Enjoy the day you’re given

Now that our three older kids are entering the stage of going to dances and parties and special events, I get almost as excited as they do about any opportunity they have to get dressed up and do something fancy. I love taking their photos, and I usually start planning a few days in advance for some fun photo ideas.

Our oldest son went to homecoming on Saturday, and he and his date asked if I could photograph them before the dance. They had gone to his homecoming three weeks ago, and we got some beautiful shots. We were all excited about the chance to shoot more photos before the dance at her school across town.

We all agreed it would be fun to shoot photos of the two of them on a big bridge that’s not too far away. Then, we hoped to get some group shots with her friends by the river. Now that the sunset is a little earlier, the timing would work out perfectly to get silhouette shots of them framed by the sunset. I had the whole photo shoot planned out in my mind.

But when Saturday arrived, Mother Nature had other ideas. The rain started in the middle of the night. It was coming down in sheets, with intense lightning and loud claps of thunder. The rain continued all morning. I convinced myself that by mid-afternoon, we would get a break. I envisioned the clouds parting to wow us with a beautiful backdrop, just in time for our photo shoot.

Finally, by mid-afternoon, I had to concede to the weather. The rain was only getting more intense, coming down in thick waves. Just when you thought it might slow down just a little, another round would hit. Torrential downpour would have been an understatement.

That’s when it hit me that I needed to stop trying to create the perfect photo-op out of impossible conditions. Instead, I needed to think of a way to capture the beauty of what we’d been given. So, how do you take outdoor natural light photos of people who are dressed up and don’t want to get wet when it’s pouring down rain?

With an umbrella, of course!

As I was driving to the home of my son’s date, I noticed several covered pavilions in the parks by her house. This might work!

We ended up with some really fun shots of the two of them standing under an umbrella together. You can’t tell from the photos how hard it was actually raining, so I thought I would post some other shots to show the whole experience.

Here’s my son trying his best to keep his date dry as they walked up to the pavilion.

I edited the photos to look like they were standing outside, but they were really covered by a small section of roof.

I was actually the one who got soaked because I had to stand outside of the covered area to get far enough away to take the photos. Thankfully, my son’s friend’s mom held an umbrella over me to try to keep me from getting too wet!

With a little help from Photoshop, I was able to delete a random picnic table and crop out the top of the pavilion to create some cute photos of the two of them “outdoors”.

Can you see how hard the rain is coming down as we rushed back to our cars?

Well, these two had amazing attitudes on what was probably the worst weather imaginable for homecoming. We also created some great memories of taking photos in that crazy storm! And I was reminded of a lesson that’s often hard for me to remember. Instead of trying to create a perfect experience, just find a way to enjoy the day you’re given!

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