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What to do if it rains - a guide to wet weather photography

Issy has written a guide to wet weather photography including ideas if it rains on the day of your family portrait sessions or indeed on your wedding day.

What to do if it Rains

It runs down window panes, you shield yourself from it with an umbrella and when it’s done you jump into its puddles: yes, it is rain. Rain is beautiful on those Sundays when all you want is a book for company and a cup of tea, but trust me when you have a portraiture session outside to shoot you will definitely not feel the same glee as you do on the cosy Sundays. However, the weather doesn’t have to ruin your photoshoots; In fact it can make them in some cases. To insure your photos are amazing despite whatever wicked atrocity’s the weather may bring you must plan. I know it sounds painful but it is surprisingly easy. 

Check the Weather 

Check the weather forecast beforehand so that you can either come up with a backup plan of where to go if it does rain, or so that you can postpone the shoot to another day. If the likelihood of rain is between 50-60% then give the client an opportunity to rearrange but if they don’t want to and would like to chance it then make sure to come up with a wet weather plan. Although, if the likelihood of rain is more than 60% I would suggest calling off the photoshoot and rearranging it for another day. 

Wet Weather ideas

If you’re going to chance the weather then you will definitely need a ‘just-in-case’ location for in case the worst happens and the skies open. The key to choosing a great indoor location is the lighting. Try to find somewhere where there is a lot of light or you know that you can position your client next to a window. A crucial thing you must do before you shoot in any indoor location is ask permission, as you don’t want to arrive at a location and be told you’re not allowed to shoot in there. Also, it’s just a polite gesture, which many places appreciate. Some indoor ideas are:

  • Sweet shops- Children’s portraits are a really good to take in a sweet shop, as you can capture their initial reaction and also take photos of the children hiding behind the jars, trying sour sweets or looking at the sweets longingly. 
  • Café and coffee shops- this can be a great location for taking couple shoots or to take friends groups shoot, as it can be quite nice to just photograph the group very naturally just laughing over a cup of coffee together. 
  • Wineries or cellars- if you have a couple who are passionate about wine then this can be a great place to take some couple shots.
  • Bars or restaurants-They’re perfect for couples, especially if they met or had a first date in a bar or restaurant as you could go back to that restaurant or bar and photograph them. This is a great idea for an engagement shoot.  
  • Inside vehicles- this is a good location for male portraits and for couples if they really like their car or they have a really interesting car. Also, rolling raindrops down the windows can actually add to these photos and create a very romantic and intimate feel. If you do choose to shoot in a car then experiment with angles by using the cars mirrors.
  • Shopping Centre- the escalators in shopping centres can be an interesting feature to experiment with, you could have people going down at different intervals, in opposite ways or just goofing around. Teenage girl groups are great to shoot here as well as couple shots.
  • Zoo and Aquarium- a great place to take children’s portraits but if the couple is up for it then you can get some really rather exciting couple photos in here as well. 
  • Arcade- great for groups of friends and couple shots as you can capture people genuinely enjoying themselves and having fun.
  • In their house or apartment- Perfect for couples if you want to capture a more documentary style photograph. You could have the couple do general things like making the dinner together or putting on bed sheets and ending up playfully hitting one another with pillows. 


Embrace the wet weather. 

An alternative is to ask your client to come wearing wet weather gear and take some rainy action shots. This works really well with little children, as you can capture them jumping in muddy puddles and playing with umbrellas. Although, for this type of shoot you do not want it to be torrential rain or freezing cold, as being cold and soaking wet is never fun. 

Couple shots also work well, as you can capture kissing behind umbrella shots, or close up portraits of the couple with the rain running down their face, you know like we’ve all seen in every cliché romance film (but warning this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if they have spent ages on their hair and makeup). Another idea is to create a reflective portrait in a puddle and if the couple would like to include their dog in the shot then you could have the dog gazing into the puddle or looking into the camera next to the puddle. For this shot I would recommend taking two photos, one focused on the couple and the other on the dog and then overlaying them when you edit the photographs.  

Never again will you have to worry about what to do when a shoot is approaching and it is predicted to rain, as all you will need to do is use one of the indoor ideas to get those amazing shots. 


To chat more about your forthcoming wedding or family portrait session, please email kathryn@capturethismoment.co.uk

Pre wedding session, Symonds Yat 

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