There’s nothing quite like the freedom and beauty of the outdoors – where nature puts on an ever evolving show of colour and texture; stitching together sublime backdrops to be enjoyed during some of life’s most pivotal moments. With a shift away from traditional indoor weddings, the outdoor wedding – be it at a picturesque winery, grand estate or beach – is aptly getting its rightful moment in the sun. To ensure your outdoor wedding is remembered in all of its beautiful glory, it is essential to hire a photographer with experience in capturing nature’s unpredictable temperament. Bethany Hayes sits down with owner and principal photographer at Imajica Photography, Andrew Burns, and seeks his advice on hiring the right photographer to masterfully capture your outdoor wedding.
Image Credit: Imajica Photography
Weddings of today are no longer made to comply with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. While there will always be a place for tradition, nowadays, brides can walk themselves down the aisle, ceremonies can be held virtually anywhere, and a daring candy buffet can be in lieu of a triple-tiered wedding cake. Functioning as our working memory, your wedding photos need to be able to capture the essence and joy of your wedding. Read on to explore Burns’ advice on using the season, elements and natural lighting provided from the outdoors to your advantage.
Know Your Seasons
Hosting a love for landscape photography long before his journey into capturing weddings, Burns is no stranger to taking a killer outdoor image. For weddings hosted purely outdoors, such as at a winery, Burns advises couples to consider starting their ceremony mid- to late-afternoon, especially in summer. “Direction of light and time of day are huge factors,” Burns explains. “Generally speaking the best ‘golden hour’ time is around 1.5 hours before, and thirty minutes after sunset. You can apply the same rule no matter the time of year.”
The season you and your partner choose to tie the knot in is completely your choice – and will of course depend upon personal preference, venue availability and sentimental reasons. If you do have ample availability open to you, however, Burns explains that Spring and Autumn are “generally the best times for stable weather and good light”. “Summer weddings always benefit from a later start as the light can be really unflattering between 11:00am and 2:00pm,” he continues. As every season has its challenges, don’t discount the beauty of a winter wedding either. “While winter days are considerably shorter, the light in the middle of the day is actually really nice, with the sun sitting seasonally lower in the sky,” Burns notes. “Just remember to plan for an earlier start to counter the earlier sunset time.”
If It Rains, Start Dancing
The weather is one of the few things you really can’t control on your wedding day. And when your nuptials are outside, it can be understandable to just want glorious sun, all day long. If your wedding day looks to be a wet one – never fear. With a vast availability of marquees to keep your guests dry, and an experienced photographer at the lens, your day itself and the images are sure to still be winners. “We’re lucky here in Perth that we don’t tend to get too many of those all-day, nonstop rain events. Even on the rainiest days, I’ve always found we’re still able to duck out between showers and still bag some great photos,” the photographer explains. And if it pours the whole time, well that’s a chance to really get creative. “On those rare occasions [where] the rain doesn’t let up, we just get creative: hotel foyers, bars and building porticos can all work really well. With the availability of remote lighting these days we can definitely make it happen, no matter what the weather throws at us,” Burns reassures couples.
Having shot all throughout Australia in some incredible locations such as the Whitsundays, Hayman Island, Kangaroo Island, outback Victoria, Shark Bay and Rottnest being just a few that spring to his mind, Burns knows exactly what criteria affords amazing photo opportunities. “The forest and bushland offer so many incredible photo opportunities with heaps of beautiful, filtered light and some crazy good views.” To complement such views, Burns advocates for couples to do their own thing, while also affirming that “a little direction goes a long way”. “I’ll usually scope out [the couple’s] preferred locations in the lead up to their wedding day. This allows me to work pretty quickly on the day by placing our couples in the best spot with the best light, then simply pullingback; giving them some space and watching what happens.”
When thinking of your dream wedding location, a specific place might spring to mind as being that special one. If it’s the blissful nature of the beach that takes your fancy, Burns encourages couples to “do your photographer a favour, and start later in the day”. “Avoid starting in the middle of the day, as this is where the light is the most unflattering. [I’d suggest starting] around 3:00-4:00pm in summer, and around 2:00pm in winter.” For a forest wedding with lots of lush, soaring trees and natural flora, Burns urges fellow photographers to note where the sun is facing. “Pay attention to the direction of the sun, otherwise you’ll get a lot of dappled, patchy light. This can create ‘hot spots’ in your photos and it’s almost impossible to remove them – especially on a white wedding dress!”
Overcast weather might feel slightly gloomy, but rest assured that during your wedding day photos, it is actually a wonderful gift for your photographer. “Overcast weather is a photographer’s best friend! The light is generally even with no hard lines or hot spots,” Burns affirms. If a night shoot under the stars, while in the arms of your new spouse is what excites you the most, then let your photographer know. “With modern remote lighting set-ups being so portable, shooting at night lets us get really creative. It really is a whole other level of awesomeness.”
There’s no wrong way to do your wedding – provided you’re doing it the way you want to. Good preparation at your location can help ease any stress regarding your photos substantially. “Wherever possible, always check your venue and photo locations around the same time of day that you’re planning for your wedding day,” Burns says. “This will give you a good idea of what the light will be like, and help guide your set-up.” While no one can ever control the weather, nor the lighting on the day, planning in advance and trusting your photographer’s vision will leave you in good stead to have some killer wedding images, admirable for years, and even decades, to come.