From a wedding photographers viewpoint
Congratulations on your engagement! You’ve found the love of your life and now you want to plan to best day of your lives so everything is perfect.
Some of you will be meticulous with every detail, and some of you will be extra chilled and plan things off the cuff. Regardless of how you are at planning you still want everything to be as perfect as possible.
Probably the first dilemma to face once you are engaged and start talking ‘weddings’ is when you are going to tie the knot.
Will it be a Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring time wedding? You’ll probably plan this around a few factors (A special date in your lives, what holidays your job allows, when most of your guests are likely to be available or if you want it hot or cold! to name but a few).
The fact you are reading this means that you’ve given photography some thought. Some of you will just want your special day recorded in images for future viewing without it being too important, but some of you will see it as the most important thing to choose when planning your wedding day.
Either way I am going to go through a few points for you to think about from a professional photographers point of view.
I will talk about the differences between shooting a winter wedding and a summer wedding and show images from the gorgeous Barmbyfield Barn.
This might help you decide if you are unsure which season to choose, and what type of feel you want your wedding to have. I apologise for the length of this blog but I do think it will help you.
Regardless of the time of year you are getting married a lovely venue is so so important. You want a venue that has good options to photograph both inside and out.
Because the UK it is not the most reliable country (understatement!) for good weather, what good is an amazing view/backdrop outside if the inside is boring or really outdated.
Obviously price is a big factor at every wedding but really think if the weather isn’t playing ball will the interior of my wedding venue really show what we are like as a couple or give a certain feel/style that is you?
I can always shoot lovely shots inside, as I have the experience and lighting equipment to do so but it can limit what you may want to achieve. If you have a stunning interior then there is no end of opportunity regardless of the weather.
Hardly any guests like be gathered up for the ‘big’ group shot, but it is more often than not a shot that you will want. It will not surprise you to know that the summer wedding guests are more easy to persuade to go outside than guests at a winter wedding.
This shouldn’t put you off a winter wedding though as the group shots generally should take no more than 30 mins and if you have you heart set on a winter wedding tell them to either wrap up or have a few warming whiskies!
Lights and venue dressing
Summer weddings often fill venues with loads of natural light that is the ‘main’ light you will see inside the venue, whereas winter weddings will need artificial light to be the ‘main’ light.
From my point of view, the more fairy lights, candles, lanterns the better. These types of lights (especially for winter weddings) give such a warm, cosy feel to them and they can add to any venue (good or bad).
They may be a bit lost during a summer wedding, but when it gets late they are just as good as at a winter wedding.
Not all venues are full of character, history or have a cool, quirky feel to them, but with the right room dressing any room can come alive and help us photographers no end!
I and the vast majority of wedding photographers prefer shooting outside using natural light. So the time us photographers have to use natural light is worth thinking about.
If you look at a typical winter wedding (Late December), the sun will be gone by 4pm. Whereas a typical summer wedding (Late July), the light will be going at around 9pm. So for a winter wedding that is five hours less light for a photographer to shoot with natural light. Also if you have a late ceremony during a winter wedding you might literally have one hour of light to get the outside shots.
The extra daylight is definitely a tick in the box for a summer wedding, but, you may actually want a more intimate feel to your images which winter weddings often can portray better than a summer one.
Lots of you guys will want a beautiful blue sky on your wedding day. Now for us photographers that isn’t always the best light at all. If you are getting married somewhere where there is very little cover or shade, sometimes bright sunshine can cause problems (although give me sunny days over rain and wind anytime!!).
Again I am equipped to combat that as in these situations I often use flash to fill in the big shadows that are being created. If your venue has a great place where shade is available (trees, a bit of cover) the sun is no problem at all as a shaded area in sun can get a beautiful soft, even light.
A sunny day at a summer wedding will mean the sun is higher in the sky for longer periods, and often around the ‘usual’ wedding ceremony time (1-2pm). This creates dark shadows under the eyes that ideally wouldn’t be there, whereas a sunny winter wedding has a lower sun which can create stunning light.
The period not long before the sun starts to set is often referred to as ‘the golden hour’, this occurs in all seasons but the winter weddings will obviously get it much sooner and (hopefully) would coincide with your photos. The summer golden hour may be between 7-8pm and might be when evening guests are arriving. But I’m sure if the light was stunning you wouldn’t mind nipping off for ten mins to get a gorgeous photo.
If you want to do a sparkler shot or have fireworks in your wedding photography, generally a winter wedding is best as you would be able to get a wedding photographer to cover all that.
Whereas, if you have a summer wedding and want fireworks you may have to pay the wedding photographer for another hour as they (generally) finish after the first dance (8.30-9pm) and anytime before that it would still be to light for sparkler shots to be effective.
Feel of wedding
Finally, how do you want your wedding to feel? as I have mention previously winter weddings, with the right venue and lighting/dressing can have a very intimate, warm and rich feel to it. Whereas a summer wedding usually feels more open and vibrant.
This can be great as guests can spread out around the grounds and feel more free. But you might want everyone to be together, which often creates great shots of people laughing, drinking and having a party.
Obviously my tips are just a guide and your wedding is YOUR wedding. You make it exactly as you want and make it the best day of your lives!
Differences in light and mood. Same venue, different seasons.
Here I am highlighting how the same venue can feel very different depending on the time of year, flatter light against bright sunshine, the ambient lights etc… Both were wonderful weddings! Kate & David’s winter wedding was filled with love and laughter, and Siobhan & Sam’s summer wedding was so picture perfect and full of fun and love.
The winter wedding was reliant on ambient light whereas the summer wedding was all natural light
Do you want the wedding to be more inside or outside? The temperature will play a part.
Lovely images, very different light and feel