We’ve all been there. Whether it’s for a special occasion, a family portrait session, or an impromptu quest for Instagram content—one minute you’re smiling in the sunshine, and the next you’re on the hunt for the nearest awning to protect you (or your camera) from the downpour that definitely wasn’t included in the day’s forecast.

Houston’s weather has a mind of its own, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a certified storm chaser to have a successful photoshoot. Though a few of these locations may require you to bring an umbrella, our city is home to plenty of spots that make for breathtaking photos that are even more beautiful when rain’s falling. Whether you want to feel the rain on your skin or snap your shots from the comfort of covered spaces, here’s our guide to navigating indoor and outdoor photoshoots on Houston’s rainy days (for professionals and amateurs alike).

If you’re going out, remember to take precautions. Wear a face covering, and if it’s raining, turn around if you see high water. 

Indoor

Get your picture without getting drenched. 

Nouveau Antique Art Venue

This stunning venue located in the heart of Midtown embodies elegance and charm with an incomparable collection of Tiffany Glass lamps and an abundance of art inspired by the French Art Nouveau—“New Art”—Movement known for the creation of imaginative, never-before-seen works.

Though they’re now only open for special events Thursday through Sunday due to COVID-19, when Nouveau Antique Art Venue does re-welcome guests (with a proper 21+ ID) to enjoy cocktails and the intimate atmosphere, you can do more than just acknowledge your gorgeous surroundings. Throw on a deep-red lipstick or a snazzy tux jacket for some photos, and, just like that, your sophisticated shots look like they belong next to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Campesino Coffee House

Looking for something more casual with a touch of bohemia? We’ve got just the place. Campesino Coffee House is not only home to delicious Latin American coffee and cuisine, but also warm, eclectic décor and large windows that make for the coziest rainy-day photo session in Montrose. Grab a cup of espresso and a seat next to any of their colorfully decorated walls while peering out a rain-soaked windowpane and ta-da—your photo will look like it’s pulled from a Pinterest board.

Kaboom Books 

Never underestimate the power of a well-established bookstore. This used bookstore located in the Woodland Heights is still closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, but as soon as doors re-open, walk in and you’ll find Kaboom Books looks like a land from the storybooks it sells. Think generously stocked shelves, light pouring in through the glass storefront, and hanging greenery. Pull a novel off a shelf, pose in front of a wall of books, and watch as your results shock you. With such a variety of colors and textures behind you and light pouring into the shot, a trip to this Houston favorite could lead to a photoshoot you’ll never forget.

Outdoor

You may need an umbrella, but it’s worth it, we promise.

 
 
 
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An update on McGovern Centennial Gardens: The Gardens are open for the public to use at this time. We are taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our visitors. That includes: -- The furniture on the patio is no longer available for use. -- Drinking fountains are no longer in use. -- Restrooms are remaining open, and being sanitized and cleaned on a regular basis. -- The Mount and the circular walkway to the top are closed. We hope to stay open during this time to provide a place of solace and relaxation. That said, we need YOUR help in keeping the Gardens a safe space for everyone. Here's what you can do: -- Please maintain a six-foot distance from others. -- Visit the Gardens by yourself, or with your family. Do not come in groups. -- Wash your hands. Restrooms remain open for this reason. -- If you are feeling sick, please DO NOT visit the Gardens at this time. For over five years, the Gardens have been a free natural resource for Houstonians, offering a peaceful place to get away from the stresses of life. But only through a partnership of our precautions AND your own efforts can we keep this space available for the public. Please help us, and do your part. Be well, Houston!

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McGovern Centennial Gardens

Imagine eight acres of gardens with a variety of breathtaking views. McGovern Centennial Gardens is a photoshoot favorite on a sunny day, but the location is usually thrown out when it starts sprinkling. However, if you and your camera come prepared for the drizzle, you can experience the Gardens in a way many never have.

Professional photographers must obtain a permit from Hermann Park by calling the City of Houston before visiting, but if you and a friend are looking for a place to shoot, checking out The Gardens in the rain lets you experience them while they’re likely empty (a rare occasion that ensures no unwanted photobombing). Plus, the rain adds texture to your photos that beautifully compliments The Gardens’ variety of waterfalls, walkways, and greenery.  

River Oaks Theater

Ready to feel like a movie star? Nothing’s quite as glamorous as posing under huge bright lights while rain pours in the foreground. The historic River Oaks Theater has been an integral part of Houston since 1939, and its glowing neon display embodies the Art Deco style and the glamor of Hollywood’s Golden Age. It’s glitzy and timeless, and you can have a whole photoshoot without having to step out from underneath the awning. As long as your photographer (both professionals and Instagram boyfriends armed with iPhones) is willing to endure the rain long enough for some solid shots, you’ll end up with some black and white shots that look like you came from the same period that gave us Casablanca and Rear Window. 

 
 
 
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Rice University Campus

Last, but certainly not least, you don’t have to be attending college classes to take pictures at one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States. Between beautiful architecture and 300 acres of lush greenery and trees, Rice University’s campus is no stranger to photoshoots for engagements, graduations, and more. The abundance of arches surrounding the school will have you covered if there’s an unexpected shower, but stepping out on the fresh lawn and offering a twirl for the photographer as it pours would make for the sweetest photo while your photographer can stay dry while snapping the shot. Nothing says, “I did it!” quite like throwing your graduation cap up while dancing in the rain.

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