Now You Hadn’t Thought of That! Timing a Wedding for the Best Lighting Conditions


Ask any wedding photographer what their key skill is and they will tell you it’s getting the light right. Natural light is preferable as using flash is much colder and harsher. It’s not your place to dictate the timeline for the day, but it is your job to offer advice and guidance on getting the shots your clients want, and that means working with the light.


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The Preparation

Getting ready shots capture the excitement and anticipation of the day and really set the scene for the couple. These are important memories that are easily overlooked. Having large windows in the room that let in lots of natural light is a sure-fire way of getting elegant, flattering portraits, and you would be well within your rights to recommend hotels or B&Bs that you know to have great windows near the venue to the bride as somewhere to consider getting ready. Light coloured walls are another thing to look out for as they’ll be reflective.

The Bride and Groom

If you know your clients want romantic dusk shots, you’ll need to advise them of the sunset time, and plan to have 30 mins with them roughly an hour before sunset. Manage their expectations that this might require them to leave the reception for a time, particularly for summer weddings.


With an infinite number of possibilities, the reception is likely to be your toughest task after the ceremony itself, not least because of the prevalence of artificial lighting. As before, seek out natural light where possible, and avoid unflattering light from directly overhead.

Many professionals, like a lemon tree wedding photographer or similar wedding photographer in Hampshire or elsewhere, should be adept at reading light indoors and outdoors. Additionally, there are lots of sites available like Digital Camera World that offer advice and tips on taking shots outdoors. There are few weddings that don’t require any outdoor photography.

Plan for harsh light so you’re ready, and then hope the day is overcast because that’s the most flattering for everyone. If the sky is grey, chances are it will be for most of the day so the pressure is off you, the photographer, to rush round and get the outdoor shots done quickly. If only they made soft boxes that big!

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