Shooting A Wedding In Freezing Cold October Weather

What do you do when just about everything turns against you during
a wedding that you’ve been contracted to document?
I had such a day this past weekend.

It was my last wedding of what was a fairly busy and overall excellent wedding
season, loaded with great memories, people and photos. And great weather!

Until this weekend. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all bad. I mean the people
were great, the bride was stunning, and the events unfolded fairly seamlessly.

Maybe i got spoiled from having such a great run weather wise all year. This
wedding, my last, was ccoollldd! And wet. And it snowed too!

When adverse conditions affect you and your wedding day photography,
it’s vital to be able to pull it together and do the very best you can to ensure
that you not only get great images, but that you lead all those involved,
and help create solutions.

My attitude is such that whatever happens, we can always find a solution,
and their will be images, story, for me to capture.

So, when bad things happen, like crappy weather, document it as such.

For example, since it was the day before halloween, there was decor on the
brides home yard. Hence the pumpkin, and snow shots:

After shooting the brides home inside where it was nice and warm, I mentioned
going outside for a few street shots. Now, I like shooting these, since most times
there is a lot of history on this street. This is where the bride grew up. Loads of memories.

I knew she was going to be reluctant. I could tell. This is key. Know what’s
going on with the bride so you can take the best approach. What I did was
mentioned going outside, but I aimed that suggestion at the bridesmaids. You see
they are my best allies. I felt confident enough they would pick up on the idea
suggested, and run with it.
When I suggested it, and they excitedly agreed, they
now owned the idea. So if the bride says no, because it’s too cold and snowy and
rainy, she has to say no to them, her best friends. Their enthusiasm makes it
happen. How manipulative of me :)

So outside in the cold and wet we went, creating some cool memories. Why not!?
The bridesmaids loved the idea.

For me, getting the memories is key. Even if we’re cold and uncomfortable.
After all, after the day is done, the only thing left are these images. So it’s my
responsibility to make sure I do whatever I need to do to get the absolute best
and most images possible. No excuses. That’s what being a pro is all about.

Look at the snow in these images after the ceremony. No one wanted to walk the two blocks we
walked to get to where we were going. I pushed the issue, reminding them
how close it really was. I knew they were being reluctant and fearful of the cold.
Dang, that cold! But I pressed on, with manners and good grace of course,
but with persistence. And it paid off…

The guys before the ceremony, in the rain. Work fast, and furious, and get them
inside. The guys don’t freeze as much as the girls, so they tend to be easier
to challenge….but, photos aren’t as keen for them as they are for the ladies….

Walking up to the church before the ceremony…umbrellas tell the tale and make
the story…..

After the ceremony, I asked the priest if we could use the church for 20 minutes.
I know in many parts doing the formals in the church is standard, but for us, it’s
almost unheard of. Unless it’s freezing cold and wet outside. So, I set up three
Nikon SB 800′s. Main through a shoot through, the kicker and background flash straight light, all on pocket wizards, ISO 1200, 5.6.


After walking downtown and freezing, we went into a local pub warmed up,
then off we go to shoot some more. They had some cool masks to work
in the halloween them. It was raining, but up against the wall, it remained almost dry. And still cold.

This shot was simple, and I took a whole series of images here…the bride alone,the
bridesmaids alone…etc etc. It’s under a doorway to a mens’ clothing store. The roof
came out enough to stop the rain, and open shade created some cool light
pumped up by the use of my 6 foot reflectors. You can see the specular catchlights
in their eyes.

Again, in open shade, protected by the rain by roofs and overhangs……

The bride did NOT want any studio shots, otherwise I would
have taken them all there. Since I knew what she wanted,
even if she was reluctant to freeze, which she did, I knew I had to lead, communicate, and forge ahead, through the wet and cold,and have everyone believe in me as I take them to hell and back, metaphorically speaking.

The images in this post is only a small sampling of the entire
range of images I ended up with.

Many people think taking wedding images is easy. Not so. Many
rank amateurs would cave under these circumstances that I went through. I believe
knowing what to do, including all the technical stuff…lenses, lights, reflectors,
cameras, shutter speeds, etc etc etc, and creative
stuff such as composition, lighting, posing…etc etc etc
combined with trying circumstances can only happen when one attains
the confidence and expertise, seeming seamless and easy, from years
and years of hard experience.

There’s no excuse for crap images, or, worse yet, no images, because
of excuses and tough circumstances that you let control you instead of you
controlling them….