Photography Problems: Beating the Weather

Emma Frankart Henterly
Sheila and Matthew Schirripa and their wedding party stayed warm with stylish scarves.

Ohio weather is unpredictable in any season, but it seems to be doubly so in winter and spring. So how do you plan for outdoor wedding photos when you're not sure if it'll be rainy or sunny, 30 degrees or 70?

“I think the most important thing is not to stress about it,” says photographer Sarah Williamson of Together We Click. “We don't look at the weather [before a wedding] because it changes so much. It's not worth stressing about every day.”

No matter what the weather does, odds are good that your photographer has worked in those elements before and is prepared for it. “Our gear is weather-sealed,” explains Gina Lovelace, a photographer with Brett Loves Elle Photography. “We bring umbrellas with us basically to every shoot, because you never know in Ohio.” The clear bubble-style umbrellas that Lovelace and her team keep on hand are ideal for romantic, smooching-in-the-rain photos, as Tari and Kevin Cook discovered at their New Year's Eve wedding in 2016 (see above, far right).

If the idea of picking your way through puddles in a tux or ballgown stresses you out, Williamson and Lovelace both recommend looking into alternate, indoor shoot locations. Venues like the Ohio Statehouse, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the Columbus Museum of Art all have rentable spaces that you can reserve in advance for the block of time you'll be taking portraits.

“It's almost like rain insurance,” Williamson says. “In the grand scheme of things, the monetary deposit is small, but the return in the event of rain is well worth it.”

Another option, she adds, is to spring for a hotel with a beautiful, photo-ready lobby. “You're going to be booking a hotel anyway; you might as well pick a nice one,” Williamson reasons. “The Hilton Downtown is a great place, the Joseph … the Hilton at Easton is also really nice. You may spend a little more per night, but you have a better place to take pictures should you need it in the event of bad weather.”

When it comes to other types of weather—excessive sun, high winds or a dusting of snow—you may not have to worry as much as you think. “Snow can be really fun,” Williamson says. “Aside from it getting into the dresses and causing those nightmares, snow can be really playful; kind of magical, too.” Even dense fog can have a role in creating pretty portraits. (Don't believe us? Turn to Page 140.)

And while you can't control the elements, Lovelace advises paying close attention to your photographer's contract to see what, if any, clause they have about inclement weather.

“We actually have a rain clause in our contract,” she says. “It's like a weather clause … [that promises] a 30-minute to an hour session, on a different day, because we want our couples to get all of the photos they hope for and all the photos they want. [We] don't want them to feel disappointed because of the weather.”