The Okanagan is known for its sunshine, wine and epic views. This is why it is one of the most popular wedding destinations in Canada. It’s the views that draw people to the valley to get married and is the selling feature for many venues. These couples not only want a gorgeous vista as their backdrop for their nuptials, but they are also banking on having those backgrounds in most of their photos. However, those may not always be the best places to take photos. From a photographers perspective, we are always looking for great light! Great light means great photos and having an Okanagan view may not always be the best location to get the lighting we are looking for. This is where trusting your photographer comes into play.
Although the summers here are sunny and perfect for outdoor weddings, they can bring many problems when it comes to photography. Bright sunny days create harsh light and strong shadows so for a natural light photographer such as myself, I prefer to keep my clients facing away from direct sunlight. Which means sometimes they are facing a direction that does not have those amazing views behind them. Depending on what side of the valley you are getting married on, the sun may be right in your eyes or coming at you from the side when trying to capture the view you want. This makes for super bright photos with squinting eyes and odd shadows on your face which are unflattering. There is really not much that can be done to keep these things from happening, unless your photographer works with off camera lighting while shooting outdoors. Even then, there are better angles to work with.
Another reason you may not get the views in your shot is heavy smoke obscuring the lake and hills. Summer time is dry and over the past several years, there have been a lot of forest fires in or around the valley. It can get so thick that it totally hides the views you love. An easy way to avoid this is to plan your wedding in the shoulder seasons.
I always say that photographers see things differently than others. We don’t just see a view or a tree or a blue sky. We see shadows on the ground. We look for soft light that will flatter your skin tones. We look for angles that compliment your poses. We see how the sun bounces off of buildings, sidewalks and the leaves in the trees. We avoid the places and backgrounds that will distract from what we are there to photograph…you!
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t mind trying to get that vantage point you have your heart set on. We understand! But it just might not be exactly where you thought it would be. So if your photographer says, “yes we can get the lake in the background, but lets take it over there instead” trust them and follow their lead.
In all honesty though, the best wedding photos are the ones that have the great light and genuine emotion. As a photographer, I also want those epic views in my shots, but most of my focus will be on you. The photos you will cherish will be the ones that express the feelings you had the day you married your true love! That will be captured on your face, in your eyes and in the way you embrace each other. As beautiful as the Okanagan valley is, it can’t compare to the love I see between two people.