Navigating the Weather :: The Inside Scoop


Sunny days, and what most consider "the perfect weather" are awesome, but some weather hiccups can actually create a beautiful challenge and push creative boundaries. Kristin and Alex asked if we should reschedule, since we were going to have around 12-20 mph winds. I said, nope. Definitely not! The result? Some of my absolute favorite shots were born on a day where we tried not to blow away. Check out Kristin and Alex's windy session shots, and some weather planning inside scoop below :)



My rule of thumb for navigating the weather is to "wait it out". Weather forecast are generally pretty inaccurate far out, so, Russian-Roulette-style, we basically have a 50/50 chance of getting lucky. Once we get to the ‘day before’ / ‘morning of’ timeframe, we have access to the hourly forecast, the radar app, and we can go from there. 

I generally reserve session reschedules for really nasty weather. If it's your Engagement session we're talking about, it's really fun to "work with whatever the day brings", especially since come what may, the Wedding Day will NOT be getting rescheduled due to a 15% chance or wind, so dreading the weather is entirely unnecessary. With a bit of planning (umbrellas? clear umbrellas? change of shoes?), going with the flow, and being up for some gusty or misty play, fun and unique shots are born (rain, shine, or snow). If you're up for it, let's do it! You might be surprised by how much fun it is to be spontaneous, since as adults we often start getting a bit too ‘responsible’ and ‘set in our ways’, it’s fun to unleash that ‘kid’ side of you and have fun no matter what!

We do not reschedule if it is to be gusty. I actually absolutely LOVE windy sessions!! (Kristin and Alex's photos are proof why!) Wind creates motion, and adds a sprinkle of flavor to any pose. There is one caveat, though, you have to come ready to "flirt with the wind". Let go of the 'every hair in the right place and direction' idea, wear lipstick instead of lipgloss, possibly bring a hat and even a hair-tie, and let the wind direct the dance. It's actually really fun once you get into it.  

Rain can be kinda fun too! Nothing spells romance like cuddling up under a cute umbrella. You could go for fun and natural shots, running through puddles with colorful rain boots and coats on. Or, if you are really adventurous and into the sultry editorial flavor -- getting soaked and sprinkled on together -- now that is truly sexy! It takes a special kind of couple to pull this one off, though -- you know who you are ;) 

Practically speaking - In order to maximize inclement weather fun, here are some tips:

  • If It’s cold, plan on leaving your car running in the parking lot, in case we need to jump in and warm up (I can do that as well if we pre-arrange. Thank God for remote start!)

  • Bring a change of clothes (especially shoes and socks), so you can warm up on the way home (much nicer to drive home dry)

  • Bring an umbrella (clear or otherwise) if it looks like snow or rain, it doubles as something to hold if you don’t know what to do with your hands ;)

  • Bring a blanket that's good in the rain - running / cuddling up with heads under the blanket shots are just darling!

  • Dress for success - awesome rain coats where you can throw the hoods on are golden! Wear rain boots (Hunters) or Sorels, dress warm, layer.

  • If you have access to a fun car / old van / a camper (airstream anyone?) - let me know! Possibilities are endless! (rain or shine ;)) An SUV with the trunk door up, blankets, hot chocolate - spells cozy times and super cute shots, and doubles as rain / snow cover

  • Alternative? — See if we can move your session to your house! Indoor / at-home engagements are just about my fav!

  • And, don’t worry if it’s really pouring (aka nasty weather without any charm to it) we’ll reschedule. So, don’t stress!

If you're really not up for shooting in the rain, and sprinkly fun doesn't sound like fun at all, let me know and we'll find another day. 

For weddings, I generally check the weather a couple days ahead, and if it looks like we might have a chance of rain I suggest a last minute umbrella run (1 umbrella per couple, not per person, if you're getting a wedding party head count). Extras might be nice just for general need of umbrella, but those don't have to coordinate. 

If you're getting married in the winter, plan on dressing for the cold, it likely will be. I suggest leggings under the dresses, cute fur parkas or thick shawls (cute plaid anyone??), UGGs or boots, fingerless gloves or mittens, a flask of Fireball to warm up with, a change of shoes if needed, etc. Umbrellas are also awesome for rain or snow (picture a dusting of snow on those clear domes - darling!!). I highly recommend clear umbrellas (Tote brand, domes) if possible (they don’t block the light). Otherwise grey with white polka dots, black, etc. will do — stay away from red / pink UNLESS you’re trying to really highlight that color. Reds / pinks tend to mess with skin tones.

