There’s nothing to shooting a spring or a summer wedding. The weather is warm, the natural light is bright and long-lasting, and aside from the occasional rainstorm, it can feel like everything is trying to work with you to set up your shots. If you’re shooting a wedding in the fall or winter, though, you might feel like the elements are resentful that they’re just there to be a backdrop. Fortunately, a little preparation can stop even a bad winter day from turning into a diva. Just keep some of the following tips in mind.
Tip #1: Shoot Early (Before You Lose The Light)
While you can always set up artificial light, there’s nothing like getting plenty of natural light for a wedding shoot. Unfortunately, you’ve got a pretty limited window in the fall, and a much more limited one in the winter. As such, you should work with the wedding party to try getting together early for group shots, portraits, etc. There’s nothing worse than trying to race the day, so give yourself plenty of time to take all the pictures you need.
Tip #2: Scout The Location Ahead of Time
If you have the luxury of time, it’s a good idea to scout out the area you’re going to be shooting at beforehand. Even if you’ve been there before, it’s important to get a sense of where the leaves have fallen, where there are piles of snow, etc. so you can plan for them when it comes time to start taking pictures. There’s nothing worse than showing up and trying to compose shots on the fly, so try to figure out some potential shots before you have everyone on the spot waiting for you to compose them.
Tip #3: Dress For The Weather (Yourself, And The Wedding Party)
Fall and winter have a tendency to be cold. This isn’t news to anyone, but it’s important to dress for the weather if you’re going to be out in it and shooting. More importantly, you need to make sure the people you’re shooting are prepared for the weather if they’re going to be out in it. Too often people will bring bulky, ugly outer clothes to cover up their formal wear, which is not conducive to getting a good shot. So make sure that your subjects know to bring shawls, capes, formal overcoats, or other warm clothes if you’re going to be outside in the cold for any length of time.
Tip #4: Think Carefully About Your Color Composition
Fall is full of beautiful colors, and winter tends to make for a stark backdrop against your subjects, but as any photographer knows color can be a curse just as surely as it’s a blessing. Because while the bride’s cream dress might show up perfectly against autumnal reds and yellows, the same color might give you fits if it’s backed by clean, white snow. Coordinate with your subjects, and make sure you have an idea of what they’re going to be wearing for the shoot so you can start arranging it in your head.
Tip #5: Keep An Eye on The Weather
A lot of the time there’s nothing you can really do about the weather; it’s going to do whatever it wants. This is particularly true if you’re working on a tight schedule, and you don’t have the ability to shift availability with clear skies. So make sure that wind, rain, plummeting temperatures, or even oncoming snows don’t catch you off-guard. Sometimes all it takes is being aware of the changes to be able to roll with them, and still assemble a beautiful shoot despite Mother Nature.
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