When I decided to become a professional photographer, I had no idea just how many specialties I’d have to master. Marketing and accounting are obvious ones. But, in addition to becoming a master of light, I was forced to become proficient in everything from newborn health/safety and customer relations to contractual law and meteorology. And Kansas weather is no joke! Okay, it can be quite laughable at times.
As much as I’d love to have stunning lightning strikes in the background, even if the client is feeling daring, there’s only so much risk I’m willing to take. Fortunately, the only dangerous condition I’ve ever been pressured to shoot in is extreme cold. Those were super short photo sessions!
That depends on the weather and what time of year it is. Sometimes we can turn unpleasant weather into a fantastic experience and priceless photos!
If it’s windy out, I’ll usually recommend a location protected from the wind and maybe some hair bands to help tame the mane. But, honestly, I love windy photo shoots. I tend to take a lot more pictures since wild hair will force me to throw quite a few otherwise great shots out. But, those shots where the hair blows just right? Pure gold! That extra motion in the picture can be priceless. For studio shoots, I’ll sometimes even turn a fan on you to create that extra dynamic. All of that said, I understand some people don’t like the wind blown look and I’ll do my best to find you a day with more favorable weather conditions if you prefer.
If it’s hot, let’s go somewhere with water (or bring some fun water squirters) so you can cool off toward the end of the shoot. Water pictures are my favorite! I’ve gotten many of my favorite pictures of my own kids at lakes, creeks, and the local pools. I will happily take advantage of the hot Kansas summer for a water shoot. The biggest problem with heat is sweat seeping through clothing. Anyone who tends to have that problem is encouraged to wear an under shirt and/or bring a second outfit. Like with the wind, we can focus on rescheduling if you think you’ll be too uncomfortable.
What about rain? If the forecast shows rain all day and evening, we’re probably going to want to reschedule your shoot. But typically, we’re working with scattered showers. As long as it’s not super dark out and there is no lightning anticipated, I prefer not to cancel. I might move your location some place where mud won’t be an issue, but we can usually avoid the rain pretty easily. The couple times where I lost that gamble, the pictures were amazing! Plus, overcast skies are a fantastic light diffuser. It might end up raining during the time we originally planned. But, cloudy skies means we have a lot more flexibility with time of day since we don’t have to wait for the sun to get low in the sky to avoid harsh shadows.
How difficult will it be for you to reschedule? Is anyone needing to travel to the shoot? How flexible can we be with the start time? Are you determined to get a certain look at a specific location? How much preparation is involved? Are you getting your hair done? Putting the family into fancy outfits? Who is participating in the shoots? Young children or people who cannot get around as well might force our hand to hold out for better weather.
Of course, thunderstorms and tornado watches can become dangerous. We’ll definitely want to play things safely. That doesn’t mean I won’t be out taking pictures, though!
In the Spring or Summer, we can usually keep an eye on the extended forecast. It never hurts to hit me up midweek and suggest taking advantage of some gorgeous weather that pops up before your rescheduled session date.
The Fall season is more difficult. It is my busiest time of year. So, not only do we run the risk of not finding a convenient time to move your shoot, but the weather tends to get progressively worse the longer we wait. And that beautiful fall foliage might not hold out! I don’t recommend waiting for perfect weather between late September and early Spring, but I’ll do my best for you.
I love in home photo shoots. There is that added degree of sentimental value being in the comfort of your own home. And we might get to step outside for a handful of great pictures, too.
If you don’t want pictures at home, there are some great options around town. My favorite location in Manhattan to use as an indoor backup is the Flint Hills Discovery Center where there is consistently beautiful light. I was thrilled to learn that we may soon have another option at the new Museum of Art & Light scheduled to open in the Fall of 2024. Fingers crossed!
Or, as I like to put it, play it by radar. That means that we plan on going through with the shoot, but stay in close contact in case the weather turns for the worse. More often than not, when we wait it out, the session is able to happen. But, that’s a fairly easy game for me to play. I don’t have to get my whole family prettied up for pictures. I like to leave that decision up to my clients. If for a couples session or senior session, I’ll usually encourage taking the chance. Storms that end up missing us can result in some phenomenal backdrops!
Sometimes, rescheduling simply is not an option. If we’re doing an extended family shoot with multiple families trying to coordinate schedules, moving the session can be quite difficult if not impossible within a reasonable timeframe. We might need to change to a safer location and where we can stay close to the cars. And we’ll definitely want a backup indoor location chosen just in case. One way or another, we’ll pull it off!
Snow shoots can be truly magical! But, to get beautiful snow on the ground and safe roads? That can be a tall order. Not to mention that it’s usually ridiculously cold! I’ll have to blog about my snow shoots more in a separate post. They are so much fun despite my freezing fingers.
There are lots of sessions where timing is everything. Whether we are trying to catch the redbuds in bloom, the sunflowers at peak perfection, or of course the gorgeous fall foliage, there are limitations. Bad weather can really spoil our plans in those situations. The weather might be unpredictable, but what you CAN count on is that I will always be as flexible as possible when it comes to your family’s comfort. And I will always do my best to make your vision come to life.