How to be the Perfect Winter Wedding Photographer
As one of the UK’s top-rated winter wedding photographers, I’m often asked for advice on how to shoot the perfect winter wedding. There’s lots to consider, from getting the lighting right to understanding the expectations of your clients. Here are my top five winter wedding photography tips:
1. Manage Client Needs and Expectations
One of the most important jobs a photographer can do even before they press the shutter is manage their clients’ expectations. Winter weddings can be very challenging and it is worth making sure you are all on the same page.
Before you start shooting it is important to provide your potential clients with information about your experience in shooting winter weddings and show them examples of your work. It would be a good idea to show them as many weddings as possible so they can be fully satisfied with the quality of your work and what they can expect when they book you.
If, however, you have not shot a winter wedding or have limited experience, you must let your clients know. Build their confidence in you with examples of other commissions you have undertaken. That way your clients are fully informed and they will appreciate your honesty.
One thing to note: It is extremely important that you are honest with yourself as a photographer. Over-promising and under-delivering is a sure fire way of ending up with very disappointed clients.
2. Plan, Plan and Plan
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Winston Churchill
Ask any photographer if a wedding ever goes according to plan and most will agree that they almost never do. This is even more so in a winter wedding when you have extreme weather to factor in.
It is a good idea to sit down with your clients at an early stage of the planning process and run through their timings for the wedding day. For example, if you know the bride and groom want the family pictures outside of the church but weather conditions are poor, make sure you have agreed and planned beforehand for a place to shoot the groups indoors and that you have the time to do this. The same goes for the portraits of the couple.
You can’t fight the weather, so go with the flow when it comes to capturing the conditions of the day. If it’s raining when the bride gets out of the wedding car and is being sheltered by the ushers and their umbrellas, don’t hide in the church – get out there and photograph this interesting moment.
Lots of snow around? Then find a decent vantage point away from the church or venue and photograph the scene to remind the bride and groom how picturesque things were on their wedding day.
When photographing snow do not take your meter reading directly from the snow, take it from other subjects within the scene, such as the skin of your bride and groom or the church building. This will ensure you are overexposing the scene rather underexposing.
It is also worth noting that your camera and lenses will take time to adjust moving between extremes of temperature. For instance, when you have been standing outside in cold conditions and then go to shoot in warm conditions the condensation will collect on your lens and camera body.
A good idea is to have one camera for use outside and when you are working inside use your spare camera with spare lens until your main camera has acclimatised to the warmer conditions. A good tip when having to remove moisture from your camera is to place the camera in front of the blowers of your car heaters – place the heater on warm and watch the condensation disappear.
When it is really cold, it is a good idea to keep a battery or two inside your coat for warmth as batteries tend to drain faster when in cold conditions.
4. Use the Light
The light fades fast during winter weddings and it is not always appropriate or possible to use flash or studio lights during the wedding. One way to get around this is to be creative with the lights available in the venues you are working in, particularly when photographing the portraits of the bride and groom.
That large lamp in the hotel or the string of LED lights can be used as a backdrop can provide the source of light needed to make your portraits stand out from the crowd. Perhaps chuck in a tiny amount of flash for another light source to mix it all up and watch your images pop.
Always have a backup plan for every part of the day, from the second location for the groups and portraits to spare batteries, cameras, lenses and memory cards.
Some cameras allow you to back up your work to a second memory card and this should be utilised at all times. If you are unable to back up your images to a second memory card, you should upload them and back them up to a hard drive using a laptop if you have one available. If not, keep the cards on your person at all times until you have managed to duplicate them onto a drive back at the office.
You can enjoy (or not) more of my work at CKP Weddings