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Any photographer who photographs a reasonable number of weddings will, one day, encounter what everyone dreads - a wet day. Inclement weather will undoubtedly change plans and also the nature of the day, but the bride and groom will still expect to have some excellent images.

As with most aspects of a wedding, plans must be prepared for such an eventuality. While it is not the responsibility of the photographer to decide how a wedding should proceed given wet weather, it is his or her role to understand the wet-weather option and make arrangements for the photography to take place in a satisfactory manner.

When visiting the venues prior to the wedding day, ask yourself what would happen if rain fell all day. Some of the questions which immediately arise are listed below.

  • How would the bride and groom get to and from their cars without getting soaked? Have a look at parking areas and plan how distances might be minimized and assistance offered.
  • Would white umbrellas be required for the bride and bridal party? Some bridal parties have their own umbrellas chosen to match their clothing. However, it is not a bad idea for a wedding photographer to obtain two or three white umbrellas for use on wet days.
  • Where would groups be shot? Groups of two or three people are relatively easy to handle in terms of space, but larger groups occupy a significant area.
  • Are there any suitable indoor spaces large enough to handle the required photographs and, when a choice is available, which area is more suitable or attractive? If the couple have requested a shot of all their guests, indoor locations can be very limiting. However, it is worth looking at the largest rooms available, and even the hotel foyer. The managers at wedding venues are likely to be sympathetic under such circumstances.
  • Where could the bride and groom be photographed away from the guests? There are a number of possibilities including a hotel foyer, and entrance porch, a gazebo in the grounds of the venue, or even the honeymoon suite.
  • Would there be sufficient light to handle all the photography indoors on a very dull day? Probably not. Digital cameras make life a lot easier because their low-light performance far exceeds that of their film equivalents. With a good full-frame DSLR, it is possible to work at ISO 6400 and get reasonable results. Image noise can be tolerable, but may also be reduced using suitable noise-reduction software.
  • Would a studio lighting and background system be required and, if so, where and when would it be set up?It is an option, but not one to be used lightly. Studio systems take time to set up, and all the trailing cables and extra items of equipment are a hazard with numerous guests and children in the same location.
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