When booking a wedding in the "iffy months" (November / Winter) - consider that if it's really nasty outside we will be forced indoor for the majority of the pictures. Pick a venue that's picture-perfect, or as close as you can get, to be on the safe side.  I’m good, but I’m not a magician… I’d honestly prefer shooting an outdoor wedding in the rain, with a crowd of umbrellas in the audience than a safe VFW. ;) Cuz, you know… ambiance.

I give some leeway to families with kids when it comes to weather. For some families it's really hard to have fun with the kids (plural) when it's sprinkling outside, or if it's really exceptionally windy (30-40 MPH winds). Fighting the umbrellas while trying to wrangle a coupe of toddlers gets tricky… I do still recommend we wait it out till the day before / morning of, to get a more accurate forecast idea, but if the weather is looking hinky, we get in touch and find another date. The whole point is to induce play, and if you have your hands too full with too many things it’s too distracting to work with.

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  • CONFESSION - I SECRETLY WISH FOR A CLOUDY WEDDING DAY - Sorry, I know you have visions of 'gorgeous and sunny', but I (and everyone else wielding a camera) wants overcast. Why? On a sunny day when the light is super bright we have to worry about harsh shadows (ex. Dracula shadows under the eyes), blown out backgrounds, people squinting, and the non-flattering streaky kind of lens flair. A dark background or good type of shade is sometimes hard to come by when shooting all day long, and there are less options overall for the right light + background combo at High Noon. On a cloudy day we have more options of where to go, the light is perfect, colors pop, and things are overall easier to work with. So, relax -- if your wedding day is overcast, that's actually perfection!!
    *** Sessions - if the day is looking totally cloudy, we can shoot all day! The light is even, so it doesn’t matter what time we meet up. So, if you have some flexibility in schedule, get in touch and we can start earlier :)

  • THE GOLDEN HOUR = MAGIC - i.e.: The 1 hour before sunset, up until sunset time - it's absolutely dreamy! On most sunny days (or post-rain evenings) as the sun is setting the light gets more golden, soft, directional, it's easier to work with, and flattering. The golden hours is where most photographers camp out for life, with undying devotion for the almighty magical lens flair.
    *** PS. Technically the 1.5-1 hour before Sunrise is another Golden Hour option, but I've been hard-pressed finding people up for photos at 5am-ish ;)

  • NO GOLDEN HOUR? NO PROBLEM! - On cloudy or overcast days the sun might not set in its usual golden ways, but that's not a bad thing. As mentioned above - if it's cloudy, the light is perfect all day, so we can shoot anytime with flattering light.
    *** NOTE - If the day is unusually dark, we might just want to start early (or on wedding days push up the “sunset photos”), so we don't run out of daylight. When in doubt, check in with me, I'm always paying attention to how things are progressing weather- and light-, and timeline-wise.

  • THE PERFECT INDOOR LIGHT = MORNINGS!!! - There is a reason why newborn sessions, getting ready shots, cafe e-sessions, and any photos indoor take place in the morning --- the light is even! Later on the rays start peeking right into the windows, making things hard to work with in certain parts of the house, but mornings are perfect for indoor or at-home sessions.
    *** I will say I throw in an exception into this statement - my house for example has amazing light at 2pm in the living room! It comes in, back-lights the couch, and in other parts of the house I get a bit of shadows for the blinds which makes for really artful and editorial type of shots. If your hours has magical light at a specific time in the day, let me know! :)

  • IF WE GET REALLY LUCKY, WE GET FOG - People in love surrounded by bluffs and fog. There's something sultry and mysterious about it. I'm totally crazy about fog, and it's one reward for going with a misty sesh - if we get lucky, there might just be that silvery fog, and that’s just one of a kind type of photos we can’t really plan on. That’s purely a reward for the adventurous (and, generally morning birds, since fog tends to dissipate as the day goes on)

That's All Folks!

Hope this helps take some mystery out of the weather and light, and how to plan for it all!! --- Ester