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How to Stay Dry: A Guide to Rainy Portrait Sessions

This past weekend, I photographed Kayla and Eric for their engagement photos. Living in Boston, we knew we had to check the weather relentlessly leading up to the shoot. In the few days before the shoot, we saw the forecast change from rain to sun to cloudy skies. The night before, the forecast predicted some scattered showers later in the day. The morning of, I grabbed two umbrellas "just in case," and I'm so glad I did! It was pretty chilly and rained almost the entire time, but we used some tricks of the trade and captured some really amazing photos.

Preparation and Planning:

- You can get some really sweet shots if you prepare.  Umbrellas for example - bright ones can make your pictures pop, but clear umbrellas let the subjects stay the stars of the photos.

- Bring a waterproof duffel bag with extra shoes, jackets, and gloves in case you or your couple gets chilly between shots. It's better to extend the length of the session to get warm between portrait stops/locations, rather than have popsicles for subjects! If you don't have a waterproof bag put everything in a trash bag. Bring ziplock baggies for phones (again, just in case).

- Bring a clear shower curtain or table cloth to put under your couples if the ground is very muddy. Tuck the edges around them to keep the plastic out of the photo, but dresses and shoes clean.

- Prepare your own photography gear - make sure nothing will get wet by using a waterproof gear/bag cover, plastic bags, and waterproof cases.

- Choose a location that has a store front or business close by that everyone can take shelter in if the rain gets worse or if anyone gets too cold.

- Have a set of dry clothes and shoes in the car for after!

Tip from Daniela: In case you're hoping to find clear umbrellas for your own rainy day needs, has an impressive variety of rainy portrait session goods, like clear umbrellas, clear plastic sheets, and dry bags.

During the session:

- If you're worried that the inclement weather will lead your subjects to look cold or miserable, guide them to warm up by getting cozy with one another. You can even use a blanket, even in the photos. Ask your clients to cozy up to one another under it, pulling each other close.

- Pay attention to make up - tell your subjects if there is something running due to the rain drops.

- If it's really warm outside, see if your subjects want to get some photos wet at the end of the session. Ideas: Holding hands, jumping into puddles, playing in the rain together.

- If you live close to a body of water that you can take photos in safely, ask your couple if they'd like to do lake or ocean shots in the rain. If they're already wet, maybe they want to just have a water-based session!

Here are some of the photos Daniela, the owner of Sacred Harbor Photography, was able to capture around Charlestown and the Seaport. Locations we visited included: the USS Constitution, Navy Pier, multiple wharves, the Bunker Hill Monument, and many beautiful stops in between.


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