It always comes down to the weather when doing sessions outdoors.
I preach planning a lot when it comes to photo sessions. Plan as much as you can. However, as those in Hampton Roads know, there’s always the wildcard that is the weather. Especially in the summer months. Case in point, my recent portrait session with Emily.
Emily wanted to do a headshot/portrait session before she moved away from the area. Normally such things take about an hour. We picked a day and time to do it. As for all outdoor sessions, I immediately start watching the forecast for the day of the shoot. Some call it obsessed, I like to think of it as just being sure.
All the way leading up to the day, the forecast said 25% chance of t-storms in the late afternoon/evening. The morning of the shoot, it hadn’t changed. Two hours before the shoot, the chances actually dropped to 15%. Now, keep in mind that I’m in constant contact with Emily the entire time so she knew what was up. It stayed that way up to the point when I left for the location Perfect, I figured.
I get to the location within 15 minutes of leaving my place and 10 minutes before we are supposed to start. I looked to the sky and didn’t like what I saw so I checked the forecast once again. Suddenly, they were calling for 100% chance of a t-storm hitting us within 30 minutes.
I may have said a few choice words at that point. But, after that, I called Emily and let her know what was going on. We agreed that, as this was our last time to do this, that even 15 minutes of shooting was better than none.
So, yeah. No lights and no special set ups. Rapid-fire with natural light and the cut-off time being when the first drop hit. Rock and roll time.
I managed to get off just under 300 shots, all the while giving direction to Emily, before we felt the first drop. She even managed to change her shirt during our time together. We stuck to our plan and called it which was a good thing. I had just packed up and gotten into my car when the deluge began.
Such is life as an outdoor portrait photographer. You can plan all you want but there’s always going to be the wildcard.