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What if it rains on my photoshoot AND Bonus Tips for “Ideal weather for photographing my family”

So you’ve had your photoshoot booked for weeks or even months…..

You’ve chosen an outdoor photoshoot because you live in a beautiful area, the garden of England and you’d like this as your backdrop. There are So many gorgeous places for a photoshoot in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. 

Maybe you have young children you feel may struggle in a studio environment because they like to move around a lot?

Or maybe you have a dog who you want photographed where they are most at home in their favourite woods?


Whatever your motivations you can be sure that you will be dependent on the great old British weather playing ball!

What happens if the forecast is for rain?

So the week of the shoot has arrived and the weather has been great all week.  The forecast for your shoot date looks fine and then it changes, as is so typical in this country!!  We all search  frantically for a different weather app, but that only looks worse!

When you work with me you are not on a production line. I will try my best, unless we are very far apart to see if we can make it work.  If the rain is a little “off and on” I will meet with your family, start the session and we will see how far we get, perhaps with some sheltering in between!  It will be a judgement call for us both as nobody wants to get soaked and I cannot shoot in heavy rain either as it will show up in the photographs and damage my equipment.

So what will happen in these circumstances?  I always stay closely in touch in the couple of days before your shoot, particularly if the forecast looks variable. When you book with me I generally can leave flexibility with regards to timings on the shoot day as I never schedule in more than one session. We can often shift the start time to suit what is happening to the weather. If we have an early evening session booked but it looks as though rain will arrive later, we can bring the shoot earlier if that works for you.

It is of course really disappointing to have to reconvene, but that is why I advise at the start that we try to book an alternative shoot date as a precaution. That way it’s in the diary in case the weather is not on our side. I endeavour to provide you with the highest service possible and if you have booked an outdoor portrait shoot I want to provide you with images like you have seen on my website and will advise you accordingly if the weather won’t allow us to get these.

So from a Surrey Portrait Photographer’s perspective – what are my top tips for choosing the best weather for your photographs?

Tip 1. Avoid bright midday sunlight.

Super sunny days do not always lead to the best photographs. They may be a tourist’s dream but they are not a photographer’s!! This is why, when booking your session during the summer months in particular, I often try to photograph you early morning or late afternoon and definitely avoid around midday. The sun is high in the sky and without cloud cover leads to harsh light, dark shadows, bright and often blown highlights and squinting. You recall the problem – your subject is dark because your phone or camera is setting itself ( called exposing) for the bright sky at the back.  If you change your settings the background just gets even brighter! There are ways around this, but generally harsh sunlight is best avoided. When I am booking a session date with you and it is planned for a few months away I will be looking at the time the sun will rise and set and booking the shoots earlier or later in the day in case it is very sunny.  If not we can adjust accordingly on the day given my flexibility.

Tip. 2. Find shade.

If it is very sunny, try to find some shade to put your subject under. Not too much shade as you want to light their faces well, but some tree cover for example will work well.

Tip 3. Use the clouds

A cloudy day is perfect for photographing people.  You can be more flexible as you are not searching for shade. The light is softer and provided it is bright enough you can photograph across the day.  That being said I would still avoid around midday in the summer as the light can still be quite harsh.

Tip 3. The Golden Hour.

Known as such because of that lovely golden light that we can get an hour or so before sunset.  This can make for particularly beautiful backlit images where the sun is setting behind your subject and the light is soft and warm.  When the evenings are long this may mean a trip out not long before your child’s bedtime. This may not suit all and when booking a shoot getting a golden hour shot is generally a bonus as clouds can come in at the last minute and your chance of that perfect shot can be gone in an instant!! 

Tip 4. Avoid the Rain!

It goes without saying generally avoid the heavy rain – it will show up in the photographs as little dots in the background and leave your subjects looking like drowned rats!!   It’s also not great for your camera gear 🙂

Getting the perfect portrait is not easy and that’s why I’m here! Do get in touch if you’d like to plan a gorgeous outdoor photoshoot with me or simply have a chat and see if I’m the right person to work with your family to create something special.

Nic is a highly trained Surrey portrait photographer working all around the local area into Kent and Sussex.