Maybe Willie Nelson said it best when he sang, “Well, it’s cloudy in the morning, gonna be raining in the afternoon… If you don’t like this rainy weather you better pack your bags and move.”
I recently learned that Pittsburgh averages a total of 203 cloudy days each year and that western Pennsylvania is significantly cloudier than the eastern side of the state, according to the National Weather Service. Pair that with the unpredictability of Pittsburgh weather in how quickly the forecast can fluctuate and it seems like ol’ Willie may be on to something here…
While we will always try our best to hold your session at our agreed-upon time, sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we will definitely reschedule. Because I accept only a select number of sessions each month and block off room on my calendar for rain dates, there’s no need to worry about losing out on your session due to inclement weather.
As your session date approaches, I am closely watching the weather. I’m talking days and hours up until your session. One of my favorite down-to-the-minute apps for weather-tracking is Dark Sky Weather, which is one of the most accurate weather apps I’ve found–and trust me, I’ve downloaded ’em all! (Yep, go ahead and add self-taught meteorologist to my skill set.) With this app, I can monitor when rain is expected to arrive and see how long it’s predicted to last, which allows me to make adjustments to our schedule as needed. Unless there is an 80-90% chance that the day will be a total wash, in which case you’ll hear from me early that morning or the evening prior, I typically reach out to confirm we’re moving ahead or rescheduling roughly two hours before your session. Even at a 60% chance of rain, I’ve learned that sometimes nothing blows through and the evening hours are full of sunshine-lined dramatic clouds and vibrant sunsets. For that reason, I prefer to ride it out as long as possible before making that final call.
If we’ve planned for an evening session, I often recommend you block off the majority of the afternoon in the event that precipitation chances look hit-and-miss and we’re able to move your session to a drier period. Sometimes we just need to start a bit earlier to dodge the raindrops or to allow for more optimal lighting conditions at our location. Some locations, such as those more heavily wooded or nestled in valleys tend to lose light quickly when its extremely overcast, but bumping our start time back by an hour or two can buy us a bit more time and light.
Weather is just one of those factors that, unfortunately, falls completely out of our control. That said, you’ll feel better about a little wet weather if you keep the following tips in mind:
- Be flexible by leaving most of your session day open in the event that we can adjust our start time to avoid the rain.
- Have your phone handy throughout the day your session is scheduled for so if I need to reach out to reschedule, you don’t miss it.
- Consider a backup location, particularly if I’m photographing a Rainbow Session and time is of the essence, ideally inside your home.
- Relax. Seriously. I’m obsessively watching the radar enough for both of us!
This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Rainy Days,” check out Gretchen Ciccone with GCiccone Photography, capturing special moments. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.
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