As a photographer, there are some aspects of a wedding day we have little control over. Great light makes for great wedding photos but it’s not always convenient or appropriate to set up your own lighting. I try and work with natural light where possible so I’ve put together a few tips to help you when planning for good light on your wedding day.
TIME OF YEAR
This is one of the biggest factors that will affect the light on your wedding day. Sunset times vary dramatically in the UK from around 3:50 in December to 9:30 in June. It’s usually a great time for couple portraits so it’s worth working out when the sun goes down on your wedding day to schedule some time for photos. I’d recommend planning portraits around an hour before sunset.
If you’re getting married in the winter, it may be worth considering an earlier ceremony to allow plenty of time for portraits in natural light. Artificial light can of course be used but having both gives variety to your final set of images.
If you know there won’t be a lot of natural light on your wedding day, it may be worth booking a second photographer. You’ll receive more images from the parts of the day when there is natural light and they can also help with setting up artificial lighting throughout the evening.
When choosing a place to get ready on your wedding day there are a few things to consider. For hair and makeup, an area next to a big window with lots of natural light coming in will improve the look of your photos. The hair and makeup artists will thank you for it too! Flash can be used during this part of the day but because there are usually lots of people to photograph and a lot of movement so I prefer to use it to enhance the light that’s already there.
It can also help to keep one room free from clutter for getting ready pictures. If you’ve booked a hotel, consider using one of your bridesmaid’s rooms for hair and makeup and keep the suite free for photos. Air bnb’s can be a great alternative if you’ve got a lot of bridesmaids and can help when planning for good light on your wedding day.
Photographers often have little control over light during a ceremony. Flash is often prohibited and can be distracting so getting married in a space with lots of natural light can really improve the look of your photos. It’s also good to turn off any directional ceiling lights that can cause unflattering hot spots.
If your ceremony is outside in the summer, a later ceremony could work well. This means the light will be a lot softer and lower in the sky which reduces the risk of harsh shadows.
SPARKLERS & FIREWORKS
If you’re looking to have sparklers or fireworks, blue hour is a great time to do it. This is just after the sun has set and the orange sky has disappeared. During blue hour it’s dark enough to see the sparklers but it’s also light enough to see everyone clearly which makes for much better photos.
To find out more about how I work see My Approach.