Photograph in the Rain.

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. 

STATE COLLEGE BIPOLAR: I was blessed to photograph the lovely Quinci Peri on the morning of May 4, 2017. This photo, taken moments after 8am, shows radiant sunshine and warm colors but no more than 30 minutes later, we were forced to wait out a downpour in my car. It's okay, though, because for an hour we talked about tornado chasing and bagels while sharing dog pics.

STATE COLLEGE BIPOLAR: I was blessed to photograph the lovely Quinci Peri on the morning of May 4, 2017. This photo, taken moments after 8am, shows radiant sunshine and warm colors but no more than 30 minutes later, we were forced to wait out a downpour in my car. It's okay, though, because for an hour we talked about tornado chasing and bagels while sharing dog pics.

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.

Survey: Does this photograph of Nicole remind you of 55 degrees with 30mph winds and showers? I think this is proof that, if done correctly, portraits can hide the real weather and lead the viewer to think the weather was spectacular. But it wasn't, was it Nicole?

Survey: Does this photograph of Nicole remind you of 55 degrees with 30mph winds and showers? I think this is proof that, if done correctly, portraits can hide the real weather and lead the viewer to think the weather was spectacular. But it wasn't, was it Nicole?

[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.

This is when the rain began. It was enough to dampen the ground but clearly not their spirits.

This is when the rain began. It was enough to dampen the ground but clearly not their spirits.

Now it is raining hard enough to cause significant streaking in the image. They say kissing in the rain is super romantic. Thoughts?

Now it is raining hard enough to cause significant streaking in the image. They say kissing in the rain is super romantic. Thoughts?

Here we took refuge under a bridge but the rain drops created a golfball like dimpled surface on the river.

Here we took refuge under a bridge but the rain drops created a golfball like dimpled surface on the river.

Even though the humidity is starting to show in their hair, the wet look only adds to the grunge of this photoshoot.

Even though the humidity is starting to show in their hair, the wet look only adds to the grunge of this photoshoot.

Finally, when the rain was all done, we got this shot in the crosswalk. It would not have been as strong as an image if the roadway was not as reflective from the rain. My architectural photographer suggested we rent water trucks to wet the roads in front of buildings prior to taking the pictures. I can see why.

Finally, when the rain was all done, we got this shot in the crosswalk. It would not have been as strong as an image if the roadway was not as reflective from the rain. My architectural photographer suggested we rent water trucks to wet the roads in front of buildings prior to taking the pictures. I can see why.

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.

 

My Senior Year Photo Challenge: Week 1

This is my final year at Penn State. I don't think I have taken enough pictures here so this is my solution.

I want to remember my senior year in photographs so I pledged to take a photo each day and share it right here. Stay tuned to Photography by Mike Brulo on Facebook to follow along through the school year.

 

 

5 Things You MUST AVOID for Graduation Pictures (at Penn State)

Graduation is just around the corner. The last four plus years are about to come to an end in a matter of weeks. One of the most important things you'll come away with is the memories of college and what better way to preserve those memories than with cap and gown portraits?

Graduation pictures are a super important step to graduating. Take the following into consideration and don't let this opportunity go to waste.

TOP 5 THINGS TO AVOID FOR GRADUATION PICTURES:

1. Don't wait to get them done. If you wait until the end of April, you'll risk not pairing up with the photographer that matches your needs. Also, the length of the lines at the popular places are directly proportional to the temperature. In early April you do not have to wait in long, hot, and humid lines. Also, you'll be much more comfortable in the cooler weather.

2. Don't base your decision purely on price shopping. There's a reason they say you get what you pay for.  Not everybody has a best friend that happens to be a professional photographer. You'll be much happier with the results if you actually look at the work of your photographer. Don't just settle for what is on their website; ask to see more work. Photographers often only upload a selection of what they can do. Make sure they can do what they say they can on your day by asking to see more work. 

3. Don't settle for the cliche locations on campus. Your graduation portraits need to be a continuation of yourself. They must tell a story: the story of your college career. Unless your college days consisted of nothing but posing in front of the lion shrine and old main for pictures, get around to some different places. Take your photographer to the creamery where you drank a hundred milkshakes. Take him to the bar you hung out at the most. Take him to your favorite place to get away. Again, don't settle for status quo.

4.  (ladies) Don't forget to bring a change of shoes. Because of #3, you'll likely do a lot of walking. Not everybody is talented enough to have mastered walking a mile in high heels. You want to be happy during your portrait session, so be comfortable between locations.

5. Don't just do cap and gown pictures. You're hiring a professional photographer to take your pictures. Use him to get pictures beyond just graduation. While you have him booked, have him take some headshots you can use for your professional life. Also, consider bringing your family and dog along for some family shots after you get your cap and gown pics.

Congrats to all the graduating seniors!

Contact me to book your pictures today.

TOP 5 Locations for Engagement Portraits in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Most people think of Hershey, Pa as a place to eat lots of chocolate and ride roller coasters. However, it is a highly sought after location for engagement portraits.

Since Hershey is one of the most popular places in the state for weddings, why not get your engagement portraits done here? Hershey has many unique and timeless portrait locations for two sweethearts.

1. Hotel Hershey

2. Hershey Park

3. Hershey Country Club

4. Historic Acres of Hershey PA

5. The Hershey Factory Stacks

Are you newly engaged with the new year? Contact me to book your engagement and/or wedding pictures.