Oct 1, 2010

Don't Rain On My Parade

by Mariana Mosli-KisMisInk Photography

“We ♥ how the weather doesn’t dictate how our sessions go!! We are prepared to rock it out in any element! And in FL’s weather, that is an essential talent!”

This was a FB status that I wrote last week after getting soaked and completely exhausted from an awesome session we had just wrapped up! As I re-read it, I can say that it’ll hold true for the life of our photography business! As natural-light photogs, our photoshoots are almost 100% outdoors, making the weather our friend and our enemy! It seemed for the last month, almost every session was hit with torrential rains, winds, and the worst weather imaginable! But, we live for challenges & it helps us grow! So, we are definitely not complaining!

At times, it just takes some schedule readjustments and planning the shoot for another day. But what to do when you can’t possibly reschedule? When your client is only in the area for a certain date, or unavailable for a future re-schedule? Or how about when you are in the middle of the shoot when the weather turns for the worst?! The images below reflect those situations and that’s when creativity & passion is a must!

We have come across bad weather, but that has helped us think outside the box and create images that embrace the natural elements that are beyond our control!

We have learned and implemented some great practices into our business, which may not control the weather, but it definitely helps us stay in control of how we face these challenges! Below, I compiled some of the ways we deal with the forces of nature in FL! Hopefully this helps our readers (whether they are photographers or on the other side of the camera!)

1. This may seem obvious, but if you are busy, it can be overlooked: Check your weather forecast! Yes, it is accurate more than half the time! And with iphones, ipads, smartphones, and all the modern technology, the weather forecast is only seconds away! Here is one of the links that we use: http://www.weather.com/ . We love this site because it gives 15 minute intervals of weather forecasting. The PocketWeather App is also pretty neat too!

2. Preparation is key! Plan, plan, and then plan some more! Always expect the unexpected! You don’t lose anything (EVER) by over-preparing. It may seem like a burden to take extra covers, raincoats, flashlights, plastic bags, a couple of umbrellas, extra lighting, etc… but if you don’t have these items and need them, you will kick yourself later for being unprepared!

*I often refer to a written list of items that I will need in case of drastic weather changes and I add to that list as I run into new and unexpected situations, so that my list is as thorough as possible!

3. Review your Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C. Get familiar with the area you will be shooting at; by doing so you have an advantage to change locations smoothly without stressing that the new location won’t work, or worse, that you won’t be able to find something. See if there are combo areas (that include outdoor/indoor possibilities) For example: A hotel that has columns or a large covered area near the beach. You would have several choices in case the storms roll in! If the hotel has a nice indoor lobby area, you can even ask the hotel rep. if you may shoot there. The worse outcome: They say no.

4. Communication with the client is VITAL! Feel the vibe and see if your client is willing to endure not-so-perfect weather conditions. Keep in mind, hair & make-up preparation, clothing that they may not want to ruin or get wet, and props that may not be able to withstand harsh conditions. All of these factors play a major role in determining if the shoot should continue and adjust to the conditions or be rescheduled. And don’t forget, the most important factor: Safety! Florida is known for it’s lightning storms and it can be very dangerous to be caught in the middle of that. If you feel that you or your client’s safety is at risk, then make the appropriate decisions to move the session indoors or reschedule. After securing everyone’s safety, take into account that the client’s happiness and mood will weigh in the success of the shoot, so always put them first! If the client is OK with switching up the mood and incorporating the weather into the shoot, then great, happy shooting!

5. Stay optimistic! Your mood will also affect your clients. If you are demonstrating professionalism, enthusiasm, and reassuring the client that their session will be a hit, then 98% of the time, it will! Don’t throw in the towel too quickly! Work with what you have and make the best of it! You clients have invested their time and money and are counting on your expertise and experience to make things work out great! Use available light and get creative. Thinking outside the box will not only create unique and fun images, but will also help you strengthen your skills!

6. Photogs, if you will be shooting in adverse weather, definitely invest in equipment rain gear & insurance (which we recommend to have no matter what weather you shoot in)! Our equipment is expensive and takes only a few seconds to damage, so make every effort to insure your valuables that are vital to keep you in business! Protective gear can range in price from inexpensive to very expensive, as I am sure the quality ranges as well. With a quick google search, I found AquaPac and I am sure there are plenty of other resources out there for gear. An indoor studio is also an option and a great investment if that works in with your photography style & client needs. There are studios that you can rent with advance notice or you can invest in your own.

If you have more tips or resources that have worked for you, please share them below in the comments! Thanks for taking the time to read about our experience & what works for us!

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