WEDDING PLANNING: HOW TO GET THE BEST WEDDING PHOTOS
“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.”
– Alfred Stieglitz
Light is the most important thing in getting beautiful wedding photographs. I am an available light photographer and try to work with natural light where possible. Where there is awesome light, is when the magic happens. Weird lighting can make photography interesting, blurry images can evoke emotion without the need for unnatural fill from flashes.
I can work with even the most difficult conditions on the wedding day, I try and capture the feeling and ambiance you experienced on the day without being distracting so your photos will reflect the emotion you felt on the day. I also carry with my flashguns and video light so I can use them if we need them (for example for group shots during the winter or on a rainy day). As a rule, I only bring out the flash once the sun has gone down or for terrible yellow lights or strip lights that do weird things to photos.
“No photographs taken with the aid of flash light, either, if only out of respect for the actual light – even when there isn’t any of it.” —Henri Cartier-Bresson – “The Decisive Moment”
As a professional wedding photographer, I plan for light at each and every venue I photograph, and I often visit venues where I haven’t shot before the wedding. I also use apps and websites such as Suncalc to plan out how the light will fall on your wedding day. That being said there are some things to think about when planning your day that can make your photos extra special.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up from photographing in all kinds of weird and crazy light to help you get the best photos from your day.
1. Getting ready
Where you choose to get ready can have an impact on the outcome of your photos, look for large windows with lots of natural light and plenty of open plan space. This will also help your hair and make up artists.
Air B&B or other holiday rental properties is also a great option giving you the opportunity to hire unique and interestingly decorated places which are free from fire exit signs, fire extinguishers. This will give you a much more unique and fun place to get ready.
2. The Ceremony
Outdoor Ceremonies – if you are planning for an outdoor ceremony it’s always good to have a back up plan just incase the weather isn’t how you had hoped. Midday is when the sun is highest and can leave for unflattering shadows on your face, so it may be worth looking at a shaded area for your ceremony. Clouds make for the most flattering light for your ceremony as they help to filter the harsh sunlight.
Indoor ceremonies – the best space for your ceremony is a light and bright room, opt for the brightest room if you have a choice. Otherwise set up the room so you are next to a large window. Dark rooms can create a lot of atmosphere and ambience, but make sure they are well lit, avoid red lighting and up-lighters.
3. Couple Shots – Sunset & Golden Hour
Nice sunsets are pretty rare and you need a clear evening with no or little cloud to get one. If you would like sunset photos please let me know, and I can have a look at the day the sun sets at your venue. The best sunsets I’ve seen have been on the west coast of Scotland and the west of Loch Lomand where there is little in the way of buildings, trees etc to block the light.
30-60 minutes before sunset is where you get the best light in my experience, this is also called golden hour where you get beautiful soft light and super flattering pictures. If I see some amazing light, I may steal you away from dessert!
4. Dusk & Night-time
The hour after sunset aka. blue hour or dusk, before the sun has fully set is also a great time for photos, especially for city weddings. The ambient light of the city lights comes through into your photos or if you have fairy / festoon lights this is the best time for photos with these and the blue in the sky looks fantastic.
Night-time shots with flash or sparkler photos are a fantastic idea once the sun has fully set. You can even use your phone torch as a safer alternative to sparklers.
5. On the dance floor
If you want fantastic dancing shots, make sure your band / DJ has an awesome lighting set up, please ask them not to use laser dots! Fairy lights and festoon lights are also great for this part of the day and I can take fun & creative shot using flash. Confetti during your first dance works well for a real WOW moment.
For summer weddings, keep the natural light coming into the reception room for your first dance shots (this is also a great idea for speeches) for natural ambient shots
That being said, don’t worry too much about the light (or the weather!) – I’ve worked in lots of different venues and lighting conditions from bright sunny days to dark caves and basement venues with next to no light so can make the most out of any venues and situations.
If you have any questions about planning your day, or are looking for a photographer get in touch and we can have a chat.