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What To Do When Mother Nature Doen't Give A S**t About Your Portrait Session

When you decide to step outside during your lifestyle portrait session, you open yourself up to a world of magical, location possibilities.  

When everything falls into place, it’s a beautiful thing.  Of course, it's not always a walk in the park.

If you’ve ever taken a portrait outside, you understand that you are essentially at the mercy of the weather, and quite frankly, mother nature can be a real pain in the ass when she wants to be.  

The annoying drizzly, rain storm that’s barely there, but just enough to get us all wet.  The dreaded, partially cloudy day that changes the lighting on a minute-by-minute basis.  The unbearable heat that has you sweating the moment the sun hits your skin.  Is it hailing right now?  How the hell did that happen?

Even when the clouds are parted, the temperature is perfect, and there’s no obvious obstructions in sight, the not-so-silent killer reveals itself — the wind!

I’ve seen several of my female clients hair reduced to what resembled a bowl of spaghetti after a couple strong gusts that came out of nowhere, essentially grinding the session to an abrupt halt.

Needless to say, mother nature can be very temperamental.

As a result, it’s important to not only check the weather report the day before and the morning of the session, it’s even more important to devise a Plan B with your photographer well in advance of the shoot date.

During your strategy call, map out your location options with your photographer in detail, making sure to account for temperamental weather.  So, if it gets too windy outside, or an overcast day turns rainy, you will have inside options to compensate for the lost locations outside.  

Instead of tap dancing through the short pockets of decent weather, move on to your backup plan and maximize your session time with your photographer.

But, what if you really, really want to shoot outside?  Okay, there’s options for you.

If you know it’s going to be a super windy day, your photographer can rent some equipment - and some extra hands - to create a wall around you to help mask the wind from turning your hair into a party favor.  It’s not perfect, but it does help.

The way around a super warm and sunny day is to find a couple shady spots and set up shop there, not just because it will prevent you from sweating profusely all over the camera, but it also will provide you with the most flattering, non-direct sunlight available.

On an annoyingly drizzly day, find locations that have awnings and overhangs so you can stay dry, yet still be outside during this portion of your session.  

If it’s a chilly day and you don’t want to be all bundled up like a 5-year-old on a snow day, then my suggestion is to wear layers of long johns underneath your outfits in order to reduce that bulky, big jacket look.  And keep your coat on standby in between shots.  Or, you could always wait for a warmer month, too, :)

Rather than trying to jump through all these hoops through the not-so-ideal weather conditions, my suggestion is to keep it simple and schedule a backup date with your photographer.  

No extra equipment, no extra layers, no crazy extra work. Just put a contingency date on the books and if all hell breaks loose outside, no big deal - you’ll just save the photo magic for another day.

have you ever experienced a bad weather shoot? do you have any horror stories that you can share?  

Please do so in the comment section below - we all can have a good laugh (and cry) feeling each other’s pain!

John DeMato2 Comments