Winter wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Paul and Jennifer’s winter wedding was a treat for all the senses. Think delicious wafts of mulled wine filling the marquee, the refreshing scent of pine in the bouquets, the bride walking to church at sunset, a romantic candlelit ceremony, striking jewel coloured outfits, rustic pine cone placenames, elegant white table flowers… Swoon!
I photographed one of Jennifer’s sister’s weddings the year before so it was lovely to be back amongst familiar faces; the wet-nosed and furry faces of the family especially!
Jennifer grew up next door to the church so it felt really meaningful as she got ready with her sisters in her childhood home and then walked down the garden path to the church. With four bridesmaids, four flower maids, four flower girls and four page boys the entrance into church was spectacular! (Yes, group photos with all those littles ones were tricky!) And that was followed by a cosy marquee reception.
I’ll be honest though…
A mid-winter wedding with a ceremony at 3.30pm isn’t for the faint-hearted wedding photographer! But even though it’s harder work to shoot a winter wedding, it’s fun too. Both the cold and the challenge give me a buzz!
If you’re planning a winter wedding, especially one where most things will happen after-dark, read on! If not, scroll straight to the photos!
Spring, summer and autumn weddings are significantly easier to photograph than winter weddings. The quality and abundance of daylight allows me to work faster. The less gear I have to set up and keep track of, the quicker I can get on with actually taking photos. It’s discreet too – no bright flash going off and catching your eye every few minutes!
But for winter weddings, especially those happening later in the day, I need to add artificial light. As romantic as sunset skies and candlelight are, it isn’t sufficient for photography. When you come out of the church and run the confetti gauntlet in the pitch black it has to be lit somehow. Portraits in a location that’s illuminated only by festoon lights, as stylish and atmospheric as they are, need additional lighting.
I used natural light where I could for Paul and Jennifer’s wedding. There were some gorgeous little pockets of window light for some of the prep. It was just light enough outside as the guests arrived and the church’s own lighting was enough (in combination with extreme camera settings!) for the main part of the ceremony.
When it was much too dark, I added a couple of big daylight-esque LED panels to provide a constant source of light to work with.
For me, LED panels are ideal for balancing the need for extra light with being subtle and unobtrusive. They’re on constantly (as opposed to a flash which fires each time the camera shutter is pressed) so it becomes part of the background. With an assistant on hand to set them up, change the brightness and move them when required, I can work almost as freely as I can with natural light.
Paul and Jennifer wisely hired coloured uplighters for the trees and strung masses of festoon lights around the garden and marquee. These aren’t enough to light a photograph on their own but they look great in the backgrounds which would otherwise be a black hole.
So if you’re planning to get married in the depths of winter, I recommend asking potential photographers how they’ll deal with the lack of light. There’s no right or wrong answer. The above is just what I do. But it’s a very real challenge that needs to be handled by an experienced professional.
Are you planning a winter wedding?
I’m excited just thinking about it! What a cool time of year to get married ;) Got to love a pun!
If you’re looking for a calm and low key wedding photographer to capture your wedding naturally while you focus on the fun, we might be a good match!
I’m excited to hear from you!