May 3, 2022

Bad weather and your photoshoot

FILED IN: session prep

Oh, South Dakota. We’ll be wrapped up in winter coats in the morning and shedding our layers for t-shirts in the afternoon. We’ll enjoy 95º sunshine all day and be forced to take cover from rain storms and hail in the evening. Then we’ll wake up to high wind gusts on the prairie, but find its pretty calm in town. We all know South Dakota weather can be unpredictable. As the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 30 minutes.”

So, what if the forecast calls for bad weather the day of your photoshoot? First, I ask you to be flexible. I know some people go into a photoshoot envisioning a very specific result and I do want to make your vision a reality. Yet sometimes by embracing the surprises of real life, we are given opportunities to capture authentic images no one anticipated. Let’s be open to the possibilities!

As we near your session, here are some things to keep in mind.

Keep your phone on you

I ask my clients to have their cell phone turned on and near them as the time of their session approaches. If we do need to change plans, this is important!

Prepare for your photoshoot.

If the weather looks iffy, there are ways to plan and be successful:

  • Hair care – If you have long hair, bring a hair tie in case the wind picks up, but please keep it in a pocket and not around your wrist. If you are worried about frizz or flying hair, extra hairspray and bobby pins can be a life saver. A hairbrush is always a good idea to bring along.
  • Clothing – Bring several clothing options. Consider a back up outfit or layers. A cute cardigan or blanket may be all that is needed.

Weather conditions to monitor

Different weather conditions call for different approaches. So if the forecast calls for…


If it is forecasted to rain, let’s try to wait until the last minute to decide how we’ll proceed. I am especially cautious of thunder and lightning – safety first! That said, South Dakota weather can pass through quickly. Stormy skies or even light rain and mist can be great for photos. So, unless it is pouring rain for the entire day, there is a good chance the photoshoot will happen!

Cloudy and Overcast

Cloud coverage provides even, flattering lighting for portraits. It’s one of my favorite weather conditions to shoot in! I know many clients show up for their shoot hoping for 75º and sunny, but none have been disappointed with their images on an overcast day! This is ideal weather and I can assure you we will capture fantastic images!


Here in the midwest, the wind is often strongest in the spring. Yet wind speeds can pick up any time of the year. There are lots variables to take into consideration when it comes to wind. Is this a family session with young children or just adults? What’s the wind speed? Can we relocate your shoot or find shelter? Often we can move to a new location where it’s less breezy and continue with our shoot as planned, but I recognize this may not always be possible depending on the vision of your shoot. If the forecast calls for wind at 12 mph and over, let’s talk about our options.

Extreme Heat

When temperatures reach 95º and above, heat exhaustion can become a concern, particularly for young children or sessions that last a few hours. Makeup tends to melt, people tend to sweat and I get concerned about dehydration. For short sessions, we’re probably good to proceed and can take breaks as needed. For longer sessions, I’ll likely reach out to discuss options and and get a sense of your comfort level.


Snow can be so pretty! Blizzards, however, not so much. If it’s a light, beautiful snow, you hit the jackpot. If it’s blowing profusely, let’s plan to reschedule.

Rescheduling your photo shoot

If the weather looks severe and safety could be impacted, I happily reschedule. If we are at the beginning of a photoshoot and the weather picks up and there isn’t any sign of it relenting, we can also reschedule.

At the end of the day, whatever the weather report shows, I’ve got you! I look out for your best interest and the interest of your photos when deciding whether to keep the shoot as scheduled or postpone and find another day that works for both of us.

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