5 Secrets for Capturing Beautiful Wine Country Wedding Photos

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Last summer, I wrote a post titled “8 Hints for Being a Top 2nd Shooter” – and after that wedding shoot, pretty much made the decision NOT to become a wedding photographer. But this week, my Meetup Photo Group will be shooting in a local vineyard, with a few brave souls who have agreed to ‘model’ for us in their wedding attire. All the pretty, none of the stress, right?

Well, there are 52 photographers signed up to participate.  It will be organized chaos, I’m almost sure of it.

Getting ready for that shoot, I put together a list of 5 secrets for capturing beautiful wine country wedding photos:

Secret #1:  Understand the weather.
The Northern California wine country, the coast and vineyards, are unlike any other part of the state.  Who was it that said, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”  It’s true.

Visitors from around the world travel here during our summer months and are surprised that its not always hot. The wine country is known for having some of the coolest foggy mornings, even after warm summer afternoons.

By fall and harvest time, the weather is much warmer and a bit more predictable.  No one can predict the weather, but you can study the past – and if Northern California is your wedding destination, do a little research first.  Some of the most beautiful clear days are in December and January, believe it or not.

Secret #2:  Pick your colors.
If you are getting married in the spring you may be surprised to see that vineyards are in the initial planting stages, and not full or lush at all.  By late June, vineyards should have green leaves and small vine buds or green fruit.

Mid September you will see oranges, yellows and reds, and all colors of fruit.  After October, vines are bare, but some leaves may still remain depending on what grapes are growing.  By winter time, vines are bare – which have a very subtle and interesting color of their own.  It just depends what you are looking for.

Secret #3: See the landscape as a wedding attendant.
Don’t just use the rolling hills, sprawling vines and beautiful tasting rooms as a backdrop.  See them as a part of the wedding party.  Include them, don’t just stand among them. Does that make sense?  Bring all of your lenses – zoom to wide angle to fish eye.  Each will help you create images that tell an amazing story.

Secret #4:  Wait for light.
As a wanna be top photographer, this is a great one to practice here in Northern California.  Some of the most amazing colors in the sky arrive with dawn – soft purples, blues and pinks.  With dusk you will see vivid yellows, oranges and reds. Sunsets are particularly amazing and no two are ever alike.  Be patient and wait it out. You will be glad you did.

Secret #5:  Look past the obvious stuff.
Explore your location a little bit before the wedding starts. In some wineries, you will have special access to things like wine caves and private tasting rooms.  Barrel storage and crush equipment always make for fun shots.

Some of the most interesting  backgrounds may be found along the hillsides, additional winery buildings, even in parking lots.  Be creative.  Look up, down and all around. You may find some really great, non traditional shots –  just by thinking outside the box.

Until next photo,


Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work

  • Sophia

    Thanks for sharing these!!

  • Barn Weddings

    Thanks for sharing those secrets that you have, :D

  • Hey rem – great post and my tip for shooting… extra batteries, and dress in layers!

    Thanks – H

  • you took your photography to a new level last night. step one: insert photo card. bummer! xo Rem

  • Are you planning a wedding any time soon ;-)?

    You could almost make those the rules for the bride to have a great wedding day.

    My secret for shooting in Northern California is to have my son set the camera settings and have you, Heather or whoever is there tell me to take my finger out of the photo …