Outdoor branding photography sessions and weather

This summer has been a juggle to say the very least. The weather has been wild and unpredictable. I don’t remember a ‘summer’ like this one in over 12 years of shooting. And mores so here on the corner of Kent where the south westerly meets the northerly fronts, I’ve grown up here and love the long calm summers.

When it comes to weather, I am always a 24 hours before a shoot kinda gal on really paying attention to it and try not to obsessively refresh the weather. But this summer, this summer {shakes head with stern face while typing} even 24 hours before things have suddenly changed when the shoot arrives.

I was really looking forward to meeting Jeanette, The Mindset Nutritionist for her branding shoot. She wanted to shoot some relaxed lifestyle images that she could use on her website update and across her social media. She loved the idea of shooting at Minnis Bay, having spent many happy childhood summers there. On the morning of her shoot, I did a weather check in Ramsgate, a gentle breeze that confirmed the BBC 10-13mph winds and so we decided to go ahead.

When we arrived at Minnis Bay, I could see the kite surfers and it is a vast open coast line with no trees so it is hard to tell from inside the car how windy it is. As soon as we stepped out of the car, the wind was blowing us sideways, it was nothing short of 40mph winds. I was gobsmacked as I’ve never known the forecast to be so out.

We started shooting and raucous laughter from both of us roared as the wind did battle with our plans. My creative, we will find a way and make it work brain was running in overtime. I suggested using the sheltered seating for some shots and we got some lovey frames and then headed to the prom to see if the beach huts would shelter us…..they didn’t.

But what they did was bring some absolute joy filled frames.

I said to Jeanette, in all my years living in Thanet, I’ve not know weather to be quite like this.

I’d used all my creative ideas and shelter seeking spots and in my mind was thinking we need to pause here, we won’t get a diversity of images if we’re just hidden in shelter and even those areas were windy AF.

So, I did something I’d never done before.

I asked her if she wanted to pause shooting after about 15 mins.

The wind was totally scuppering any way of ‘rolling with’ it, as my optimism tends to search for. I was really conscious that doing this was a big ask after getting ready for the shoot, travelling from mid-Kent, not getting the images on the day we planned to shoot them and for Jeanette being 23 weeks pregnant at the time and juggling work and childcare to find a shoot slot was a time, as well as a financial investment. You see, I am always putting myself in my client’s shoes as I want to do my very best for each and every person I get to shoot with.

Jeanette could not have been more lovely and agreed that the wind was hilariously wild and she was excited to see the ones we had got but shooting in less disruptive weather would be good.

And as 2021 would have it, our second date was wiped out by more wild winds and then third time lucky on a calm evening, bathed in golden light, we got to spend a joyful hour at Pegwell Bay capturing the collection of images without getting totally swept away by wind.

If I am shooting for clients in nature, we are literally gambling with Mother Nature and the weather we get served is totally in her hands. Normally, I’ll make a call 24-48 hours ahead and offer a reschedule if it is too windy or is going to be rained off and we can hatch a plan B.

Never have I had top pause a shoot while it is happening, I know a lot of people wouldn’t want to discuss something like this either. How does this reflect for me as a photographer? Would I want clients knowing?

I am here for the honest authentic journey.

Tt was the right thing to do as I am so aware of the investment you’re making in your branding photography and how that will go on to elevate the visual identity of your brand, it matters to you and it totally matters to me too.

As it happens, Jeanette said the windswept portraits are some of the favourites she’s ever had taken. So the dance with the weather for that quarter of an hour was so worth it and being bathed in golden light was pretty darn good too 🙂

Meet Jeanette – The Mindset Nutritionist – she helps women tired of dieting feel in control of what they are eating and create healthy behaviours that last a lifetime through eating intuitively. She runs group coaching online and needed a diverse set of portraits of her to add to her site and use across socials.

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