Why should we be flexible, creative and never rely on the weather forecasts in Koh Samui?
You may be ask:
"— Should we cancel or postpone the photoshoot if it looks like raining?'"
The short answer is:
However, I must go to some details here, since I'm getting asked it A LOT.
As a professional photographer I always look at the weather forecast and compare it with the real situation. For the last 5 years that I live on Koh Samui I tried about 10 different websites and over 15 applications. None of them helped much.
So, guys, please:
Do not trust any weather forecast on Koh Samui.
All of them are lying. It is absolutely unpredictable island.
It must be very difficult to predict the weather at a small piece of the land within the ocean.
What is the plan?
Usually it is good to look at the real situation on the day of shooting. In case of big chance of rain we can start our shooting earlier. That gives us a chance to make a break if rain happens. And that’s everything what we can do.
Can photos be good enough without the sun?
Sunny and cloudy days usually imply two different moods, and hence different approaches. Any weather has pros and cons. At sunny day with blue sky and harsh light everything on the photos will be bright and contrast. The water has nice color. But it will also be stupidly hot. And you won't be able to keep from squinting your eyes. However, on a cloudy day it’s easy to get photos without sweat drops over the makeup, sweat stains on clothes, to keep your eyes open and wrinkles discreet. Of course, the colors will be more soft and calm. But at the same time, it's more likely to get interesting pictures with dramatic sky.
Tropical surrounding, beaches and ocean views have always been the main Ko Samui kicker. When it's cloudy or rainy, it still beautiful. There is one exception: prolonged heavy rains in November. Every year there will be a week or two when you definitely don't want to go out. You will know "This is it", when you see it.
A couple of situations from my experience.
Story #1. Let’s change the date for photo shooting, because of morning rain
It happened when I just I arrived in Koh Samui. I’ve planned photo shooting at a sunset time, but that morning it rained. Back then I was inexperienced in Koh Samui weather's mood swings and looked at forecasts. I decided to postpone the shoot to the next day. You can imagine my surprise when in the afternoon the rain stops and in the next hours there was no a single cloud in the sky left. Meanwhile, the weather forecasts still shown it was raining here the whole day. And what was the most annoying, on the next day (when we did a photo shoot) the weather was worse than on the day before.
Story #2. Difference in the weather on the other side
That day I planned to explore some beaches on the other side of the island. It was about half a year of my stay on Koh Samui. I lived at Chaweng area and I wanted to check beaches at Lipa Noi and Thaling Ngam areas. They are on the opposite side of the island. Accidentally, I left home without my wallet. After several hours of exploring, I felt thirsty. It was very hot, the sun was burning me and there were only a few clouds. I coped with that somehow and went home closer to sunset time. I haven’t been in my neighbourhood for about 5-6 hours. The roads there were wet, and I saw deep puddles everywhere. I was told that it was raining heavily here for hours. At the same time, as I said, on the other side of the island was exhausted from the hot sun and the lack of shade.
Story #3. Sunset after the rain
I have been on the island for more than two years and observed the situation with such weather changes many times. Therefore, in 90% of cases I did not postpone photo shoots. That day was a rainy one. I went to pick up my clients. The rain didn’t stop on our way to location. We waited 10-15 more minutes and the rain stopped. After that the whole shooting was very nice. The light from clouds was soft and we enjoyed the sunset.
What do you think about this?