location scouting guide: a rainy day in amsterdam

Man hiding out at a cafe with his raincoat

Man hiding out at a cafe with his raincoat

I’m not sure you can take a bad photo in Amsterdam. Between the whizzing bikes, cheese shops, cafes and never-ending canals, you can have your camera to your eye walking the whole thirty minute walk from Jordaan to City Center. Of course, you can walk through some of the neighborhoods and get the quintessential shot of your subject on an empty bridge with a canal and bikes in the background. But you can also get creative, create motion, and show how the city lives and moves.

Even when the weather isn’t pleasant, this city is still overly photogenic. Just picture all those umbrellas winding their way through the streets and couples snuggled under awnings to keep dry. I don’t have any specific locations in this guide other than that all these images are from meandering my way from Jordaan to City Center. Here is what you can do to embrace the rain:


Throw a few umbrellas in your kit bag. Even on seemingly sunny days, Amsterdam is known to drop a few rain drops. While walking through the city I took notice of people huddled together under umbrellas, striding through the streets under their protection or even biking with one!



The aftermath of rain is the puddles left behind. Prep your subjects with rain gear to go puddle jumping or ask them to ride their bikes (if they don’t own one, rent one for the day) through them. The splashes will bring the photo to life and loosen up your subjects for a fun shoot. Or seek out reflections in the puddles for a new perspective. For street photographers, just stake out a spot and wait for that perfect rain-gear-clad stranger to walk through.

commuters bike rain or shine

commuters bike rain or shine

Raincoats (or ponchos):

The classic yellow raincoat always stands out in the rain and is the perfect pop of color during a shoot. You could also consider anything bright or even silver!


Awnings & Underpasses:

I haven’t come across too many clients that are keen for being in the rain which is where overhead coverage comes in handy. Have your subject pose under a store awning, play under a bridge (safety first though!) or hang under a tent. Just remember, rain doesn’t mean you have to be inside.


Note, if you are doing a professional photo shoot in Amsterdam, you’d be wise to give the city notice and get a license if necessary. Here is a link to information and the application: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/business/filming-photography/

Emily LongComment