Every couple imagines their wedding on a day when the weather is perfect. Unfortunately for many, Mother Nature doesn’t always play along. From Queensland to Perth, Australian weather can wreak unpredictable havoc. There can be extreme heat causing bushfires, or wild storms, cyclones and floods.

As a wedding photographer, I have learnt not just to be prepared for unexpected weather, but to embrace it. With the right attitude and the right skill and equipment, you can turn a bad weather scenario into some amazing images (and a great story as well).

1. Embrace the Storms


With the popularity of outdoor ceremony and receptions rising, dealing with wet weather is the most common concern couples have when they book us. I once watched an outdoor reception that took two full days to set up in Bali, quickly dismantled by an army of people and reassembled in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad International Hotel because a windy monsoon and lightning storm was rolling in from the sea.

My job that day was not just to take amazing shots of the couple, but to reassure them that their dream day wasn’t about having an outdoor wedding, it was about having all their friends and family in the one place – whether it was inside or outside.

They loved their images and more importantly, they loved their wedding. Wet weather has the strange effect of bringing people closer together and washing away their cares. It also brings a softness of light and additional elements into the photography that can result in some truly amazing images.

2. Handle the Heat


When faced with extreme weather, the experience and disposition of the photographer becomes incredibly important. A photographer who remains calm, positive and flexible in their approach, will make all the difference on the day. On one hot day the groom fainted at the altar and had to sit for the remainder of the ceremony. This changed everything from how I photographed the ceremony to where we went on location.

By calmly directing the change of plans with a smile and words of encouragement, a good photographer will make an incident like this seem insignificant on the day.

3. Get out in the Rain


Having the right gear is also essential. On one wet day on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the couple (who also had to move their outdoor ceremony inside) desperately wanted to go outside for their location shoot because the landscape had a special meaning to them. We had one umbrella, so I gave it to the couple while I got drenched in the freezing rain. I was using a Nikon and lens with weather sealing to handle the wet, and I knew my gear well enough to work quickly, but not compromise the composition of the image or the technical aspects of the photography. I also had backup equipment inside (and a change of shirt which I always carry!), so I was ready and able to handle those conditions.

While we were out there, the clouds broke for a moment and the most amazing rainbow encircled the couple. Being patient and looking for the light often pays off. Some of my best images have come just after the rain.

4. Have a Checklist


I carry a kit to every wedding that includes umbrellas (more than one these days), a towel, sunscreen, and hair pins (a bride’s hair can get messy in the wind). I also recommend that the bridal party be dressed with accessories such as parasols, shawls, and paper fans to combat the weather. These accessories also look great as props in the images! The photographer should have back up equipment for all weather types, and a change of clothes and if the weather is gloomy, they should bring additional lighting equipment.

You cannot control the weather, so do not let it spoil your wedding day. Work with your photographer to identify locations both inside and outside in case of extreme weather, and have a plan B, so that your ceremony is not too disrupted and your guests are comfortable.

Talk timing with your photographer to get photos in the best light for the season, and know your limits. Some brides are happy to walk in the ocean in their wedding gowns, however just as many do not want a spec of mud on their dress. I always spend time with the couple before the day to know what they are comfortable with so I can both plan accordingly but also seize opportunities that a turn in the weather might present. Choose an experienced photographer who has worked in all kinds of conditions and leave the rest up to them.

On and before the day of the wedding, I will look for locations (plans A, B & C), and also monitor the weather. There is a great deal of preparation that goes into making sure that the weather does not negatively impact the photography, but that comes with the role of a professional photographer. My best tip for a couple is to simply enjoy your wedding day, whatever the weather. As long as you shine, the sun doesn’t have to.

By Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions for Nikon.

Posted in Expert Advice, Planning, Uncategorized by wedded wonderland

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