Planning winter wedding photos

Jul 24, 2018 | Wedding advice & ideas

When planning your winter wedding in Essex there are some things you might want to take into consideration for achieving the best photographs. If you like the look of natural light wedding photos then this blog post is a must-read.

Fewer light hours

With the light hours in the winter being much shorter you may have to plan your timeline slightly differently to a summer wedding, bringing things forward if you can and changing the order of the day to achieve the style of photographs that you love.


First look

If your ceremony is fairly late in the afternoon (3pm onwards) I would definitely recommend a first look. A first look is where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, this allows doing couple photos before the service and in the past, I’ve even photographed smaller family groups during this time. Doing a first look enables you to make the most of the daylight hours you have available allows your photos to be filled with natural light. It also means that after the ceremony the formal photos are done and you can enjoy time mingling with your wedding guests.

Ceremony times

If you are not planning a first look I would recommend a ceremony start time of no later than 1pm especially if there is travel involved between the ceremony and the reception. In my option the earlier the ceremony the better in terms of photographs.

For example if you were getting married at 1pm on the 21st December (shortest day) in Braintree the sunset is at 3.49pm, and your wedding service was 1 hour long (some church services can be) followed by a 30 minute drive to the venue, this would take you to 2.30pm (if there’s no traffic/delays).

Although you might think you still have 1 hour and 20 minutes to get your photos done, you are more likely to have 1 hour because you lose winter light so quickly and if it is an overcast/rainy day you will lose the light even quicker. Once you’ve lost the natural light, there is no way to recreate the natural light with an on-camera flash as it will have a completely different style.

Your venue

If you booked your Essex wedding venue in the summer, it’s pretty likely that your chosen wedding venue is going to look very different come winter. If time allows I would recommend visiting your venue in the winter so you have an idea of what it will look like come your big day, in particular, if any plants are still in colour, for the majority of venues you will probably have a couple of evergreens. Don’t worry if there isn’t any plant life as we can still get some lovely photos, the photos will just reflect the time of year.


When going between locations during couple photos I always recommend that the wedding couple, (in particular the bride) has a jacket/coat that they can put on between photos so they don’t get too cold.


All wedding photos in this blog post were taken between December – February so you can see what sort of lighting we had available.