Wedding Photography when it Rains

wedding couple with umbrella in the rain at Blythedale BeachIt is RAINING and the Bride is not Happy! We photographers have all been there.. Jip with the last five weddings I have shot down at the coast here in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, it had been raining cats & dogs. Don’t know why. We have just gone through the worst drought in many years in our area and now its raining almost constantly Every Weekend! Good for the farmers. Not so good for countless wedding couples travelling all the way down from Gauteng to have their special day on the beach – under blue skies and perfect weather with the waves gently lapping at their feet…..well that was the plan.

Ok so its raining now and there has to be a few changes of plan. But is it really the end of the world? Surely not. Even with rain one can still get amazing pictures. Firstly what are the options?

If the wedding venue has a nice lounge you can shoot in there. Will not be the beach, but at least it is something! Parking garages believe it or not also make for nice locations (you will have to get a corner though with no cars and some concrete as a backdrop). Most wedding venues have a stunning bedroom or two, and you can use that to do some shots. Or a combination of the three. There might be a nice porch and veranda. Can make great shots with the rain in the background.

The above can all be creative shoot savers, but still it is the beach they want. So can you still do it on the beach. Absolutely. How? With rain there usually is always a window of a few minutes (might be 15 or 5 min) where it stops raining for just a few minutes. Be ready for that, jump in and use it. The cloudy moody sky, water shining of leaves, raindrops with the light behind them, a nice puddle to get a reflection in, or maybe the sun might break through the clouds for just a few minutes may all make for great shots. Use it all!

The rain wont stop…Well use umbrellas as props and as rain deflectors for the shoot. Umbrellas almost always make for cool photos. Black will be best as it mixes with all colours well, but the ideal one in rainy weather would be a plastic see through umbrella as it lets light through.

As a photographer you would probably have to raise your ISO even up to as high as 800 to compensate for the dark cloud conditions. Don’t be scared to do it. You can even go to as high as 3200 with a professional body like a Canon 5D3 or equivalent Nikon. These cameras were made for this. Use fill in flash, but also shoot as is. Watch your shutter speed. You might be using a flash to try and freeze the raindrops. Be sure your sink speed is high enough to do the job.

Don’t be tempted to shoot at wide open apertures such as F2.8. This will drop your depth of field and might spoil an otherwise good shot. You would need at least something like F5.6 at shutter speed 1/500th  to be able to freeze raindrops. Lastly have someone hold an umbrella over you as well. Keep a towel handy for when your equipment gets wet.

The point is just that a rainy wedding does not have to be the end of the world. The picture above was taken of wedding couple Robin & Jade when I did their wedding at Palm Dune resort at Blythedale Beach a couple of weekends ago. I think had it not been for the rain we never would have gotten that shot. A shot I like very much.