In honor of Tropical Storm Nate bringing non stop rains to Sunday’s wedding, I am dedicating an education piece strictly on how to handle rainy day situations. For a photographer like me, who loves to shoot in all natural light conditions and in wide open spaces, this kind of situation can seem quite daunting at first. But if you are properly prepared, you can make magic even without stepping one foot in the drizzle.
It’s happened- a dreaded weather report has you stressed about shooting your first rainy day wedding. So what now? Last thing you want to do is panic.
One- I promise the bride and groom are probably already starting to do that for you.
Two- You got this!!
Three- No really, refer back to number two because you can handle this situation.
Four- If you don’t believe number two then all you’re going to do is stress and get sloppy.
Here are some helpful tips to get you feeling confident and ready to tackle what is going to be a beautiful day!
Before you even head out the door to a wedding, there are some great tools that can ensure you have the tools necessary to get the job done. Here’s a handy list of things I bring with me when the forecast is looking shady…
Clear Umbrellas– these puppies are great for when you really want to get as close to the daylight as possible. Have enough to cover a whole wedding party (and yourself).
Here is a handy link to purchase from amazon: Umbrellas Clear
- Clear Ponchos– On top of the obvious (keeping you dry), these are great to place under the bride’s dress in wet grass or other areas. Here’s another link: Clear Ponchos
- Towels and Lens Cloths– Things are bound to get messy. I always have some stashed to wipe down my equipment
- Flash Diffusers- To be honest, this is a purchase I just made after I dealt with shooting family photos indoors. I do have off camera flashes, but to mimic more of a “natural light” look. I opted to purchase these to help defuse some of that harsh light for future indoor flash situations. Here are the ones I purchased: Flash Covers
Follow the Light
- Window Light: The natural light you do have- make the most of it! Using artificial light sources are going to mess with your skin tones. I always go around and turn off most of my unnatural light sources and then start looking for the most natural light that is available to me. When it is raining and cloudy- there isn’t going to be much available, and you aren’t going to want to drag your bride into the weather. Embrace that natural window light as much as possible! And embrace that romantic moodiness that only beautiful window light can give you.
- Front Lighting: For those big wedding party shots, you may have to go in the rain and line your party up in a doorway. This keeps them dry, but also keeps their faces lit perfectly.
- Back Lighting: This is one that I would avoid unless you are going for that pretty silhouette image. In overcast and rainy situations you are still going to struggle with haze overtaking your images if you are trying to bring back your shadows. If you can, position where the sun is in front or beside your subjects during rainy situations. Or you can use fill light from the front (such as from a flash or reflector).
You may think that the prettiest photos are taken in a perfectly staged open area. This isn’t the case! Everyone is probably crowded around the same place trying to prep for ceremony and reception at the same time. In fact, in the barn below there was a full band, a ceremony setup, and reception set up going on right behind us.
Work with natural frames such as doorways, fireplaces, pathways, and so on. Don’t be afraid to move furniture, bags, umbrellas, fire extinguishers- whatever you need to do to make a clean shot! If you have to bring your images in tighter to cut out unsightly things, do it! Get all up close and personal. Light first, background second!
Just take a deep breath and let the area inspire you! Find out if your bride is willing to get out in the elements and work with what you have. Happy shooting!