It started to get dark, really dark, but I was NOT prepared for what came next.

The forecast for Saturday was “the pick of the week”; in the high 80’s by the beach with sun all day. I had been following the weather all week because I had a boatload of shoots that day: a 2019 college graduate, two models and nine high school seniors that are part of my Influencer Team. Also, a little brand work mixed in. It was a busy day a long time planned with basic timeframes for each set. Confirmed, packed and ready to roll.

I made the trek down to Newport in good time and there wasn’t too much traffic. (Win!) First stop, Salve Regina University for some cap and gown portraits. It was still sunny, but there were some clouds rolling in. I checked the weather again: “a passing shower may come through lasting about 15 minutes”. Push the schedule back 15 minutes, no big deal. Summer sprinkles can leave pretty skies behind, especially for photographs at the beach. I continued on and got some lovely sunny cap and gown portraits of Brittany. But then, it started to get dark, really dark. The wind picked up and started ripping the leaves off of the trees. Looking down at the ocean from the Cliff Walk went from serene to scary. Brittany’s grad cap kept flying off and it was starting to rain, so we figured it would be a good time to head back to the car and head to the beach for the next set of images.

We made it just in time. As we were leaving it started to hail! Ice chunks the size of marbles were pummeling my car. Traffic started building up because cars were pulling off to the sides of the road to try and hide under large trees. The roads started flash flooding as the ice chunks built up near the drain areas. Holy. Crap. The hail lasted about 15 minutes, but the dark clouds and rain lingered. My next clients were already at the beach and we still had a good 10 minute drive down a road where cars were not moving. I swore. Out loud. The shoots were getting backed up into each other and I hate rushing or making people have to wait. Even though I always get blessed with the most caring and understanding clients, it still bugs me when things don’t go as planned because I want and intend and PLAN for everything to run smoothly , so that their experience is nothing short of amazing.

So, I took a deep breath. And another. I remembered a time where a similar situation occurred and reminded myself that this is no big deal. I refocused my thinking from all the things going on around me, to instead figure out how I would readjust everyone to make sure that they have a fun time and I would get some amazing shots of a fun beach day. The rain and clouds would clear up, I just needed to GET THERE.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing the images from the day. If you want to see how it all went, you’re going to have to follow my Instagram account: @jenniferhelmka

How do you react when things don’t go as planned? Do you freak out and become an asshole to everyone around you? Do you procrastinate in trying to move forward? (you know what I mean, the couch, ice cream and some Netflix…) Do you push through?

As of late, I have been diving deep into how to stay focused and keep a positive mind set. Everything I’m learning is so valuable to anyone, especially as I think about all of the high school seniors and college graduates that I work with. High School Seniors (high school in general really) and college grads aren’t really taught how to do this and as a result we see so many kids, younger and younger have anxiety about…life. About growing up and what’s next. I mean I did too, but I see it even more now. So, for all the teenagers, college kids and parents reading this, go follow my Instagram right now both to see how this day ended up AND to learn about how to keep your mind focused on the important stuff when there’s a dark cloud looming over you and a hail storm threatening. You can do this. 🙌

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