When it comes to photographing rainy wedding days, my mantra is: don’t stress. The weather is one thing that is completely out of our control, but if you take the time to plan and prepare, you can make even the rainiest wedding photos some of the most romantic and timeless. Here are five tips for photographing rainy wedding days.
- Stay positive. Yes, we attend weddings to document the day, but from a broader perspective, we are there to serve our brides and grooms well. As wedding photographers it is part of our job to spread joy (not stress!) especially at the times when things don’t happen as initially planned. We’ve all heard that a smile goes a long way, and that is never more true than on a rainy wedding day. It’s going to be a lot of work. You’ll probably going to step right into a few mud puddles, your hair is going to frizz, and the fast pace of changing plans will definitely keep you on your toes! However, when your brides see just how much thought, effort, and skill you put into making their day the absolute best it can be, they just might forget about the rain and instead be filled in gratitude.
- Bring your rainy day essentials. There are a few must-have rainy day items that I encourage every wedding photographer to invest in. Clear, plastic bubble umbrellas are at the top of my list. The dome shape keeps my brides and grooms dry and the transparency allows we to capture them as they huddle underneath! Colored umbrellas can cast shadows or reflect colors onto you couple, so I recommend sticking with clear! I bring a minimum of two to every single wedding (just in case!) and suggest purchasing a handful of them to have for bridal party and family photos. I love these umbrellas by Totes, but there are several options out there – I’ve recently seen some at Target and HomeGoods! Plastic camera covers are next on my list. Most professional camera bodies and lenses are water resistant, but not completely waterproof. Be sure to bring your raincoat as well as rain covers for your camera bags and at least one that fits over your camera body and largest lens! Shooting while using your lens hood will help keep those pesky rain droplets off of your lense, but always keep a soft microfiber cloth handy in case you need to wipe your lens clean!
- Create a new plan. On any wedding day that might be touched by rain, I plan to arrive extra early. I’m talking at least 30 minutes early. This gives me the chance to say hello to the bride, chat with her planner, and scope out the venue for backup photo locations. Taking this extra time to plan and prepare begins the day on a calm, stress-free note that is beneficial for everyone. It also shows my brides, groom, and their families that taking care of them is the highest priority. Ahead of time, I’ll ask my brides which of the family photos are absolutely essential to capture formally and which can wait to be grabbed at the reception. Rainy wedding days tend to move a bit more slowly and things tend to take up a bit more time. Arriving with positivity, offering your backup plan, and setting those expectations early can give you room to breathe and the ability to stick to your timeline.
- Seek natural light. This will be a HUGE part of crafting your backup plan. You know I’m a girl who loves natural light, so when I look for photo locations that will work with the rain lighting is at the forefront of my mind. I love outdoor covered options like porches and covered doorways. Wedding venues, churches, and older historic homes and buildings usually offer some kind of covered outdoor option. If not, you can search indoors for a space with large windows to give your images the air of natural lighting.
- Don’t wait. Even if it starts pouring just as you are about to start outdoor bridal party photos, don’t wait around for the rain to stop. It’s much better to find a way to continue shooting. Whether that be moving indoors or utilizing those umbrellas, if the rain doesn’t let up, at least you’ll walk away with those beautiful images. You can always head back outside to re-shoot any images you’d like if the rain stops later in the day, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!