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You Can Stand Under My Umbrella: Tips for Rainy Day Wedding Photography

Wedding guests arriving with umbrellas
Rainy Day Wedding

Well it had to happen sooner or later. Rain is the primary enemy of all nearlyweds and photographers alike. For ages, I've successfully dodged the wet stuff. Even my last styled shoot, which took place on soggy Coronation Day, went relatively smoothly and afforded us the odd break in the clouds just long enough to achieve some of the outdoor shots I'd planned. But with the washout that has been the British Summer 2023, Saturday's forecast remained stubbornly stuck on "Biblical Rain" in the days leading up to my client, V's big day.

In my day to day photography, I love a bit of the wet stuff. I like raindrop jewels on flowers and playing with water reflections. (Inexplicably, there was a notable absence of puddles at Saturday's wedding, so a cool reflection shot evaded me).

Photograph of a pedestrian reflected in a puddle
Puddle Reflection

I asked myself why I was building this up as such a negative in my head? My clients were laid back and happy to go with my plan B, which was to take some post wedding photos inside the beautiful historic church if the rain was horizontal. I planned a few wedding photos in my head, made some notes, grabbed an umbrella and decided to embrace the challenge.

So, what are my top tips for photographing a wedding in the rain?

Firstly, get yourself a long raincoat. This is mine. I'm not sponsored by them, just love the cut and length.

OK, so I did give off Victorian explorer vibes, but trust me, when it comes to outdoor working attire, the longer the better. If they're roomy and have plenty of pockets, you can better protect your equipment. Also, the last thing you want is rain running off the bottom of your waterproof jacket, soaking your trousers and pooling in your shoes. Wet feet that squelch when you walk is not desirable for a wedding photographer! Talking of shoes, make sure they're sturdy and/or waterproof.

Secondly, no matter how bad the weather, at some point you're going to have to expose yourself and the bride to the elements. I purchased some clear umbrellas, but luckily the driver had come pre-prepared so I didn't have to lug mine around. I decided to capture the bride through her rain soaked car window. In my head, they look like little diamonds.

Bride photographed through a rain soaked window
Rainy Day Arrival

My focus was on capturing those moments that at the time, may seem like an annoyance, but are great to look back on. That said, if you look at it from the couple's point of view, whatever happens, a wedding day is usually their happiest. They will overlook the weather. They may even laugh at it. Also, it's quite nice to be escorted to the venue and experience a little old school gallantry don't you think?

Bride escorted to church under an umbrella on a rainy day
Bride Arriving at Church

Usually, no matter how bad the weather, shelter can be found. Get there early and explore the venue, seeking out those places that might offer a little shelter from the worst of the elements.

From entrance halls and empty pews...

Bride and bridesmaids shoes as bride prepares to walk down the aisle
Bridal Posse
Bride and groom sitting alone in an empty pew
Bride and Groom doorways and walls.

Wedding guests throwing confetti over newlyweds
Throwing Confetti

Stay close to the building and you are likely to dodge the worst of the rain, as in the photo below, taken on the aforementioned Coronation Day. It was raining here, not that you would guess. A wall makes a beautifully simple and effective backdrop and a quick, easy shot.

A couple in bridalwear, standing, backs to the wall
Bride and grooms clasped hands showing wedding bands by church yew tree
Going the distance

Allow yourself to capture the seemingly mundane - like this wind blown confetti and wet footprint. Photos like this can really help tell a story.

Wet footprint and blown confetti in a church entrance
Remnants of a wedding day

Draw attention away from what's going on outside, by capturing plenty of details from the day. After all, the devil is in the detail...and a lot of love, care and money.

Church aisle wedding flowers
Church Flowers

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that your couple will most likely love the photos and regardless of the weather, the mood will be up!

Candid photo of a groom laughing and holding a woman's purse
Candid Camera

And assuming you're couples are lovely, like V and G here and you're not photographing the Wicked Witch of the West, a little water won't really hurt. So bring out the brollies and make a feature of them!

Bride and groom sheltering beneath a clear umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
Bride and groom kissing beneath a clear birdcage umbrella
Kissing in the rain

Remember, we're island dwellers and used to inclement weather so no excuses! Don't fear the rain!

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