"It's like rain on your wedding day...."
Now that I have your attention, and a super catchy song stuck in your head, let's talk about rainy day weddings. If you're a photographer, particularly one who generally relies on natural light, a forecast of rain for your next wedding shoot may make you break out into a cold sweat. But never fear! Rainy day weddings can be fun, romantic, and intimate, so hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help you rock that next rainy day wedding with confidence!
PLAN FOR PLAN B
When helping your couples plan their wedding day schedule, their formal shot list, and just generally getting ready for the big day, it's important to stress the importance of a rain day plan! Here are few ways you can help your clients create an inclement weather backup plan they can feel good about!
- If your clients are having their ceremony outside, find out what the inclement weather backup plan is for their venue. Some great things to have them keep in mind are whether the backup plan has enough space for all of their guests (this is often overlooked but really important for everyone's comfort!) and what the lighting is like in the Plan B area during the time of day the ceremony will be taking place
- If you had to do formal family and wedding party photos indoors, would there be enough space for the size groups your client plans on having you photograph? If you're not sure, and it's looking like rain, then it's wise to have your clients make a 'good weather' formal shot list, as well as a 'rain day' formal shot list, to account for the likelihood of more limited space indoors for group shots
- Help your clients build a little flexibility into their wedding day schedule, where possible, to allow you to seize opportunities that may arise for some quick rain-free outdoor pictures in between downpours, or to re-arrange the order of certain non-key events to accommodate changes in weather where needed
THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB
For the photographer that relies primarily on natural light, knowing how to prepare for less than ideal weather conditions can be a little overwhelming. Having the right tools for the job will go a long way to boosting your confidence to handle a variety of 'bad lighting' situations with ease, and allow you to deliver a fantastic final product to your clients!
- Unless you are a strictly natural light photographer, you're going to want to make friends with speedlite flashes. For real, they're a must-have accessory to get you through rainy days, dark rooms, and backlighting shenanigans! They're not as scary as they seem, and there are many wonderful and free tutorials out there , depending on what brand camera you shoot with. If you don't own speedlite flashes, no worries, you can rent! We shoot Canon, so we swear by Canon's 600 EX-RT flashes, with a wireless radio transmitter for tough lighting situations. Stay tuned for a post on quick and easy speedlite setups that work wonders for us in dark or stormy conditions!
- Practice, practice, practice. Even if you don't have a wedding coming up, if you're not yet comfortable with speedlite flashes, rent a setup that you can practice with over the weekend and grab a friend or family member to be your model. Try different rooms, different times of day, and different conditions, and just see what works best for you, so you get really comfortable with a few quick settings that give you good results! If you DO have a wedding coming right up, then it's even more important to rent or purchase a basic speedlite setup so that you can test it out no later than the day before the wedding - you don't want to be learning a brand new piece of equipment at a client's wedding if it is at all humanly possible to avoid
- Unrelated to lighting, but definitely related to inclement weather, make sure you have coverings to protect your camera equipment from too much rain if you plan on shooting outside!
MAKE IT FUN!
Rainy day weddings and inclement weather don't have to be a huge bummer, and in fact, your clients can use it as an opportunity to have unique wedding day photos and just have fun with it!
- Encourage your clients (and their wedding party!) to bring umbrellas, the fancier the better! I personally love the clear umbrellas because of the endless opportunities they present for dreamy and intimate rainy day wedding photos of the couple *insert dreamy heart eyes here*
- Remember that your clients are trusting you not only to be the expert on photography, but also as an expert on weddings in general, so help your clients by being flexible, knowledgeable, and by seeing a rainy wedding day for what it is; something that only adds to the unique love story that your clients have to tell, and will be telling for years to come, with your photographs visual reminder of the most memorable day of their lives!
Remember that just like any other situation you may not have encountered before as a photographer, rainy day weddings are a wonderful opportunity to get creative, and gain new skills! Happy splashing!