A few days ago the title of this blog would have been Photograph in the Rain? with emphasis on the question mark. I am here to tell you today that yes indeed, you should photograph in the rain.
While I was a student at The Pennsylvania State University in the mountains of State College, PA (where the weather is colloquially considered bipolar at the very least- see below), I became heavily invested in senior portrait photography. While I advertised for sessions in both the Fall and Spring semesters, over 90% of my sessions took place in April which is Pennsylvania's wettest month.
I worked rain dates into my scheduling- my availability calendar intentionally omitted some dates that I really was available so I can make up a rained out session. If the forecast looked like it could rain (probability of precipitation 'POPs' > 50%), I warned my clients 24-48 hours in advanced. If the forecast still called for rain the night before a 6am session, I was not afraid to postpone. Had I followed my precedent on May 4, I would not have captured those amazing images of Quinci all because there was a chance of rain.
This experience began to change my mind about photographing on rainy days. My dad always says "Make hay while the sun's shining." Don't waste an opportunity to do something great. The semester was winding down by this time and I had a very limited number of sessions left to take senior portraits. Enter: the great Nicole Martinelli.
This day featured 30-40mph winds and intermittent showers. The winds were so strong, I joked that we didn't even need a model fan to get dramatic hair blowing action. The clouds were moving so fast that one minute it would be sunny, the next cloudy, and the third a sun shower. Thankfully we shot through this weather and got some great results. I motivated Nicole by telling her 2 days from now when she looks at this portrait, she'll never see or remember the strong winds or freak showers.
[Warning: Rabbit Trail. When writing this blog, I chose this image with a distracting businessman in the background because I think it tells a great story. The subject of the image, Nicole, has just graduated but the man behind her toting a briefcase represents the business world, which is where she is heading. /end rabbit trail/]
Flash forward to this weekend. I was fortunate enough to photograph Victoria Hawkins's amazing graduation party at Dukes on the waterfront in Wormleysburg (aka Harrisburg), Pennsylvania. The party was inside but we snuck outside afterwards to take advantage of the lovely scenery: the Susquehanna River. We were getting some amazing shots along the river but as 10 minutes elapsed, the skies opened up. Victoria and her friend Alexus both had their hair and makeup done and had on elegant rompers but insisted on continuing to shoot in the deluge, and for that, I am thankful. See below images with descriptions.
Photographers are not in control of the weather and I have found that I am glad I'm not because I have gotten some great results on days that seem less than favorable on paper. Getting out there and shooting through it not only challenges you to work in different conditions, but for me, it has helped produce great images. I've been very fortunate to have understanding clients that are willing to work through just about anything (especially Tori and Alexus). So make hay even if the sun isn't shining.