I recently was in a great debate with a friend about whether Pittsburgh is rainier than Seattle. Initially, I thought that there was no way in heck that any other place in the United States could come close to Seattle’s reputation for being rainy, dreary, and overcast. But, as it turns out, Pittsburgh is only 9 days shy of having just as many precipitation days as Seattle (Seattle having 155, Pittsburgh having 146 – source). With 146 rainy (or snowy) Pittsburgh days, a couple of precipitation days are bound to fall on a wedding day now and again. So, what do you do if there is a chance of rain on YOUR wedding day? Or if you’re a wedding photographer, how do you go about finding locations to accommodate for the rain? Here are my top 5 tips for accommodating for rain on a wedding day:
1. Look for coverage.
In case of rain on a wedding day, it’s helpful to know if there is any large space to shield a bridal party from the rain. This could include: porches, park pavilions, bridges, doorframes, garages, or the like. Some of my personal favorite photos have been taken in spite of the weather - check out a few shots below that were all taken under coverage!
2. Have a secondary indoor location on stand-by.
If there’s a chance of rain on a wedding day, I always like to try and have a secondary photo location or a section of the church or reception hall where indoor photos can be taken. When looking for an indoor location for photos, take into consideration the amount of natural light in the building or room. Will the photographer need to bring artificial light? If you’re a bride, be sure your photographer has ideas for naturally lit spaces or can rock some off camera flash in case of a rain out!
3. Bring umbrellas!
The second wedding I ever photographed called for a 100% chance of rain – which scared the crap out of me, because at that point in my career, I wasn’t very comfortable shooting with artificial light (which, thankfully, has totally changed)! So, the night before the wedding, I went out and bought $100 worth of clear, see through umbrellas. Now, I bring those same umbrellas to every single wedding I photograph (yes, even if there’s no chance of rain) - just in case! I’ve only needed to use them a handful of times, but when I’m in a pinch and don’t have an overhang or secondary location to take bridal party and bride & groom portraits, my umbrellas always save the day!
4. Order camera rain gear.
This tip is specifically for photographers – a few years ago, I found out that some kind soul created rain gear for cameras! (Before that point, I used to wrap my camera in Giant Eagle bags – classy, I know!) I’ve heard horror stories of many a DSLR and lens meeting its demise during a hectic wedding day due to water logging. Be sure to protect your camera in some fashion or form, whether it be with a “cost effective” method of wrapping trash bags around your gear, or with some fancy rain gear (here’s a link to a pack of cheap camera covers).
5. Embrace it!
There's something truly beautiful about embracing and finding joy in whatever circumstances are sent your way. As they say, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." This is especially true on a wedding day! If you're feeling brave, embrace that rain and use it to as a springboard to create something beautiful.
What are your best tips for dealing with rain on a wedding day? Leave a comment below!