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Wedding Photography
Lighting Guide For Bride
And Grooms

How To Achieve The Best Outcome
For Your Wedding Photos

So its the lead-up to your wedding, you made a booking, and paid your deposit, what next? As a wedding photographer, I don't want to completely dictate the timeline of your wedding day, but I'd love to share some tips to help you plan and get the best out of your day.

Educating my clients on best practices for lighting, setting and timing is crucial in order for me to achieve great images. After all, you've hired me from my specific style and vision, if I don't communicate what I need in order to achieve these, my job is made much harder on the day. Since you are trusting me to create the best images, it's my job to help you create the setting for this to happen. All images you see here on my website and on my social media we created in good lighting.

Lighting is key in photography, it is too often overlooked and its importance is very much underestimated. So this guy is actually mainly a guide on lighting! I'm in natural light photographer and I live for gorgeous natural lighting, incorporating flash only during the reception (Dancefloor photos), after the Sun goes down. I don't want to recreate the lighting on your wedding day by using flash, goal is to capture all wedding's warmth and document your day in the most authentic way possible. There are times when a little preparation can make a huge difference in the outcome of your photos.

Bride getting ready in Italy putting earrings in
Reflection of bride in mirror
Bride checking her makeup in the mirror

Conditions to avoid: Small dark rooms with lots of clutter, who is with no windows a real nightmare and anything with mixed light (example: a little bit of daylight + mostly orange tungsten bulbs, tungsten + fluorescent lights, daylight + florescent light, etc).

It's hard to see with the naked eye, but photos in a badly lit room can lead to added skin colours. Please be aware that coloured walls and florescent or tungsten lighting are not the most flattering in general  (it creates a blue/green tone of light - and no one wants green skin!), so if you have other better options for getting ready they might be worth considering. 

Portraits Of You Two & Group Photos:

On a clear sunny day, Lighting around 10 am - 5 pm has pretty harsh sunlight (which will lead to shadows under the eyes, nose-shadow moustaches and squinting eyes), therefore in this situation, you would want to look for an interesting backdrop that can be used to shade yourself and family /friends in group photos, or plan to do these photos at a later time of day. The perfect time for these photos would be at sundown, a.k.a. Golden Hour, my favourite light to shoot in and in my opinion the most flattering beautiful light there is available to man. I would suggest you consider taking 20 - 30 minutes (or less - even 10 minutes if you cannot manage that long) out of your evening plans to go outside and take some beautiful portraits during Golden Hour (the last hour and a half or so before the sun goes down).

Bride and groom at sunset
Bride smiling at groom with sunset behind them
Bride and groom in the woods
Bride kissing groom in the sunset
Bride and groom holding hands walking down a road at sunset

Ceremony:

Outdoor ceremonies are my favourite to photograph, but if you're going to be in direct sunlight (no shade or just spotted / dappled light from a tree), try to avoid the hours between 10 am - 3 pm. If not possible, consider having some type of canopy (in a neutral, light colour) to stand under to avoid harsh shadows on your face. This will also avoid you from getting too hot. It also makes for more interesting landscape photos of the ceremony site if it's a bit later in the day and the Sun is a little lower, but not necessarily sunset. In summer months, the ideal time would be about 2 - 3 hours before sunset.

If you are having an indoor ceremony for example, in a church, consider light. Some churches are very dark with dark-coloured windows, this is often difficult to create flattering lighting on each of your faces. If possible, pick light churches with white walls and lots of window light. Also in any indoor venue, make sure you two are facing the natural light from the windows and not having your back to these. I try avoiding using flash at all costs in darker venues as flash really takes away from the atmosphere and warmth of the room.

Bride and groom with lake Como in Italy behind them
Groom kissing bride
Mother of groom looking at the happy couple as they exchange rings

RECEPTION/PARTY:

There are so many variables here and lighting varies from person to person and venue to venue, but my vote is always natural looking, warm light and lots of light. Italian string lights are a beautiful way to add a pretty Bokeh look (the out-of-focus orbs in the background of photos) to backdrops. They’re ideal for garden areas, to make borders around dance floors and eating areas, and they help to light the perimeter of the reception in a beautiful way, indoors or out. 

The more lights at your reception, the better! I’ll be able to document the true feeling and atmosphere of your evening celebrations if you help by adding enough light for me to do so. Most photographers (myself included) prefer not to rely on the use of flash too much if at all possible so please consider incorporating other light sources such as candles, hanging chandeliers, string lights and neutral-coloured lighting to help achieve the best outcome for your photos.

If you’re having a ballroom wedding, it’s best to avoid overly warm colours (red, orange, pink, purple). DJ lights can lead to coloured splotches on you and your guests, so use caution when discussing lights with your DJ. 

And if you’re having a very small wedding, consider booking a well-designed cafe or restaurant that has lots of window lighting and light fixtures that you already love — unlike wedding venues that are a little more of a blank canvas for you to build on, restaurants and cafes are branded and designed with lighting taken into consideration and might be an easy, more flattering venue if they can accommodate your party size.

Bride fist pumping the air
Bride and groom having first dance
Bride and groom at night with lights around them

Thanks for reading through this! You’re obviously not required to use any of this information, but my end goal is to participate alongside you in order to give you resources to achieve the best wedding photos possible. By applying all, most or some of these tips here we will be on the right path to better images and ultimately you will be happier with the outcome. Here’s to a happy (and well-lit) wedding!

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