Honestly, I get it. So much goes into planning a wedding. From deciding on a venue, photographer, and florist to picking out the tiniest special details to include it can become...well, a lot. And I’m sure the last thing on your mind is lighting lol. You should just hire a great photographer and they can do the rest, right??
Well, sort of. I like to think of myself as a master of all terrible lighting scenarios, but we can only do so much and the lighting can really make or break a photograph. Here are a few tips to help you in deciding for best location + lighting scenarios for your wedding or session.
The majority of my sessions are taken outdoors and the timing of the sessions aren’t random! The best time of day for lighting is 30 minutes before sunrise (If it’s an overcast day, we should plan to shoot 30 minutes - 2 hours after after sunrise) and 1-2 hours before sunset.
The best scenario for lighting: full shade or an overcast.
You can get away with shooting mid-day if there’s plenty of shade or if it’s an overcast day.
If you’re having an in home session, when does the light usually floods into your home? I usually plan for these to be mid-day. If there’s an overcast or it’s raining, it may not be the best time to shoot indoors (ironic, I know) the more natural light coming in the better! Different color hues contradict each other, so I’ll probably ask to turn off all the other sources of light as well.
Your hair and makeup stylist will probably already do this, but if not, plan to get ready near a window!
Turn off all other lights in the room (the mixture of light hues can make a photo look funky)
The time of your ceremony sets the timeline for the rest of your day and it’s important you and your guests are comfortable during that time.
Try to avoid a mid-day ceremony in the summer :) This usually ends with everyone sweaty and harsh shadows on your faces in the photos.
Go for a fully shaded spot or an hour or two before sunset.
If you’re not planning to do a first look before the ceremony, keep in mind that the majority of your photos will be taken afterwards and we’ll need 1-2 hours of daylight left to get what we need before the reception.
You probably booked the coolest DJ for your wedding! But hold the lights. Dj lights are really cool for the dance floor and can give cool effects in photos, but that’s usually not the look brides are going for during their first dance. Avoid the colorful LEDs and opt for simple white lights or large bulb string lights to create the romantic feel you’re going for!
Avoid a complete candle light dinner. Candles are romantic but if there’s not enough light in the room, I have to use my flash...which kinda kills the vibe and disrupts the moment. If you’re set on the low light romantic feeling for dinner, set up a few large bulb string lights! This only adds to the mood (and gives some extra details to photos) without completely lighting up the reception.