Adding Rain To A Photo With Photoshop

Adding Rain To A Photo With Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson. Most of us would prefer to avoid being caught in the rain if possible, especially if we have our cameras with us. But what if you're one of a large number of people who enjoy taking photos of weather? Even if weather photography isn't your main interest, there's no denying that rain adds a whole new dimension to your images. So how do you capture photos of rain without getting your camera all wet?

Easy! Wait till it stops raining, take the picture, then add the rain back in using Photoshop, which is exactly what we're going to learn how to do.

This version of the tutorial is for Photoshop CS5 and earlier. Photoshop CS6 and CC (Creative Cloud) users will want to check out our fully updated Photoshop Weather Effects - Rain tutorial.

Here's the photo I'll be working with for this effect:

The original photo.
The original image.

And here's the same image after adding the rain in Photoshop. It's really coming down out there!

Photoshop rain effect. Image copyright © 2008 Photoshop
The final result.

This tutorial is part of our Photo Effects collection. Let's get started!

Get all of our tutorials as print-ready PDFs!

Step 1: Duplicate The Background Layer

The first thing we need to do for this effect is duplicate our Background layer. With our image open in Photoshop, we can see in the Layers palette that we currently have one layer, which is named Background. This layer contains our original image:

Photoshop photo effects tutorial image.
The Layers palette in Photoshop showing us the original image on the Background layer.

We need to create a copy of this layer, so let's use the quick keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac). Nothing will seem to have happened in the document window, but if we look again in our Layers palette, we can see that we now have two layers - the original Background layer on the bottom, and a copy of it, which Photoshop has named "Layer 1", above it:

Photoshop photo effects tutorial image.
Duplicate the Background layer by pressing "Ctrl+J" (Win) / "Command+J" (Mac).