What if the weather is bad for my wedding?

What is the best weather for a wedding? Sunshine, clouds, rain? Planning the date of your event well ahead of time, you never know what the weather is going to be like, and you can't really change it, so what is a bride to do? And from a photography perspective, how will it affect your images?

Unless you are having your wedding entirely outdoors (for which I hope you have prepared a backup plan), there is really nothing to fear. Different kinds of weather only require different photography techniques and can all produce wonderful photos.

Sunny Days

Most brides think that a bright sunny day is what they should hope for, but with bright harsh sunlight comes stark shadows and high contrast which can be very difficult to work with. 

The same bright light and dark shadows, however, can also produce some very dramatic images. Photos taken on these days can be very striking and although it's not always desired, the lighting can be used to enhance lines and details in surfaces, blow out highlights, or create striking silhouettes. 

Of course it is possible to use shade to reduce the stark effects of the sun and blue skies make an awesome background to any photo. 

Some shade can be used not only to keep the party cool, but to mute the shadows. 

Light modifiers - reflectors, scrims or perhaps even some flash can be used to decrease the sharpness of the shadows and make the images more pleasing.

Rainy Days

Rainy days bring out the colours in greens and flowers. Even while under a shelter, the vivid colours can light up the background of a scene. Moisture hangs onto plants in a way that gives a slight sheen and brightens colour. Add a slightly muted sunlight and less dramatic contrast and the colours can pop right off the page (or screen). 

Although it was raining outside on this wedding
day, the colours on the leaves and the deck
were vibrant and the light balanced
nicely with inside the house.
If it rains all day, shaded or sheltered areas can be used to keep the wedding party dry, while the rain itself can add to the atmosphere in the background of your photograph. 

It doesn't usually rain all day long either; There are often breaks when a wedding party can sneak out from under the shelter to capture some amazing images. 

If you're not afraid to get a little bit wet, photographs under umbrellas or even right out in the rain can be a lot of fun and provide an expression of who the couple are - timidly hiding under an umbrella, or boldly stepping in the puddles.

Dull Days

Dull, overcast days might seem drab and undesirable, but they can also provide some awesome lighting for photos. 

Diffused lighting can be much less harsh and more even on faces. Photographers pay big money for large softboxes to distribute light across their subjects - on a dull day, the sky becomes one very large (and free) softbox.

On a dull day, the sky itself might not be very attractive - bland and gray - but the subject of your wedding photos is not the sky - it's you! So getting closer to you and leaving out the sky, or putting a wall or other texture behind you, can create a pleasing, lower contrast photo with plenty of appeal.

Where shadows are desired on a dull day, off-camera flash can be used to add drama and contrast back into the image.

Torrential Downpours

Although the weather was fine on the wedding day,
this bride chose to have her photos taken in a more
formal studio setting.
Torential downpours? Blinding snowstorms?

Perhaps you don't want to go outside in that kind of weather. I wouldn't blame you! I don't think I do either.

Well, for those situations, there is always studio lighting with backdrops, the inside of the church itself, or the location of your reception. 

It's not the worst situation, honest. Having formal photos taken in the sanctuary of the church you were married in can be a great way to capture the location and your wedding party together. The decorations in some older churches can be very romantic and full of romance.

Even if the weather is great, you might still want to consider some of your formal bride and groom images in the building.

Studio lighting can also be used to bring out textures and highlights that are very difficult to control when outside, and a plain background can be less distracting, highlighting the bride and groom more clearly. 

Some brides will consider using a studio setup even when the weather is great outside!

Don't Worry

Above all, I hope you see by now that no matter what the weather is, you don't need to worry about your photos. If you have a professional photographer who knows how to deal with each situation, they will work with what God provides you on your wedding day and create some splendid images!

All you need to think about is enjoying your wedding day and celebrating your marriage! 

Leave the task of getting great photos to your photographer.

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography


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