All the cold and wet weather we’ve recently been having has been making me long for a return to the unusually long and sunny summer we had last year. I did so many weddings in the sun that I felt I was working in another country. One very (very) hot and sunny wedding in particular came to mind when I was choosing a wedding to add to my blog and that was Anne and John’s relaxed wedding at Lochgreen House Hotel.
I enjoyed their wedding for so many reasons. I knew several people there as I had photographed Anne’s twin sister (who was a bridesmaid today) at her wedding a few years ago, so I already knew all of her family. John’s father is a church minister and he conducted the ceremony at Oakshaw Trinity church in Paisley. The weather, obviously, was a big help but mainly I just loved their laid-back approach to everything. They had all the key elements you’d expect to find at any other wedding but they were just so relaxed that it made their day so much more enjoyable. As a photographer they asked very little from me. I just had to keep taking pictures to tell the story of the day and they wanted very few posed pictures at all.
The laid-back vibe, in fact, meant that everyone was having such a good time that we didn’t manage to get any formal family pictures done before dinner. This didn’t worry me in the slightest and had the benefit of being able to make use of the perfect early-evening light. I’ll be brutally honest here – having a wedding in the summer and then taking pictures outside in the sun in the middle of the day is a terrible idea, but everyone does it anyway in the UK. I doubt few professional photographers would ever actually choose to do a shoot outside when the sun is so high in the sky. It doesn’t present a problem for me – I am very experienced at dealing with a very wide range of lighting conditions and I can easily cope with some bright sunshine – but by adjusting the time of the photographs you can increase the potential for better lighting and, subsequently, capture even better photographs. On a sunny day the perfect time for photography is the so-called Golden Hour just after sunrise and just before sunset. In reality you don’t have to be quite so confined to a specific time but, without a doubt, taking photographs outside towards the end of the day is a fantastic idea and will reward you with even more beautiful photographs. Nobody is squinting, people don’t look so hot, the light has a wonderful soft warmth to it and I don’t have to use much fill-in flash to counter the very strong contrast. For a number of years I have actually made a point of encouraging the bride and groom to have one or two pictures after dinner in the summer to make the most of the softer light. Perhaps I should also shoot a few of the family groups then too.