Winter wedding tips and special offer

 

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Christmas tree and log fire at Penmaenuchaf Hall, near Dolgellau

I love a good winter wedding – it’s a magical time of year, especially as it gets closer to Christmas and venues are lit up with fairy lights, Christmas trees and log fires.

Also, far fewer couples get married in winter, which means things can sometimes be cheaper and venues and vendors are more likely to be available.

Christmas mountain bike light painting at Penmaenuchaf Hall, Dolgellau

 

It’s no wonder that winter weddings are becoming more and more popular!

Winter does have its disadvantages though.

It’s more likely to be cold, windy and rainy, and you’re definitely going to have fewer hours of daylight.

But if you have a warm and cosy venue, being battened down inside might be rather romantic.

In front of the Christmas tree at Seiont Manor

The other thing to consider is that bad weather and darkness make photography more challenging.

On a sunny summer day, your guests will likely get some nice shots. There’s plenty of light and cameras will give good results in automatic mode.

Typically, when it’s darker, cameras in automatic mode will slow the shutter speed down to the point where pictures are blurry.

Using off camera flash at winter wedding at Y Galeri, Caernarfon

 

This is why I use off-camera flash much more often in winter: gel-warmed and softened light looks beautiful.

It is also harder for a camera to focus when it’s dark – another thing that can cause blurry photos.

Christmas wedding group shots at Penmaenuchaf Hall

 

A trick I sometimes use is to focus on a light source, such as a mobile phone, although in this set up picture I forgot to ask the groom to put his phone away!

We did a whole series of group shots in almost complete darkness.

tom simone north wales wedding photographer 2

Night time can offer it’s own photographic opportunities, and a technique I sometime use is light-painting.

This involves using a long shutter speed, 30 seconds for example, and then drawing with something like a torch or sparklers while the pictures is being taken.

I also like the bokeh – the out of focus points of light – you get from things like Christmas trees.

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If you are thinking about getting married in winter then I’d love to hear from you.

 

Wedding photography, Beaumaris, Suzanne & Paul

Here are some photos from Suzanne and Paul’s wedding in Beaumaris:

Anglesey wedding photographer, Beaumaris, Suzanne & Paul

It was a great wedding and a bit of rain just added to the drama of walking down Beaumaris pier.

My photographer friend Liam Kurmos helped me deliver the photo-documentary approach that Suzanne and Paul asked and we were really pleased with the results.

I received this lovely email from Suzanne after the wedding:

“Thanks very much for the photos we received today, great work and some cracking photos in there, thank you. You’ve certainly caught some split second moments that capture the day really well. I particularly like the pier shots too capturing the fun of the journey there and back in the wind and rain as well as the stunning photo at the end of pier, nice.”

One of my favourite photographs from the day was of one of the flower girls:

Anglesey Wedding Photographer, Beaumaris

I used off camera flash shot through the banisters to create the lighting effect, something which I’d planned in my pre-wedding photography scouting trip – see a few posts down.

Planned shot from before wedding

Portemierion pre-Wedding Film & Photography scouting

I’ve got two weddings at Portmeirion coming up – one where I’m a photographer and one where I’m filming – so I decided to take a visit.

In case you don’t already know, Portmeirion is an Italianate resort village in Gwynedd, on the coast of Snowdonia in North Wales (thank you Wikipedia!)

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects. Portmeirion’s architectural bricolage and deliberately fanciful nostalgia have been noted as an influence on the development of postmodernism in architecture in the late 20th century.

Okay, time to stop copying and pasting from wikipedia…

Basically, Portmeirion is a beautiful little village with lots of interesting architecture and pastel colours. And it’s next to a beach/estuary.

Weddings at Portmeirion - Hercules Hall

Weddings at Portmeirion - Hercules Hall

I spoke to one of the Delyths  – the sales manager – and apparently they have about 100 weddings a year there. This is no surprise, Portmeirion is a kind of fairy tale place to get married and also about as good as it gets from a photographer’s point of view.

Hercules Hall, the Tudor Room and Mirror Room hold Civil Wedding licences for large and small ceremonies – I’ll be working in Hercules Hall.

The couple are facing the large window when they get married, which means they will be lit very nicely without using flash. This is a big help when it comes to filming/photographing.

