Wet wedding photography tips
How to navigate your wedding photos in the rain
Worried wet weather will spoil your wedding photos? Or, at the very least, guarantee you sing “It’s like raaaaain on your wedding daaaay” in your mind on repeat all day? Fret not. I’m here to reassure you that rain won’t ruin your wedding photos! Here’s how you can find the silver lining in rainy wedding photos.
Rain, rain, don’t go away
Unpopular opinion: Rain is fun. Sure, we’re slightly overdosed on the rainy fun here in the UK … But racing raindrops down windows? Giving your Hunters a run for their money? Sitting back while nature waters your garden? Fun.
Even my doggos – Daisy and Poppy – are huge fans of rain. No matter what mood I’m in, the sight of them unapologetically bellyflopping into puddles never fails to put a smile on my face. And they love the handy sipping source when they get thirsty on adventures. Win-win!
And truth be told, even though a boat and a wetsuit would be wise equipment choices to shoot some of my weddings, I actually love photographing wet weddings!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a staunch storm chaser. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love to snuggle under a blanket with my pups and a mug of mint tea, and listen to the rain hammer on the roof windows
as much as more than the next person. And of course, I wish only the best for my couples for their wedding day.
It’s just that from a photography perspective, the weather plays a potent part in telling the story. It’s a big element of any wedding day, and interesting weather makes for unique photos.
When I first started working as a wedding photographer, I followed the weather forecasts like they were going out of fashion. Now, not so much. Because my couples have taught me that rain definitely doesn’t spoil your wedding. Of all the wet weddings I’ve shot, none were any less amazing for the rain. If anything, the rain made them even more amazing.
Eight reasons to smile if it rains on your wedding day
Sure, there’s an element of BYO bravery to venturing outside on a wet day – and especially on your wedding day. But believe me: Photography favours the brave!
See, rain brings unique creative opportunities for your photography that you can’t get with any other weather.
So if it rains on your wedding day, rejoice! ‘Cause it means you get …
- Fab shoe shots as you hold up your train
- Added pops of personality from your guests’ umbrellas of choice
- Stormy skies – which give your photos extra depth and interest
- Striking reflections in puddles
- Extra good care as everyone fetches and holds umbrellas over you
- Vibrant colours. The grass will – quite literally – be greener
- All the laughter as your guests dash about and dodge the puddles – only to be caught in the act by your photographer
Yep, rain on your wedding day isn’t ironic; it’s iconic.
Besides, experience has taught me two things:
- Always eat chocolate digestives two at a time, back-to-back, with both chocolate sides in the middle. That way, you don’t get chocolate-y fingers.
- You can still get great wedding photos on a rainy day.
The reality of shooting a wet wedding
One of the most common questions I get from my couples is: “What will happen if it rains?” And my reply is always the same: “We’ll carry on.”
This is the UK. Rain happens. But on a practical level, most of your wedding photos aren’t dependent on the weather. Yep, read that again. Rain (nor wind or cold) won’t prevent you from getting stunning wedding photos.
Getting ready, ceremony, meal, speeches, dancing – all this will usually be undercover no matter the weather. There’s always an indoor reception space. Ok, you might struggle to get a confetti shot [link to article] because the first ones in line will be soaked through to the bone by the time the last ones are in place … but other than that it’s only the group and portrait shots you’d normally want to do outside. And those shots are just a small part of your day.
So, whilst I could do without the ick-factor of my feet squelching in my shoes and the havoc with my hair, it actually makes very little difference to me. Most of the day, I’ll be capturing natural moments, so I’ll be wherever you and your guests are. And when it comes to your group and portrait shots, we’ll simply be flexible over when and where we do them (more on that in a min). Other than that? It’s business as normal.
But I don’t mean that in a stoic sense. I mean it in an: “It’s all under control” sense. It takes a team to tango in the rain. And together, we’ll turn your wet wedding into the opportunity to capture some one-of-a-kind wedding photos.
So, how exactly can we make sure a wet wedding doesn’t get in the way of great wedding photos?
10 tips for wet wedding photography
1. Plan early
Ideally, think about wet weather options at the start of your wedding planning journey. Because you might be stuck inside, so it’s best to bear this in mind when you choose your venue. Make sure you’re happy with the spaces available for family photos and couple portraits if it’s wet.
For groups: You’ll want a bright space (good photos need good light) that’s also attractive (for a pretty background) and separate (so everyone can hear the photographer and there are no photo bombers) but close to where your drinks reception is (so you don’t waste precious time moving guests around). Which, okay, sounds a lot. So, also be mindful about what’s possible in the space you have.
For portraits: Keep an eye out for nooks and crannies big enough for two. But bear in mind that unless you have a venue with exclusive use, there may be restrictions on where we can go.
2. Be realistic
Hope for the best, by all means. But don’t ignore the possibility of rain. Before your wedding, we’ll collaborate and create a flexible wet weather plan so come the day, you can concentrate on having fun, safe in the knowledge that your photography will flow with ease and the photos will be great no matter what the weather throws at us.
Make like the Beatles and let it be. You can’t control the weather and I promise rain won’t spoil your photos … but the grumps might. As long as you’ve followed step two above, you’ll have a great time – rain, hail, or shine.
4. Make sure your photographer is wet-weather friendly
Don’t be afraid to:
- Ask for their wet weather plan – because yep, they should have one
- Sound out how they’ll manage group photos and couple portraits if it rains
- Check how they work around rain to still get everything their couples want
- Ask if there’s anything they’ll need from you, your ushers, or your venue
Then, ask to see a complete set of wet wedding photos. Anyone can fluke one or two good rainy pictures. But is their whole set consistently frame-worthy? Have they got stuck in and photographed outside when guests were outside? Have they exploited the rain and used it to tell the story of the day? Your photographer’s rainy wedding photos should be just as exciting as their fair-weather photos.
5. Buy or borrow some pretty umbrellas
With wet weddings, it’s inevitable that umbrellas will make a guest appearance. So let’s use them to our advantage!
The best wedding umbrellas are:
- Clear – they’re not distracting, don’t reflect wacky colours onto your skin, and your faces show through them
- BIG. The bigger the better for staying dry and cuddling under
- Plentiful. Because guests often forget. (If you’re worried about what to do with them after, pay it forward and pass them onto the next person you know getting married.)
6. Work your ushers
You can reward them later. On the day, you own them ;) Give them an extra-large brolly, and ask them to act as your wet weather guardians for the day. They can hold an umbrella to keep you dry, carry a pair of wellies to protect your feet, and look after your coat so you’re warm between shots.
7. Be flexible
It’s rare for it to pour all day, but if you have your heart set on outdoor photos, you’ll need to keep an open mind and be flexible about when we do them. If storm clouds are looming, we might have to bring your photo time forward. Or if it’s pouring down, we might have to wait it out and see if it dries up. Also, be prepared to drop what you’re doing and move quickly if it stops raining, so we can get all your photos done before it rains again.
8. Limit your group photos
Ideally, keep the size of your groups small enough to fit the inside space you have. Which is usually up to eight people per group for most venues. If the space is small, you might want to limit your group numbers even more. “But, Sarah, ten people will totally fit in this room!” Okay, but fitting people in a room is very different from arranging them so you can see everyone and for your photographer to stand far enough back that you actually get a photo without someone cut off.
9. Trust your photographer
If they say you need a smaller group, you need a smaller group. If they guide you towards a doorway or a window during your couple pics, trust they’ve spotted some magical lighting that’s going to look amazing in your photos. Trust.
10. If there’s a rainbow … run!
Rainbows don’t last long, so make the most of it and soak up the magic while you can.