Weddings that take place in the holiday season are fantastic. If you and your future spouse are thinking about scheduling your nuptials in late December, we could not recommend that you do highly enough. The decorations, trees and entire atmosphere give your marriage celebrations a festive vibe that cannot be duplicated at other times of year. In our time as Northern Virginia wedding photographers, we have noticed that everyone at holiday weddings seems to be having a lot of fun. And fun marriage celebrations make for really memorable wedding photos!
The festive atmosphere at holiday season nuptial events is not the only thing that helps your Northern Virginia wedding photographers create stunning images of you and your future spouse. The aforementioned decorations — in particular, the lights — make gorgeous backdrops for your couples portraits. They also help give your pictures that critical sense of time and place that we have mentioned elsewhere on this website. That injects added context into the images, which makes it easier for a person viewing them to understand the stories behind them.
The best part about the lights, though, is the creative possibilities that they open up. The best photographers can use them to make magic. For example, they can shoot through the branches of a tree, turning the lights into blurry orbs in the foreground. Alternatively, they can frame a shot of you that includes lights of many different colors, making the background of your photos a dazzling panoply of hues.
For the couple featured in the portrait posted here, we actually chose to go with a more conservative approach. We simply had them pose in front of the Alexandria City Hall Christmas tree. Because they were pretty close to the tree and we used a tighter-angle lens, the entire tree was not in the frame. This created the effect that we were looking for. We wanted the lights to be a consistent backdrop behind the couple — something like a wall. That way, the background would have a nice texture but would not distract from the couple. To ensure that the newlyweds would be the complete center of attention, though, we added a couple of other elements. We had them hold a transparent umbrella above their heads and placed a flash between them and the tree. The artificial light illuminated them from behind, creating some separation between them and the background. When it hit the umbrella, it also reflected some light onto the other sides of their faces. This helped keep them from being turned into silhouettes. The results, as you can see here, were spectacular.
This particular shot was part of a much larger series of holiday-themed portraits that we took of this lovely couple. After they tied the knot at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Virginia, they dropped off their wedding party and headed to Old Town Alexandria for their portraiture. We had suggested that they turn this portion of their day into a holiday-themed photo tour of that part of Alexandria. They loved the idea and set aside additional time in their wedding-day schedule to make sure they could do it. We started at The Alexandrian, a luxury hotel that had set up a “Winter Wonderland” outdoor bar and lounge in its central courtyard. We took some shots of the couple cuddling on the couches there before heading on to the next stop. On the way to City Hall, we created some beautiful images of them walking down Old Town’s historic streets. Once we reached that historic building, we took a number of different shots of them near the aforementioned enormous tree. In addition to the one posted here, we also got some lovely pictures of them dancing in front of City Hall with the tree looming behind them.
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