Reflections : Photographing a Wedding in the Rain


Being a wedding photographer in California has its perks, namely the weather. Heck, I’ll just come out and say I’m spoiled with year-round sunny goodness…with the exception of this month. For some reason, fall hit Californians with unusual rain and everyone had to make last-minute changes to their weddings…except K+J. They decided–regardless of the weather–they were going to have their Pelican Hill wedding outdoors. In the rain.

K+J dreamed of marrying under the Rotunda at Pelican Hill, so their creative team made it work the best we could (special thanks to Katie+Meg of Intertwined Events!). Because we knew it was going to rain, we made proper accommodations in advance. So this is what this post is about: photographing a wedding in the rain. Sure, I’ve done this only once, but here’s a few things I learned along the way for a Reflections Post

1. Carry what you need (you will not have the luxury of keeping gear off to the side).
It was pouring during the wedding ceremony, but the Rotunda provided just enough protection…and I stood behind a pillar most of the time. I’m a great hider…but my camera? Needs some practice. (pee ess, this is a joke…of the many photos JD captured, this was the only where I’m showing…we’ve learned to shoot around each other after all these years together!)

2. Buy a collapsable umbrella with a latch/string that can tie easily to the camera bag you’re carrying.
Like I mentioned before, I stood behind a pillar so guests couldn’t see me, but JD shot from the side for a bit and made sure I was in the frame so I could complain about it later. Ellie (my assistant) stood off to the side in the rain with an extra large umbrella and when I was done in this position, we ran to the end of the aisle for the First Kiss and Recessional.

3. Bring an umbrella holder. Why, yes. Yes, this seems so P. Diddy wannabe, but I can’t express how helpful it is to have an assistant. I hired Ellie M. to join me just for the wedding ceremony, but I wish I had her around during the bridal party photos earlier in the day because she provided the latitude I’m used to while shooting. There were times when I had to hold my umbrella, instruct a group during a photo, and photograph simultaneously. While difficult, it’s not impossible…but it was SO nice to have someone over my shoulder allowing me to focus simply on shooting.
4. Have a plan of attack. I spoke with the officiant before the wedding ceremony and he told me the ceremony was condensed to six minutes. Yes, you read that right. Because we had a limited amount of time due to the pouring rain, I told JD where I’d stand and what photos, specifically, I needed from him before the First Kiss. We divided out the ceremony and established where we’d stand for the First Kiss and the Recessional. In six minutes, we photographed the wedding ceremony and I’m so proud of how hard JD worked…especially because he held his own umbrella! 😉
5. Be an educator. Most of time, clients will stress out in the rain. I speak with certainty because it rained on MY wedding day. Besides photographing memories, it’s important to keep smiling and letting clients know what to expect, where they need to be, and when they need to be there. Bad weather throws a lot of curveballs, so be sure you’re a pillar and not a pain.
6. Have a Plan B. And Plan C…and Plan D. Throughout the day, JD and I stayed in contact because things were changing every minute. To avoid stress and miscommunication, we texted every 10-20 minutes to ensure we kept our schedules in sync which in turn kept our clients happy. And happiness is more than I could ask for!

If you have other tips to add that’ll help other photographers shoot on a rainy day, feel free to add them in the comment box. Or you can just say hi. I like making friends on the web. HOLLLLLLA!