Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Wedding Photos 101

So you want to get married in the winter? In the bleak, cold months of the year with no leaves and no warmth and no birds chirping in the trees?  Well, first of all, I salute you. If you're getting married in the winter, you're probably an against-the-grain, march to your own drummer kind of person, and that's something I like. Or maybe there's another reason, like deployment or job situations or little ones. Whatever the reason, I hope this blog can make it less daunting and more appealing, as I've photographed enough winter weddings now to have stockpiled a few do's and don'ts. One thing's for sure: Winter weddings can actually be fun!  So get excited, cause here we go:

1. Think about the space. Especially the spaces that have 4 walls around them. Most wedding parties can be up for a few outdoor shots when it's below freezing, but it's best to have at least 2-3 places in mind that would be fun for indoor photos. Think of places with architecture you enjoy, good natural lighting (read: windows! skylights!), appealing art on the walls (nudes aren't perhaps the best backdrop for wedding photos), interesting sculptures, fountains, etc. If it's around Christmastime and you'd like to incorporate some decorations that you didn't have to buy or make yourself, think about doing photos in a nice hotel that's already done the hard work for you. One couple asked a local candy store if we could photograph inside their Wonka-esque space, and those photos are some of my favorites. Whatever the space, though, make sure you find out if taking photos there is alright with the owners/management. And by all means (even though people are more lenient on ladies in wedding gowns): get permission!

2. Think about the color.  With the aforementioned lack of leaves on trees and the grass not so green (on either side), infusing color into your photos is a great idea. Props can make this easy, and in these photos below you can see what a difference some pink balloons and red straws/Izze drinks can make in the otherwise bleak background. Props are also a fun way to incorporate any inside jokes you share with your spouse-to-be, as I've had one couple use some very colorful rock climbing ropes in their photos because that's something they love to do together. If you have a membership to a botanical garden, this is a great option as they usually have both color and indoor/outdoor options. Just know that the great outdoors don't have to be off limits altogether in the bleak mid-winter if you can incorporate color. It's like having pictures in Oz versus pictures in Kansas :)

Pink balloons can do a lot for a dead landscape!

3. Think about the temperature. Summer weddings are the dream for girls because we get to prance around in sleeveless dresses and soak in the sun. Winter weddings... not so much. And as much as your bridesmaids love you and are honored to be standing with you on this glorious day, they will probably love you even more if you don't turn them into icicles by parading them all over town without said sleeves on this glorious day! I've seen lots of creative ways to accommodate this dilemma, from shooting more indoors (like I've already mentioned), to buying matching scarves as a bridesmaids' gift, to thermoses full of hot beverages waiting on hand. And brides, don't forget about yourself either. A simple shawl can be both a classy and utilitarian way to combat your own frostbite. And, of course, that man of yours should be offering you his jacket anyways ;) A recent wedding I shot in Louisiana had a hot chocolate bar at the reception, and that was definitely a crowd pleaser. But, I have to say, my favorite way to combat the cold (that never fails) is a good old fashioned dance party! So, don't be afraid to bust a move, and know that you don't even have to wait til the reception to do so :) 

Thought this shawl was super classy and helped keep the warmth in. 

The wedding party was oh-so-thankful for this free standing fireplace. Hot chocolate/coffee bar, complete with your choice of mallows and creamers.
See? This guy ain't cold.

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