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For the Photographer in a Hurricane (or any major storm) | Business

The weather forecast is going back and forth, but in the spirit of being prepared, photographers all over the east coast are preparing for this weekend.  Here’s a practical checklist to make sure all your bases are covered.  Feel free to add any I missed in the comments!  These are not in order of importance because every scenario is different.


1) If you can reschedule, do!  All the wedding photographers out there are laughing because this advice is quite laughable.  But as with all hazardous weather conditions, staying and off the roads is the best choice.  I’ve already been in contact with my family session this weekend and we’ve agreed that unless everything changes drastically, our session is moved to the rain date.  Weddings?  Well almost always, the show must go on!

2) Check the actual weather forecast.  There’s a lot of hubbub on Facebook, and a lot of fear-mongering ‘weather reports’ out there that aren’t actually written by meteorologists.  Do your homework and look at what the actual risks are.  If a hurricane has several different potential paths, take a look at why each one exists.  Yes, it takes some time to do this research, but it’s so much better than just listening to everyone freak out.  Knowledge is power.  I promise you’ll be significantly less worried than if you read a weather forecast written entirely in capital letters.

3) Check with your insurance company.  This weekend we’re driving our cars across bridge-tunnels in a potential hurricane.  I’ll be parking at a beach where it floods all the time.  So I called our car insurance company to check and see if we’re covered.  We are, with a $500 deductible.  🙂  My back-up plan was to potentially rent cars for this weekend.  It’s also important to call and check on your equipment coverage.  If something awful happens and a roof caves in and all your equipment gets damaged, what then?  Again, knowledge is power and knowing what will happen helps lessen that fear.

4) Look at your plans.  There are probably outdoor pictures scheduled that you’re anxious about, but make sure to look over the whole schedule to see where tricky places might be.  If there’s an outdoor cocktail hour, but everyone will be inside, will that affect your photos?  Will it only rain in the morning or the afternoon– meaning you could move your photo schedule around to avoid rain?  This is also a great time to look at alternate locations.  Google maps is great, as well as googling images of other weddings at the venue.  For this Saturday’s beach pictures, we’re looking at an area under an overpass, and also a parking deck for bridal party photos.  Some of these scenarios affect the limo driver, so he needs to know, too!

In the picture below: We had an hour for pictures and it was pouring buckets outside, so we went a totally different route for their couple pictures… and I’m glad we did!

5) Allow extra time.  Most wedding photographer allow extra time anyway.  I have a habit of leaving twice as early as the travel time.  If a wedding is an hour away, I leave two hours in advance– sometimes more! But for Saturday, I’m leaving 3-4 hours ahead of time.  I’ll be driving slower in the rain, there’s a higher chance of worse traffic, and I need to be there early enough to scope out all the potential photo locations beforehand.  Friday night I’ll check the weather forecast again.  I’m driving through a bridge-tunnel to get to this wedding, so there is a chance it could close completely.  If so, I want to get through there before it closes, or plan for the 3.5 hour drive around all tunnels and bridges.  I do not want to have a surprise like that 4 hours before a wedding!  I’m also prepared to get a hotel for the night if needed, since it will be dark when I’m leaving.

6) Get inspired.  This is the time to be epic, not hunker down and cry.  Google & Pinterest can be your friends here.  See what incredible work others have done in the face of horrible weather and natural disasters.  We’re the storytellers.  The photos and video that are shared for years to come.  These are the photos that go viral.  These are the times when the bride says, “I got married in a hurricane… LOOK at these awesome photos!”  So go out there and rock this!  Here and here are some fun ones I found.

Yes, yes.  I know these pictures weren’t taken in a hurricane, but you get the idea, but we’ve had more than enough weddings where guests were drenched in rain before the end of the night.  And you know what?  Those were by far the happiest guests!  When you’re soaking wet in formal wear, you can’t help but laugh.  🙂