Laura and Martin – Aren’t We Lucky with the Weather!
Cooden Beach Hotel, East Sussex - September 2012
When you are a wedding photographer you look at the light. Actually, when you’re any sort of photographer you look at the light and how you’ll work with it, but you are generally on your own when doing this.
In the case of weddings I know that I’m not going to be the only one attending with a camera, but I do know that I’ll be the only one looking at the light, and therefore the weather, in a certain way.
I know everyone hopes for perfect weather for a wedding: sunshine, blue skies and no wind. After all who would want to see the bride and groom scurrying away from rain drops under bleak skies. A photographer’s definition of perfect weather can be a little different from everyone else’s though.
Laura and Martin’s wedding was a case in point. It was a glorious late September day, barely a cloud in the sky and the wedding was to take place in the afternoon at the Cooden Beach Hotel just outside of Bexhill in East Sussex.
I arrived in plenty of time, having finished a pre-ceremony shoot with the bride and her grandmother in Hove, and was told for the first time “Aren’t you lucky with the weather?” I wasn’t convinced. On a late September afternoon without cloud cover strong sunlight was pouring out of the west, relatively close to the horizon. The ceremony room was facing directly westward, so the windows would be backlit by the sun. Furthermore, after the ceremony, the couple would be emerging would be emerging into the sun for a drinks reception on the lawn. This meant that I would have to avoid group portraits with the couple squinting into the sun or silhouetted by strong sunlight behind them.
This is the sort of situation where the question “Why hire a professional wedding photographer?” is answered. I know how to ensure that the important areas of the image are properly exposed, and how to position my subjects to minimise the impact of adverse conditions.
I know how to use fill flash outdoors to counteract backlighting, without bleaching out my subjects. And of course a professional photographer knows how to make additional corrections to a digital image file on the PC.
I know from the couple’s reactions to my photographs that they were worried about how their day was going to look. They had already seen photos taken on phones and with compact cameras, all silhouettes or squinty eyes, or with the bride’s dressed completely bleached out. I was happy to be able to give them images that reflected the day as they remembered it. And we were lucky with the weather :)