To be honest when rain is in the forecast especially on a wedding day I tend to jump in excitement! Now I know your sitting over there reading this and shaking your head!! So hear me out! Whenever I am given the opportunity to photograph any genre of photography in unique circumstances I am 100% in! It gives me the chance to not only create intriguing photographs but to “break the rules” and extend my own abilities to adapt to whatever circumstances are thrown my way. And for those of you who know me, know that I LOVE a good challenge!
I also feel like if you’re an experienced wedding photographer or photographer in general you should be able to perform in all scenarios not only with what you have mastered but with the unknown as well. Obviously, I love my golden light but sometimes the outcome is very predictable. Whereas when a storm is brewing you never know what color the sky will be, the clouds are ever-changing, the imagery’s mood is much different than when skies are clear and sunny, and it helps you produce something wildly different for your client and portfolio.
Before I provide tips about shooting in the rain let me give you some advice. Every client is different! Remember that not one person is the same, so never assume that someone will be okay to go “play” in the rain especially on their wedding day! If rain is in the forecast for a wedding you will be photographing be an open book with your client, share your knowledge and hear what they have to say. Do your research on the venue and their entire day. If the venue doesn’t have as many options as you feel necessary scope out locations near the venue.
I cannot emphasize this enough that you need to “DO YOUR RESEARCH!” Do your research and then present your ideas to your clients. You’re not only doing your client a favor, but you’re prepping for a much smoother process for yourself. Knowing what to expect will allow for more shooting time, less stress for all parties, smoother shooting and editing and peace of mind that all grounds are covered.
I do my research with every wedding. It doesn’t matter what the forecast is calling for weather wise.
In many cases the weather man’s predictions are inaccurate, but for the times he is on point I would rather be prepared. So much planning goes into a bride and grooms day that photographs are just as important as the events happening. For example this Georgia wedding’s forecast changed rapidly the week prior and storms filled the radar rather than the blue sunny skies originally promised. The bride from this wedding did not want to go in the rain even with the use of umbrellas, so we utilized the small windows we were given when it wasn’t down pouring. I also hid myself under an umbrella and utilized the porches on the houses to capture key moments all throughout the afternoon. We were running around the property like wild animals and I was soaked most of the day but it was worth it! I mean look at those skies!
So how can YOU shoot a wedding in the rain?
1. Become familiar with the venue
Becoming familiar with the venue will allow you to utilize the best nooks and crannies that will be best suited for whatever weather is thrown your way. It will also allow you more time to create magic with your couple, their family and the wedding party. The last thing you want to do is to be walking around aimlessly trying to find spots to shoot in on the day of. Especially in the rain! Like I said before, “DO YOUR RESEARCH!!” If all else fails and you are unable to shoot outdoors, utilize the beauty of the venue indoors! There are so many possibilities within each corner of a room! Seek them out, be creative and think outside of the box!
2. Buy umbrellas
If rain is in the forecast I always suggest that my clients buy these umbrellas – Click here! I usually suggest purchasing enough for the wedding party. Worst case the forecast is wrong and they can always be returned! If the wedding is outdoors you can always suggest that their guests bring their own umbrellas or have them place a basket at the end of the isle with umbrellas and blankets! Either way it makes for adorable photographs!
3. Communicate with your clients
Be as open as possible with your clients about the weather. Listen, be respectful and be open minded about their thoughts and feelings towards the weather. After carefully assessing their wishes and desires present them with your ideas and thoughtfully planned out schedule. Most of my clients are 100% on board with my ideas because they know that they can trust me. Not only because they can trust my word, but because I have shown them time and time again that I have done my research and I am more than capable of adapting to any scenario. Don’t pressure someone into what you want, give them educated options and let them decide!
4. Know your gear and what you’re capable of
Be honest with yourself and your clients on what you are comfortable with! Don’t place yourself in a scenario that you aren’t able to preform in such a manner that will deliver what you are promising. I love stepping outside my comfort zone. This is something that I thrive off of. It feeds my creativity! But at the end of the day I do know what my limits are and won’t jeopardize missing moments over trying to do something I myself or my equipment is not capable of. Not only do you need to be aware of what you are able to produce you also need to protect your gear!! I cannot stress this enough! Bring your own umbrella (I use the one linked above) and bring a few plastic bags! Plastic bags work great because all you have to do is cut a hole for the lens and the rest is protected! You don’t want to ruin your equipment just to make sure you get the shot!
5. Roll with the punches!
Just like anything in life you must roll with whatever is thrown your way. Make the best out of any scenario you are given! At the end of the day you are not there for yourself, you are there to capture your clients love story. A story that they will be able to cherish for a lifetime!
If you are feeling worried about photographing a wedding in the rain do a model call! Practice! Utilize the opportunity to photograph a model where there is no pressure to curate a gallery full of unbelievable photographs. Let it be a teachable moment where you can correct your “errors” and become comfortable stepping outside of your element!