December 3rd 2014, Planning your Wedding Photography
Winter Wedding Photography
Winter is an increasingly popular time for couples to get married and many venues, suppliers and photographers are now as busy throughout the winter as they are at other points in the year. 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 wedding photography can feature some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll see all year. The light at Golden Hour in the winter is often spectacular and there’s something very romantic about wrapping up for a frosty stomp around a park, or a visit to and area with lots of twinkly Christmas lights.
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 (especially at church weddings).
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:
1. 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 some portraits in natural light.
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.
2. Book a photographer who’s comfortable working in low light
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? Do they have ideas for portraits that embrace the dark or can they add their own lighting to create something brighter? Night time portraits take a bit more skill, a little bit more planning and set up and often involve the use of off camera lighting but I really enjoy doing them.
How ever competent your photographer is in low light, there are some elements of the day you might need to let go of, for example a confetti shot or a big group shot with everyone can be tricky to light if you don’t have enough time or the right space to set them up. They are definetly achievable but they need time factored in to set up and test lighting.
3. 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, so allow extra time to make your day 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’re there 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.
4. 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 (and I would always encourage it, where ever possible), 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. You might even want a little splash of something in a hipflask…
5. 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.
Find more posts in my planning your wedding photography series here