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Getting the most out of your winter wedding photography

Winter is an increasingly popular time for couples to get married and many venues, suppliers and photographers are now busy all year round.  There’s something very lovely about a winter wedding: cosy fires, seasonal decorative ideas, candles and warming comfort food.

It is also a wonderful time of the year for photography.  Winter weddings can feature some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll see all year. The golden hour light in the winter is often spectacular.  There’s also something very romantic about wrapping up for a frosty stomp around a park, or a visit to an area with lots of twinkly lights.

Photography challenges for winter weddings

As a wedding photographer though, winter weddings can be some of the trickiest to photograph. Your photographer needs to be able to master their flash and have access to high end photography equipment that copes well with low light situations.

The latter is especially important as flash is often not allowed at all during wedding ceremonies.  They’ll also need to be able to light your portraits and group shots if you’re planning a late winter wedding ceremony.

Here are a few tips and things to consider, to help you to make the most of your winter wedding photography experience:

Think about your ceremony time

If you have your heart set on natural light, daytime portraits then your ceremony really needs to be finished by about 2pm / 2: 30pm at the latest. You can read more about on the day timings here.

As an alternative you might want to do a First Look. A first look is where the couple meet before the ceremony, on their own, and spend a bit of time together having their portraits taken. The two of you seeing each other for the first time makes for a great photo opportunity and it’s a brilliant way of making sure you get portraits in natural light.

Darker, moodier pictures

If you have your heart set on not seeing either other before the ceremony, you can still get amazing wedding photography portraits but they’ll either be darker and moodier or they’ll be shot with artificial light.winter wedding photography bride and groom giant flowers

the roost wedding photography dalston-89

Book an experienced photographer

Are they competent with flash and off camera lighting? Do they have a plan to light your group shots if these take place after dark?  What are their ideas for portraits that embrace the dark or can they add their own lighting to create something brighter?  Night time portraits take a lot more skill, a little bit more planning and additional equipment.

Chantal and Kerr smalloff camera flash portrait

Some elements might not work

How ever competent your photographer is in low light, there are some elements of the day you might need to let go of.  A confetti shot can’t be photographed spontaneously, as you need extra lighting.  If you want a big group shot with everyone it can be tricky to light if you don’t have time and space to set it up.  They are definetly achievable but they need time factored in to set up and test lighting.

Think about travel arrangements

It is important to leave extra time for travel in the winter months. The roads can be perilous, especially if it snows.  Extra time will make your day way less stressful.

If the big day arrives with perfect weather conditions, then you will have more time for photos or to mingle with your guests.

If your photographer is travelling to shoot your day, it’s always worth considering bolting on an extra night’s accommodation so they arrive plenty of time before hand.  If they have to travel on the day of the wedding and there is unexpected bad weather, they may have difficulty getting to you.

Dress for the worst case scenario

You might not have planned to buy a pair of winter boots for your big day, but they could be a life saver in bad weather conditions.

Shawls or wraps, matching accessories such as hats and gloves and a good umbrella can also save the day.  Getting your wedding party outside with their matching cold weather clothes or umbrellas can make for a fun shot.

Bring your coat! If you do want to go outside for some photographs it’s great to be able to pop your coat on in between shots. You might even want to nominate a member of the wedding party to be the official coat carrier.  Maybe bring a little splash of something in a hip-flask…
Hoxton Hotel Wedding Photography-26

Head for the decorations

For your engagement shoot look for venues that feature dramatic Christmas decoration displays, to create a colourful backdrop.  As an alternative, wedding photography in bustling crowds and unusual locations brimming with light can lift a winter engagement shoot into a warm and vibrant scene.


Parks are lovely too but the light can be quite flat on overcast days, so compensate by wearing brightly coloured clothes.  Stopping somewhere for a mulled wine in a cosy pub can make for some nice, candid images.  And photographers love mulled wine!

Smithfield Wedding Photography London

Find more posts in my planning your wedding photography series here