one of my favourite things to use.

Which effects do you find yourself using most often?

Some of the Light Hits are so subtle but add such a massive improvement to photos. I love that they don’t necessarily scream “Presets!” but feel more natural in that you would never know it was added in post.

I use them for reflections in people’s glasses, I use them to enhance window lit portraits – they really are extremely versatile and when I start thinking of ways to use them that are not traditional, is when I feel the most excited about them.

See more of Peter’s work on his Youtube channel.



Teyleen | A daily discipline of iPhone art

Jeffrey Thelin is a digital artist and freelance designer. Four years ago he found a creative outlet to combine all of his passions by creating minimal geometric designs over photography and video using only an iPhone. He just wrapped a year full year of posting an original mobile design every single day, many of which incorporated LD effects. We caught up with Jeffrey to get his perspective on his art and how he uses our free Lens Distortions mobile app.

You just wrapped one full year of posting a design every day. What inspired this discipline and how did it shape you?
I started this project right after I graduated school, when my son was about 5 months old, and right when I started teyleen.com, which is where I turn some of my designs into t-shirts and prints.

I had all these thoughts in my head about how I could only make one good design every few weeks, or that I needed to think for a long time and sit on designs to decide if they were right or not. One day I just got fed up and said I’m going to make one every day for a whole year.

The first few months were challenging. I’d try to create a bunch in one day and then fan them out over a week or two. I felt like I had to have some in reserve in case I couldn’t make one. But, slowly, I began to trust myself, and now each day I start with nothing and I’m able to make something in under two hours.

Now it’s just like meditation. It feels like I’m almost being given the designs, or like I’m discovering them. There’s no struggle, they just flow out.

“I think it’s so important to find things to disrupt your daily life”

Any interesting stories from your daily design postings?

The single best moment of the year was when someone messaged me and told me that my designs were helping them cope with the loss of a loved one. I was crying scrolling through their message that said every day they would just look through my images and it’d make them feel a little bit more okay. Up until that point, I felt like my designs were really just for me. But that message has reshaped the way I perceive my art and really art in general.

I now aspire for my work to be a small positive experience in peoples’ lives, if only for the time it takes to stop and like something on Instagram. I think it’s so important to find things to disrupt your daily life, to just see things you don’t totally understand and to let your mind wander.

What makes creating mobile art so compelling to you?

If I wanted to do this type of work 10 years ago, I would have to carry a big camera around with me everywhere, take pictures of things, and then I’d have to wait until I got home to put my SD card into my computer, open Photoshop and Illustrator and then I would finally be able to get to work manipulating the images.

Now, if I see some interesting light on the bus, I take the photo, and in the moment of inspiration, I can begin the process of manipulation within 10 seconds of taking the picture. That freedom as an artist gets me in a state of near dreamlike euphoria.

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SFX Techniques

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Luminary 23

Luminary 69

“The best way I’ve found to use the Luminary pack for my work is to help soften natural lines and harsh shapes in the original photograph. The Luminary pack helps me create a more even canvas, if you will, for my designs to be placed on.”

What are the specifics of your workflow?

  • Constantly take images with the stock camera app on my iPhone.
  • Pull these images into the app “idesign,” which lets you build vector-based shapes, much like Illustrator. It’s a much older, complicated, and clunky app that doesn’t get a lot of love compared to similar tools, but it is by far the most robust and I’ve been using it for about 5 years now. I often have panic attacks about this app disappearing. haha!
  • Lay shapes onto the photo, looking for elements of harmony and balance in the photo, and thinking about what sort of mood and colors the photo makes me feel. This is the bulk of the process.
  • Export variations of the design and photo, changing line weights, colors, and sizing with each one.

  • Blend the graphic and the image to make the whole composition feel cohesive. Lens Distortions has opened up so many possibilities in this aspect and the light leaks, smoke, and bokeh effects have given me so many options to play with.
  • I then bring these designs into VSCO, which is where I process my images. This step is actually my favorite and where I decide if the piece is going to work or not. But a lot of times it doesn’t work. I’ll decide the colors are all wrong, or the highlights in the photo are acting differently than I imagined, in which case I go back to idesign and start tweaking the design again, or I start over.

Light Hit 15

Light Hit 5

Light Hit 11

“The Light Hits pack is probably the one I use most just because they look so natural and they can feel right at home in almost any photograph. Creating a bloom effect behind my designs is one of my favorite ways to use them. It creates such a natural looking light that radiates out around the design.”

How do Lens Distortions elements help tie your designs together?

Something I fight with my work every day is making these non-organic shapes and geometry fit into landscapes and scenes of nature. To me, it’s all about making the graphics feel more human and by distressing and distorting the image and graphics it feels more relatable to me.

With Lens Distortions, I’ve been able to take this process to the next level. In the same way people will use vignettes to apply a focus to their images, I use these effects to create a visual hierarchy in my work. Because the filters are natural, real, in-camera effects, they are the perfect tool to help combine the graphics and the photography.

Fog 6

Fog 12

“The Fog pack also is a favorite of mine when I’m creating a piece with a lot of dark tones and themes. It helps break up large swaths of color while also adding an otherworldly more mysterious tone to the image.”

Do you have plans for another daily creative habit?

I’m really just getting started. While I continue on with the daily designs, I’m diving deep into After Effects and my video work to see how I can incorporate motion. If I ever am able to really establish myself with my work and create a sustainable living for my family, I would also love to make music. The experience aspect of my designs is something I think about a lot and I believe video and sound are the missing links to create a truly captivating experience for the viewer.

I’ve decided to continue the project on to 1,000 straight days of creation. These designs are everything to me. They’re like little bits of my soul and my mind and I can’t imagine a day without making them.

To see more of Jeffrey’s work check out instagram.com/teyleen/ and teyleen.com.

Free Lens Distortions mobile app

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Frame your shots with beautiful shards of glass. Draw your viewers eye with organic light hits. Create atmospheric depth with glistening particles of light or fog.
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