If you’re photographing a wedding this weekend, chances are that it’s going to be a wet one. Fingers crossed that it won’t be BUT, it’s better to be prepared just in case. Photographing weddings in inclement weather used to mortify me. But after the 2009 wedding season where it seemed as though it rained at every single wedding, I overcame my fear, embraced the weather and made it work.
Here are some of my tips to help you through this wet weekend.
I have a rain kit in my car. When I see that the chances of rain are 20% or above, I just throw the kit in my trunk…just in case. I carry the following:
- 4 clear bubble umbrellas (you can get them at Target). They’re perfect for fitting a bride & groom under or even for the bridal party.
- A couple of towels. I know for a fact that if it’s going to rain, I’m going to get wet. Towels are also great for drying gear off that my get a little wet.
- Speaking of gear…Large ziplock bags that I can stick my camera/lens in. I trim a hole for the lens to peak out. While my gear is water proof, for the most part, I don’t want to get things soaked if I don’t have to. Also, I keep lens switching to a minimum. And, if I do have to switch lenses, I do so in a dry area where no water is going to get into the camera.
- A large, clear shower curtain. If you find yourself in an area that is somewhat muddy or just less than ideal, I’ll put the clear curtain down and then have the bride stand on the bag so that her gown is protected.
- Non-abrasive wipes to wipe down/dry off lenses.
- My rain coat and my rainboots
- A change of clothes. I know that chances are that I’m going to be soaked so I’ll bring a change of clothes to change into before the next portion of the day.
The week of a wedding I’m constantly checking the weather radar (multiple radars, at that) and I have a conversation with my couples in order to prepare them and develop a rain plan. I’ll ask them to obtain umbrellas (one for every two people)…preferably all matching…especially if they have a large bridal party since I only have 4 clear umbrellas. I’ll ask the couple if they have rain boots…if so, bring them. That way, they can be worn under gowns and nice formal shoes don’t have to get ruined. I’ll ask the bride to have her dress bustled before portraits so that her train isn’t getting wet or dirty. I also discuss alternate locations for pictures.
When I know it’s going to rain, I show up at least an hour ahead of time to scout locations. I’m looking for locations with good natural light within the venue first. However, when that’s not possible, I’ll look for locations outside. Places like covered porches, college campuses, public libraries, just large empty-ish locations where I can gather with the bridal party & the couple for portraits are ideal. In Philadelphia, good places are The Free Library, The Art Museum has a fabulous overhang, the Convention Center, Dillworth Plaza, City Hall, The Rodin Museum…just to name a few. Again, I know that I’m probably going to get wet but I can at least keep my couple and their bridal party dry. You can also just get creative with the rain…if it’s not too crazy.
I’ll watch the radar throughout the day and if I see that there are going to be patches throughout the day where the rain is going to stop, I’ll ask my couple if they would like to go out for a quick set of portraits. If you chat with them ahead of time and discuss this option with them, chances are that they’re be thrilled with the opportunity.
There’s nothing worse than a frazzled photographer on a wedding day. It just makes everyone else frazzled. If you stay positive and have things under control, things will move more efficiently and everyone will remain calm and cheerful. Remember, never, ever, let them see you sweat!
Most of all, embrace it…you’re going to have to perform your job no matter what! The weather is a part of your couples’ wedding story…so, tell it! Be prepared. And, have fun. You’ve got this!
This picture is probably one of my favorites from a “rainy” wedding. I took the bridal party into the bar of the hotel for pictures and after I shot the picture noticed that Hurricane Irene had photobombed the picture. The drive home from that wedding was a bit intense.