Client Guides

March 24, 2023

What if it Rains? | Northern Virginia Photographer

What if it Rains? | Rescheduling Portrait Sessions

This is one of the most common questions I get as a photographer. What happens if it rains on our session date? Find out the answer below depending on which type of session you booked. And scroll down to find out when we make the call.


The good news- not much will change! In most cases, we have sessions rain or shine at the studio. The wall of windows means we get plenty of natural light, even when it’s overcast or gloomy. The one exception is when we get really dark thunderstorms. If it looks like it will be too dark, or if it will be unsafe to drive, we can reschedule to a new date for no extra charge. Also, if you added on film photography to your session, it’s best to have as much light as possible. I will offer you the option to reschedule if we have an overcast or rainy forecast in this case.


You have two options – we can reschedule to another day for no extra charge, or we can move your session to the studio. The studio gets the best light between 10 AM – 2PM, so we may need to change your start time depending on your originally scheduled session. If your chosen location has covered areas, we sometimes move forward with the session if you are unable to reschedule. Also, I always look at the full forecast from the day. If it’s going to rain in the morning, but clear up in the afternoon, it may make sense to move forward with your evening session as scheduled. 

Other weather that can be problematic: snow, high winds, cold weather (once we hit anything below 50 degrees, I check in with parents for sessions with little ones). My outdoor sessions mostly take place April – October (with a few in March and November) to give us the best chance for decent temperatures.


This one is always a tough decision. Technically, we’ll be dry inside on a rainy day. However, the amount of light we can get inside your home is greatly affected by the weather. If you’ve ever noticed your home is much darker on a rainy day, that’s why! In order to get you the best photos possible, I always aim to get a good amount of natural light coming through your windows. Trust me, it’s worth it! However, I don’t like having to move your session if we don’t need to.

If your home has tons of large windows, we may still be fine moving forward with your session. If your home is darker even on a sunny day, I highly recommend rescheduling. If you added film photography to your session, we will definitely need to move it since film requires more light compared to my digital camera. I also have the option of adding artificial light. I sometimes do this anyway in certain rooms, just to be sure the shadows aren’t too dark.

As you can see, this answer is less straightforward! So many variables affect the final result, so I approach it on a case-by-case basis. And I always hope we’ll get lucky with beautiful weather on your date!!

rescheduling portrait in-home family session


If you’re working with me, you can expect an email the day before your session if the forecast may be problematic. I’ll tell you what I recommend and your options. From there, we’ll decide what’s best for your particular session. So you don’t need to worry about watching the weather or reaching out to me at a certain time. I’ve got you covered!! In the rare cases we have a sudden weather shift just before your session, I will also call and text you.

For morning sessions … we typically make the call the evening before in most cases, especially for sunrise sessions. If your session is later in the morning at the studio or at your home, we sometimes make the call that morning just in case the weather changes.

For evening sessions … we typically make the call the morning of the session.

In general, it’s best to wait as long as possible in the event the forecast changes. Trust me – there’s nothing more frustrating than rescheduling only to have beautiful, sunny skies when your session time arrives. (Been there, done that. It’s not fun). I try to be as flexible as possible because I know how excited you are for your portraits, and I want to get them done for you!

A few things to keep in mind. If you have a permit, we may need to make the call earlier. Some permits require rescheduling a certain amount of time beforehand. If you’re using a hair/makeup artist, this is something else to consider. If they need a certain amount of notice in order to reschedule, please tell me ahead of time (there’s a section in the questionnaire).


While weather can be frustrating, it’s out of our control. It’s the one thing I’ve learned over the years. If you’re really worried, my best advice is to find a photographer who takes a low volume number of clients. (Like me). I limit the number of sessions so we can reschedule if needed. I also try to flexible about weather, as I understand it’s no one’s fault. It is a bummer, but we can work around it! Photographers who take on a large number of clients may have less flexibility simply because their calendars are full. These are all things to consider when choosing your photographer.



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