Tips + Techniques

Tips to Transform Gloomy Weather Shoots into IG Reels

January 31, 2024

By Caroline Tran

If you’ve had any experience trying to get family portrait photography done in San Francisco, you’ll know that you really must account for the weather. Unlike Southern California, where it’s sunny more often than not, in San Francisco, frequent fog, clouds and rain can really dampen the scene. But with the right gear, you can work with that light and even come out with IG reels to use for your marketing.

For this family session, my client Terry (see more of her and her lovely family in their Joshua Tree National Park Family Session) had her heart set on doing it amongst the towering eucalyptus trees in the Presidio, so we both traveled quite a long way to get there. However, when we arrived, we were met with the most dark and ominous weather. While I couldn’t control the weather, I could work with light! See the slideshow above to see how we turned this gloomy scene into a warm, light-filled one.

[Read: Spotlight on the WPPI Lighting Masters Summit]

© Caroline Tran

Having driven all the way to San Francisco for this shoot actually worked in my favor when it came to transforming this scene. I had packed all my lighting gear with me—reflector, light stand, and strobes—so they were easily accessible when I saw what we were dealing with. If you’re a photographer and want to learn the specifics about how I did this, my All About Lights and All About Flash courses are for you! Mastering light will allow you to shoot in a wide variety of situations and times (no more just booking sessions during golden hour!) and is key to successful sessions and happy clients.

It’s also important to remember that your photo sessions can easily be turned into IG reels for your online marketing. Here’s a reel I made for this shoot.

Caroline Tran’s Tips for Turning a Shoot into a Reel:

1. Make some vertical video (from your phone is fine) during the shoot to capture some action.

2. Create a catchy title/theme to hook people into watching. (My theme for this shoot was “Trying to Beat the Rain.”)

3. Have a concise and clear point to your reel (such as an interesting story or tips for your readers).

4. Use trending audio, so you are found in searches for that audio.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared on Caroline Tran’s blog.

Caroline Tran, Rangefinder’s 2021 Creator of the Year, is an internationally published photographer and educator who helps other photographers work smarter, not harder with strategic marketing and workflow. She offers online Small Group Coaching and one-on-one mentoring. Catch her at WPPI this March teaching “Snap and Roll: Easy IG Reels for Marketing” and “Reel in Success: Enhancing Your Photography Business with Video Marketing.”

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