I thought that I’d write an article on ways to get around winter weddings in relation to photography and the early exit of useable daylight. In the winter time, the light can fail us before 5pm in the afternoon, especially if the weather is inclement or overcast, so how do we plan our wedding day to get the best of the day’s light? Of course, there is nothing wrong with night time photography, but it does take longer to set up, long exposures may mean 30 seconds to take a single shot and the spontaneity of the moment is lost in the process. Night time photography requires planning and precise execution. If you blink, the shot is lost and you have to start again. The short and tall of it, is that you will end up with a lot less images and they can turn out looking ‘contrived’ rather than natural.
The first thing to take into consideration is the timing of your ceremony. It is best to have your ceremony an hour or two earlier than you might if getting married during daylight savings time. The earlier in the afternoon is better, allowing as much time as possible for shooting up to the reception. If you are looking for location shots, it can be pointless having a winter ceremony at 5 o’clock as the useable light will be gone before you even begin. I’d suggest no later than 2.30pm for your ceremony, even earlier if you’d like multiple locations.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with night time photography… It will just limit the potential of a rounded photographic coverage of your wedding. Photography needs light, and even though most Melbourne photographers will carry means of lighting you, the means are not available to light an entire landscape or surrounding environment to put you into frame and perspective. Night time photography still needs light. City lights and long exposure photography can help with this. I have recently done some night time sparkler shots in this very instance.
For those that have their ceremony and reception in the one venue, my favourite workaround for this is what I call “Meet the Bride”. Most reception venues that offer an onsite chapel, or garden for ceremonies have a very limited time option between the two. Maybe half an hour before pre-dinner drinks and canapes are served, half an hour for that – and then 15 minutes before the couple is ushered into the reception. If you have a large family and require many formal group shots, this can leave little or no time for couple shots. The concept of “meet the bride” is simple. I go with the bride to a pre determined location and have the groom arrive separately, ‘surprising’ the bride by suddenly being there. There is true magic in people’s reaction to this first meeting – entirely bypassing the dislocation involved with an isle and red carpet.