When we head into a session, we obviously plan for ideal circumstances; perfect light, clear skies, perhaps a soft breeze… but that isn’t always what we get. I remember in my early days as a photographer, these seemingly less than ideal elements would stress me out, and make me believe that we had to reschedule, throwing everyone involved for a loop. Now there may still be times for that… torrential downpours, hurricanes, wild fires, you know, that sort of thing, but over all, I’ve learned not to let a little mid day sun, a sprinkle, a little more wind than a light breeze ruffle my feathers. In fact, I welcome these challenges as a way to stretch myself creatively and technically! Some of my favorite photos have been taken in less than idea weather circumstances and I’m going to tell you what I do to lean into those boundary breaking experiences.
Shooting when the sun is higher in the sky is something I do often because when I’m traveling for sessions, sometimes that just happens to be when I’m able to make it work. But no need to fear the overhead sun!

Tips for shooting when the sun is high:

+still keep the subject positioned in a way that allows the sun to be behind, or to the side of their face

+however, you can also shoot with the subject’s face towards the sun for a fun play on shadows… just remember to lower your ISO if shooting on digital, or adjust your shutter speed accordingly if shooting film

+When the sun is high, the sky in your images will appear more blue than white (this happens when the sun is low). That’s ok! Just because it might look a little different than your images if you often shoot during golden hour, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! I think the awareness and acceptance that different lighting situations produce different colors and tones in the photograph allows us to be excited and open to the prospect, instead of caught off guard and seeing it as something being “wrong.”

Another natural issue you may encounter is moisture. If it’s pouring down rain, I would recommend shooting inside. This isn’t the end of good photos! Just keep by the biggest brightest window in the home and shoot with your settings adjusted accordingly. One of my favorite sessions, see image above, was done while the sky poured out rain outside. We stayed near the second story window, and the results were wonderful.

Don’t be afraid to play with what you’re given as well! You can also shoot from the outside looking in, using the water droplets to create a beautiful painterly type scene like this mama and her newborn in the bath.

Tips for shooting while it’s raining:

+ Stay under eaves and on porches

+Move inside and shoot near the biggest, brightest window – the one that isn’t covered by foliage

+use the water to your advantage!

Wind can also be something that throws us off our shooting game. But again, use it to your advantage! If the wind is extreme, obviously use your discretion, but even if it’s little more than a light breeze, I don’t shy away from using it to make even more beautiful images! I love movement, and having some wind in our sails really encourages some beautiful movement in photos!

Tips for using wind to your advantage:

+position the subject so that the wind is blowing hair out of their faces, not into it

+Use a light fabric like a silk scarf or muslin to create an intentional obstruction to the scene… bonus, kids love this too!

+Play with the movement of mom’s dress in the wind… this really creates a nostalgic and emotive scene because it gives the photograph life!

Hope these tips encourage you to create beautiful images no matter what the circumstances may be! To learn more about how I shoot, how to grow your business, and how to find your unique and wonderful voice and perspective, you can take my ONLINE COURSE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.