The dark wood paneling means the light falls off very quickly, so the guests will be relatively dark in photographs. I think that’s fine, it helps highlight the bride and groom.

For filming the wood has less of an effect because my video camera has a higher dynamic range, i.e. more of what is being captured has a normalised exposure.

The ceiling is much lighter and has some incredible carvings on it. I think this could be incorporated into photos of the bride and groom by taking a low POV and looking upwards.

The floor is made of varnished floorboards, which will reflect the bride’s white dress and should look very nice. The reflection can be helped with a little flick of downwards flash.

Weddings at Portmeirion - backdrops for photography

Weddings at Portmeirion - backdrops for photography

I did notice a couple of large air-con units in Hercules Hall, which I was a bit wary of

because they could cause white noise on video footage.

However, I was told they’re turned off during the ceremony, so that’s ok.

As any wedding photographer knows, doorways are our bread and butter.

The light from the front and the darker background make them perfect for highlighting the bride and groom, so long as it’s not too bright and sunny.

Doorways also make great frames and can give photographs a symmetry that is aesthetically pleasing.

Not surprisingly, Portmeirion has so many that it’s hard to know where to start.

There is a doorway as you exit the building where Hercules Hall is, but this archway caught my eye.

I like the symmetry of the pillars, the pastel pink, and I think the bride would look gorgeous photographed here.

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Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

The best place for the groups shots is probably the lawn in the centre of Portmeirion village.

It’s on an incline, which makes it easier to get rows of people on different levels (so we can see everyone’s face).

That roman-esque looking building, with all the pillars, would make a good place for a groups shot of the men. The pillars can be used to frame them.

The tower in the background is the dominant piece of architecture at Portmeirion (in my opinion) and there are nice shots of the bride and groom to be had as you walk up the steps towards it.

The bride and groom I’ve been booked to photograph are very different heights, which can sometimes pose a challenge.

However, because there are so many different levels at Portmeirion it should be straightforward to position them to best effect.

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Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

Wedding photography at Portmeirion

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The wedding breakfast and speeches are held in the restaurant down near the beach.

The top table is in front of this wood paneling, which is ideal.

This photo might not look like much, but it’s actually a great backdrop for photographing/filming the speeches and the people on the top table.

The building also has a couple of stairways which make good locations for shots of the bride from above.

The evening entertainment and first dance are back at the top in Hecules Hall.

Why do I write up notes on these pre-wedding photos scouts?

The main reason is for me to know exactly what I’m doing on clients’ wedding days – I like to be uber-organised and prepared, it makes a massive difference on the wedding day.

Secondly, it gives my clients the opportunity to see exactly what I’ll be doing on their wedding day, which is always a good thing.

Hopefully these note may also be of use to other photographers who shoot at the same location.

Photography at Lucy & Dave’s wedding at St David’s Park, Ewloe (near Chester & Wrexham)

I had a great time at Lucy and David’s wedding at St David’s Park, Ewloe – which isn’t far from Chester and Wrexham.

The weather was superb, really sunny, and everybody was very relaxed, chilling out on the lawn.

As well as being really nice people, Lucy and Dave looked the part and we got some beautiful photographs.

Lucy & Dave, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

Lucy & Dave, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

I’d spotted the reflections in this piano and mirror on a visit before their wedding. I asked Lucy & Dave to act natural and be intimate, (something they were very good at! 🙂 ) and we got some lovely shots.

Lucy, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

Lucy, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

In this shot Lucy was stood by the door (a light source) and I simply asked her to hold her flowers up.

Wedding group shot, St David's Park, Ewloe, near Wrexham & Chester

Wedding group shot, St David's Park, Ewloe, near Wrexham & Chester

Haha – I love this photo!

I’d already bagged a couple of group shots with everyone looking at the camera so I asked the guests to give some loving to the person closest to them – yes, I am  that cheesy! – and now the more I look at this photo the more it makes me smile.

The day was made easier thanks to the help from Jonathon, and old school friend who’s pretty nifty with a camera. Although he could be a ‘tog his heart is set on becoming a pilot and you can see his website here http://www.flywithjon.co.uk .

I’ll be putting the rest of the photos up in a password protected online gallery in the next couple of weeks.

You can see how I scouted for photos at St David’s Park here.

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