Rain, Hail or Shine

Rain, Hail or Shine

You’ve hired the perfect photographer, you’ve picked a beautiful wedding venue and you’re really excited to capture beautiful photos from the day – then the weather changes. Whether there’s downpour or extreme heat, the weather doesn’t have to ruin your wedding photography. Georgia Jordan investigates ways to work around difficult weather conditions and still capture amazing photos.

While you can control almost every aspect of your wedding day – from the detailing on the place cards to the cocktails that will be enjoyed – you can’t control the weather. However, this needn’t cause worry for even the most particular bride, because unexpected weather can only ruin your wedding day if you let it. In fact, with some solid preparation you can even work challenging weather to your advantage and achieve extraordinary wedding photos, come rain or shine.

Steal My Sunshine

While many brides cross their fingers for fine weather, overcast is actually ideal photography weather, as bright sun creates harsh shadows and can make the subject squint, while clouds create soft and even light, and always look beautiful in photos.

In reality, unruly weather can be used to your advantage. Not only do many cultures actually consider rain on a wedding day to bring good luck, but any experienced photographer will attest that some of the most stunning wedding photos they’ve ever captured have taken place in extreme weather.

Mist will create a magical effect, while a blustery wind will make a veil dance. A cloudless, flat- blue sky is far less interesting than threatening storm clouds, which always form a dramatic yet breathtaking backdrop.

While an intensely bright and sunny day can make colours appear washed-out and flat, rain brings with it romantic reflections and puddles that create a dewy fairytale effect. It even makes skin glow! By decorating all things with sparkling droplets and making leaves look glossy and rich, rain will make a forest or garden shoot look beautifully fresh and vibrant.

Lighting can be used at a night shoot to illuminate raindrops and achieve a unique, majestic shot.

Preparation Is Key

It’s important for any bride to be fully present on her wedding day. There’s no reason to allow unexpected weather to steal your thunder, and burgeoning grey clouds never deserve to steal a bride’s attention away from her groom, friends and family.

With a solid ‘Plan B’ in place, you’ll feel secure in the knowledge that even if there’s a spot of rain or a torrential downpour, you won’t be stuck in the mud.

The Perfect Location

Outdoor shoots are popular for their picturesque quality, which is why couples often head to the beach, a garden or the countryside to have their wedding photos taken. However, these locations may not be ideal if the weather turns.

It’s a good idea to check the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather report in the week leading up to your wedding and prepare accordingly, keeping in mind that you will likely be taken by surprise.

It’s beneficial to select a local photographer who’ll be able to suggest outdoor locations that are perfect for wet-weather photography and include easily accessible shelter, such as a bridge, a rotunda or a great tree. A venue with various open and undercover spaces will be especially convenient in the case of oppressive sun or sporadic showers, which you may need to seek refuge from.

Visit some of the suggested locations yourself to see if you like them, and schedule a longer session if rain is forecast so that during the shoot you can wait under shelter until the perfect moment to venture into the open, without feeling pressed for time.

For an urban wedding, an overpass is a great wet-weather location. Most photographers use weather-sealed equipment that won’t be affected by light rain or mist, so they can leave the newlyweds safely dry undercover and venture out to photograph them through the rain.

Heavy rain will make an outdoor shoot extremely challenging, as it can damage photography equipment and will almost certainly leave you and your groom drenched to the bone by the end! If there’s a chance of a downpour, seek an outdoor location with reliable shelter or book an alternative indoor venue, such as a beautiful country chapel, a library, an art gallery, a historic house or a barrel room at a vineyard.

Even if the fine weather holds, the cost will be well worth the peace of mind. You can always head to the indoor location after the main outdoor shoot to capture a variety of different photos for your wedding album.

Pack Smart

Prepare for a summer wedding with insect repellant, sunscreen and plenty of water. With these on hand, you won’t be distracted or uncomfortable during your shoot.

If rain is forecast and there’s a chance things could get muddy on location, pack a pair of gumboots! Whether you pick up an inexpensive pair from Kmart or invest in some gorgeous designer boots, these will keep your wedding shoes in good nick for the evening celebrations.

Umbrellas are another indispensable wet-weather solution. While many photographers will always store some in their car as a backup, it’s a good idea to discuss with your photographer beforehand which style you prefer. You can’t go wrong with several large clear umbrellas that don’t have prints or logos, as these let in light and reduce facial shadows. However, a rainbow of vibrant umbrellas will always be photogenic if your wedding theme is bold, festive and colourful.

If you have your heart set on an outdoor shoot and rain or strong winds are forecast, consider pulling your hair back into an elegant bun for the day, and bring along extra hairspray and bobby pins. A removable veil is also a good idea to keep your options open.

Stay on Cloud Nine

Extreme weather conditions pose varying challenges to the people on either side of the lens. A professional wedding photographer will be well worth their weight in gold when the weather throws a curveball. With years of experience and knowledge under their belt, they will be able to keep a cool head and help to calm a stressful situation.

That said, the success or failure of the final images rests equally upon your shoulders, so try not to rain on your own parade. Maintaining a positive attitude when the weather turns will only make it easier for the photographer to adapt successfully and deliver incredible photos.

Remember that the unpredictable nature of weather can be a valuable lesson in relinquishing control, and appreciating the creativity and delight that spontaneity brings. Having a solid ‘Plan B’ in place will make adapting to unexpected weather a breeze and reduce stress on the day.

When you receive those stunning windswept, sun-kissed or phosphorescent final images, you’ll have photographic evidence that every cloud has a silver lining!