How To Make Fantastic Wedding Photos Even When It's Raining

How To Make Fantastic Wedding Photos Even When It's Raining

Rain on your wedding day can be quite a downer for most brides even though many cultures see rain as good fortune, cleansing and fertility. Often brides wonder how they are going to still get good photos if it's raining. Here are some tips for photographers that I've picked up over the years having shot numerous weddings in the rain.

Be Sure To Back-Light The Rain Drops

The best way to get rain drops to show up in a picture is to backlight them. I like to do this with flashes, but this could also be done with a porch light or even the sun. By backlighting the rain drops they will stand out more in the photo as little bright areas on your photographs as the light passes through the water.

How_To_Shoot_Wedding_Photos_In_The_Rain_Trevor_Dayley

Have Plastic Bags Available

While most professional camera bodies, lenses and flashes are weather-sealed that does not mean you shouldn't provide a little extra protection for them. After all I would rather use a $0.25 bag to protect my gear than have to send it in for repairs. I like to keep zip lock bags in my bag that I can toss over my flashes when needed outdoors (the gallon size bag is perfect for your camera and lens) and a poncho. If you're afraid of how you look with plastic bags keeping your gear dry you can purchase fitted plastic covers for your camera and lenses.

Look For Reflections in The Puddles

Use those puddles to your advantage by finding interesting reflections that you can use to include in your photos. In this shot I ended up just turning it upside down in Photoshop to create a unique looking shot.
How_To_Shoot_Wedding_Photos_In_The_Rain_Puddles_Trevor_Dayley

Raise Your ISO

Rain typically means dark clouds. Offset those clouds by boosting your ISO. You might be use to shooting photos outside at ISO 200. Don't hesitate to now raise your ISO up to 800, 1600 or if shooting with a professional body such as the Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D4 all the way to 3200.

Rain Makes For Great Colors in Photos

One of my favorite things about shooting in the rain is how the photos all come out with beautiful saturated colors. The greens are greener, blues bluer and even the wet driveway at the venue looks amazing.

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Watch Your Shutter Speed

If you are not using a flash to freeze the falling raindrops than make sure you have chosen a shutter speed that is fast enough to catch them. That will most likely be 1/500th of a second or faster.

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Don't Just Shoot Wide Open

It is popular these days that photographers shoot most of the wedding photos with wide open apertures. Remember though if you are shooting in the rain in order to capture the most amount of drops possible you'll need more depth of field than just a few inches. So don't be afraid to shoot at f5.6 for example to open up your depth of field a bit more.

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Stay Positive

The bride and groom are going to be looking at you for reassurance that everything will be ok. They will be listening to what you say and more importantly your body language. Keep it positive and make sure they understand you are down to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at you and will still get beautiful images.

Look For Areas of Cover Such As Awnings, Porches, Tree Coverings

Often under the stress of the rain we forget that there are plenty of places where we can still shoot and stay entirely dry.

Using_Rain_On_Wedding_Day_To_Create_Beautiful_Photos_Trevor_Dayley

Use Umbrellas As Props and Reflectors

Umbrellas not only make for a great addition to the photographs as a prop but they are wonderful at kicking light back down on our couples. Keep an umbrella stored under the seat of your car that works well for photos. Here's one on Amazon for $9. Don't wait till one is needed and then have to settle for using one with ugly colors, strange patterns or large advertising plastered across it.

Tell The Story Of The Wedding With Rain Included

Don't try to tell a different story of the wedding day by not including photos of the rain. Embrace the weather and enjoy it. Also remember that it is not very often that it will rain non-stop for hours. You'll typically find a break in the weather, even if just for a few minutes. Let the couple know that during those small breaks you would like to take advantage of the time and grab some photos.

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Encourage The Couple To Carry On With Regular Activities

Often the bride and groom and their family will be looking to you for advice on the wedding day. Unless you say something they'll plan on canceling certain activities that they might have otherwise planned thinking it's no longer possible. On March 1, 2014 I shot a wedding in which we experienced a torrential down pour of rain. At the end of reception the rain was still pouring and the couple suggested just not doing the sparkler exit. I encouraged them to go forward with it and that I would love to capture the event for them even though that meant I would be getting wet. So we gathered up their close friends and family, lit the sparklers under the porch awning and rain out in the rain forming a tunnel. The couple walked through it and we got this beautiful image.

Amazing_Sparkler_Rain_Wedding_Photos_by_Trevor_Dayley

Hopefully these tips have been helpful and will give you that extra boost of confidence you need the next time you see rain forecasted on the day of your shoot. Relax, grab your rain coat, put your smile back on and enjoy the experience while creating unique photos for your clients.


All Photos by Trevor Dayley
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17 Comments

It's amazing how much impact one person with a good attitude can have on others. Your approach is full of great tips, and helps the photographer have a cool-head in a potentially tough situation. Great tips and stellar photos.
Is it wrong that I'm kinda hoping I get a rainy wedding this year now? :)

It's so key. When you show a client that you're actually excited about something that they would think is a day-killer, you really make the event a success in unexpected ways for them, and they come to appreciate you almost more than they would have otherwise.

he crushed that shoot. way to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Muhamad Noor Hafiz Zainal's picture

so, everyone, the flash the BnG and u under the rain?

Yeah, all of us were in the rain, and all the equipment.

Muhamad Noor Hafiz Zainal's picture

superb result comes with sacrifice :P

Kristi Woody's picture

Beautiful images! I especially love that last one. Thanks for the excellent tips.

nice touch!

awesome Trevor!!!!!

Love this! Thanks so much for all the great tips!

My take! It dint rain , but a broken/ weak water pump and a couple of shots later heres the image.We dint even have a real umbrella, but the shoot through will do thank you! :-) But i have to admit the real bokeh magic was the 85 1.4!

I've seen lots of pictures with a back light that's blue, like in the last picture. How is this achieved? Is it just as simple as using a blue gel?

wow i know this is a little late but in case you never found out... if you set for camera to say 2500-3000k and gel your main light with an orange filter regular lights (5000k) appear blue. this way by simply geling your main you can effect all other light sources, instead of leaving your main and then gelling every other light

Here's another couple shots

Awesome tips and examples! Thanks!

Love this! So scared to hit a rainy wedding but these shots are stunning.