As reported in the news today, the dated ban on weddings outside of the hours 8am to 6pm has been lifted in the UK. For the first time, couples can now get married at the time of day they choose, bringing a lot more flexibility to how their day is celebrated. It is an interesting development and a good sign that some rules which can be seen as inflexible are being updated. By allowing night time weddings, couples could choose a sunset backdrop at an outdoor venue combined with the romance of candlelight, or for urban venues a night-time cityscape.
Less light brings extra challenges for the photography and as ever, it will be important to ensure that photographers are able to meet that task and produce a high standard of images for clients whatever the conditions. I prefer to work with natural light when possible for my documentary work but there are times when it needs to be augmented with alternative lightsources. Sometimes candles in a barn just don't cut it on their own! The skill is knowing when and how to do this in the most natural or appropriate way.
The exception to this (for me) is first dance or evening party shots where I almost always use flash - on or off camera - and don't mind if it looks obvious. It's a part of the day that flash blends well with things like dancefloor spotlights and coloured lighting.
Throughout the year we are used to working in venues with all kinds of lighting to adapt to - it's not just a winter challenge. From pitch dark barns where the only light sources are artificial, through to dark abbeys with bright slivers of sunlight cutting through the gloom or black marquees with fairy lights in the ceiling - all good practise for future night-time wedding photography.