I remember a time when all my brides wanted sunny days, or at the very least, it had to be dry. Now? Well, I seem to predominantly have brides who want stormy looking skies and darker days. They want something different for their album, something memorable. Paula and Craig were no different; the day swung from sunshine in the morning, through stormy skies mid afternoon, until a torrential downpour at the point of the informal portraits.

I take my hat off to both of them, they were certainly game! Not only was it chucking it down, it was damned cold too. For that reason, as I scurried around setting the lights and building my scene, I kept Paula and Craig in the car till the last possible moment. I set a single Safari Classic head camera right at about shoulder height, firing at ¼ output through a 120cm folding Octa.

The shot was more about balancing the Safari output with the ambient so the background didn’t just evaporate to black. The Safari needed to be quite low output, because really, it was only used to provide a little lift to the couple, but mainly to highlight the rain.

Post processing wise, it was converted in Lightroom 3.2, with a touch of the standard “punch” preset to add to the mood.

Nikon D3 1/50th sec ISO400 24-70mm f4.5

This was taken a little before the above image, as I was fine tuning the lighting. Whilst I quite like the image, I felt the lighting was a little more obvious, and possibly darkened off the ambient a little too much. It wasn’t as balanced as I wanted, as the viewer’s eyes would be drawn to the brighter area of the couple, and I wanted the weather to play quite a large part of the image. The Safari head was much closer for this image and I was using an ISO of 200, which is why the background of trees is darker in the distance. The output on the Safari was at ¼ and the only things that changed between this image and the landscape one above was the increase in ISO to 400 plus a reduction in shutter speed from 1/60th to 1/50th sec.

Nikon D3 1/60th sec ISO200 24-70mm f4.5

One of my mistakes was not getting the Safari generator into the plastic bag quick enough. I just couldn’t assemble my lighting rig and get it packed into the plastic bag quick enough to keep it dry. It was absolutely hammering it down! This caused a few problems, such as destroying a very expensive pair of shoes that I wore for the first time that day. They lasted about eight hours and had to be thrown. The other issue I had was the fact rain had managed to seep into the sync port of the Safari. Well, “seep” possibly isn’t a strong enough word, “pour” may be better! Basically, the Safari started to misfire and I went through the usual steps such as replacing the batteries in the radio receiver, checking the transmitter etc etc. The fact it still misfired when using a sync lead gave the game away.

On the upside, a misfire gave me the opportunity to show you how much impact the light was having on the scene. Although the rain is still evident in the puddles, the grooms jacket etc, there’s no light catching the rain at all. The groom’s suit becomes quite dull, and the bridal gown doesn’t exactly exude affluence either. You will also notice the slight shift in colour balance on the stonework, gravel and the couple. The WB was set to flash, and of course, t’ain’t none. This was taken after I had moved the head back and adjusted the shutter speed, so it should have looked akin to the landscape image above.

Nikon D3 1/50th sec ISO400 24-70mm f4.5

Plastic bags are one of the most essential bits of kit for location shooters, and I carry a roll of them. However, when it’s raining as hard as it was on this occasion, I should really have bagged it at the boot of the car, and then made the connections. But that would have left the lead in the rain till I connected it, so not sure which would be better. Anyway, I know I’ll be taking wellies in future!

Talking of wellies, those fabulous pink and blue polka dot wellies worn by Paula, were supplied by the hotel. The Coniston Hotel at Coniston Cold, not far from Skiption. A wonderful hotel with amazing staff and a beautiful view across a lake. Fantastic opportunities for bridal portraits, even in the rain!

The wedding co-ordinator is Victoria Yates, who is extremely supportive on the day. Victoria can be contacted via weddings@theconistonhotel.com or phone the hotel on 01756 748080

Wedding photography at the Coniston Hotel is such an opportunity to provide really quite unique images for the bride and groom, there’s solutions for anything the weather can throw at you. Honest!

I provide training via Focal Point.