Photography in Winter by Coloratti Kevin Mullins
by Dave Mobbs – December 5th, 2017
Photography in winter demands some extra planning and preparation. The first thing to think about when shooting weddings in winter is to be prepared with the right clothes and footwear. Squelching around for hours with cold, wet feet is no fun! Make sure you have warm enough clothes, a waterproof coat and sturdy waterproof shoes.
By and large in the UK we don’t have many really arctic days, but it’s good to be prepared just in case. Extremes of temperature can affect battery life. And working batteries can be the difference between getting 900 shots and 600 shots. So spare batteries should definitely be in the case. My cameras are also weather-sealed so they are resistant to rain. And rain is really a given if you live in the UK.
Winter Conditions Affect Equipment
You also need to be aware of the effects on your equipment of moving between cold and warm environments. If you’re going from outside into a nice warm venue, the temperature of the lens will change and steam up. The camera viewfinder may not see it, but it may have an impact on the images that you won’t see until the edit. Make sure you have a lens cloth with you.
More Muted Colours
Typically when couples choose to have a winter wedding, they want a cosy, romantic setting. And ceremonies are often held later in the day than they are in the summer. You need to factor in the light conditions as obviously it gets dark a lot earlier. Discuss this with your clients beforehand, and ensure that their expectations are managed. For instance, if they want some outdoor shots after the ceremony, chances are they will need to be pre-lit.
Generally I like to shoot with natural light as much as possible. If it’s light from a source such as candles, look at the direction of the light and where it’s falling in the scene. Then you can determine your best vantage point.
Spot metering can be useful in really low light situations when there’s a point of light. It can make light areas lighter and dark areas darker. So a scene that looks quite benign in real life can get quite dramatic. This can be better than using a flash, or brightening the whole area. All cameras have different metering, so you need to understand your camera to predict the results.
In terms of colour, winter weddings tend to be more muted. Winter weddings are often more about holly,Christmas trees and red roses than lots of colourful flowers. Often people will shoot more black and white images. The season lends itself better to this mood. And it also makes processing and colour correction a bit easier. There can be less clutter and noise in the picture, which is a bit easier for editing. Even with black and white, though, the image still needs to be color managed correctly.
To achieve the highest level of on-screen colour accuracy when grading, I use the X-Rite i1Display Pro with my BenQ 32 inch SW monitor. At the beginning of each week, I calibrate my monitor to ensure that the images I am viewing on-screen are accurately representing my digital files. Not only does this guarantee colour precision and control but also helps me to speed up my workflow. And this is critical for me as a wedding photographer as I am editing a lot of images each week.
More about Kevin Mullins
Kevin is a multi award winning wedding photographer and social documentary photographer. Based in Wiltshire, UK, Kevin shoots weddings right across the UK, Europe and beyond. In January 2015 Kevin was awarded his Associateship of the SWPP, of which he was the first member to achieve that level using a 100% Reportage Panel of pictures. He is also only one of a handful of photographers to be a member of the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers. Check out Kevin’s amazing portfolio here.
Learn more about X-Rite color management solutions at xritephoto.com.