I always tell couples one of the biggest factors that influence how your wedding photos turn out on the day is quite simple – it’s light! This guide is do just that., guide, give some hints to help you think how to plan for good light on your wedding day. My style of photography is all about capturing that gorgeous natural sunlight and this guide is all about helping you find ways of ensuring lots of light on your wedding day. It gives you something to think about when booking your venue, the locations you will use and positioning (outdoor ceremony?), and time of the day and year. While I’m not saying you should completely avoid certain times of years – there are certain considerations to take into account when planning your wedding and hopefully I can cover this in a simple guide for you.

Importance of light on the morning of your wedding

Morning light is beautiful, it’s crisp and sharp. The sun is still low in the sky so in theory it gives you that crisp sunrise light. Things to take into account in the morning – one key thing is deciding where to get ready. Try and find a night open room with lots of light, don’t close those curtains or blinds, make sure they are wide open and as much light as possible is coming in.

Think about the position you might be having your makeup done. My tip as a photographer is to position yourself towards the window. Luckily most makeup artists will recommend this as it gives them the best idea how their makeup will look in natural light – plus they also equally understand what makes the most flattering photos.


Avoid artificial room lights in the morning

Some makeup artists bring a ring light to help themselves, this is a an excellent choice. Try to avoid your house or hotel room lights as these have an orange colour hue and it can often make your skin look unflattering and create unwanted shadows.

A good tip to see if the lighting of your room is good enough, turn off those artificial lights, Is it too dark? This would be challenging to get good photos in, my recommendation would be to pick another room to have your makeup done in. Think large windows! Luckily people do favour having well lit spaces as it has a lot more benefits than just good photos, a well lit room makes most people smile!

Lets simplify that with some easy to remember tips:

  1. Make the most of window light
  2. Pick an open space
  3. Avoid room or internal lighting (Turn it off!)


The time of day for your ceremony

Secure a nice early ceremony time for the most light. This one is a huge factor on your wedding day as it can change the dynamics a lot. The earlier you decide on this the sooner you can secure the time of day you want.

The reason why this is important is due to how much time you have afterwards. If you get married at 3pm in the middle of winter you will have 1-2 hours of sun after at the most. This means your ceremony takes 30-40 mins when its a quick one, your guests will want to hug and say hello for another 10-15 minutes. Things can then get very rushed and stressful for everyone involved. If you then factor in weather and other unplanned elements, uncooperative guests during group photos, you all of a sudden run out of time for natural light photographs.

This is one element you have to decide on the importance of having stress free photographs on your day. I always recommend an early ceremony as possible. This allows time for the photos and ability to move them around to ensure you spend more time with guests. For me – on your wedding I want to capture incredible photos, but also ensure the couple get to enjoy it with their guests and not spend that downtime away from them.

Note: if you are having a dark or night time ceremony as choice, this point is irrelevant! Every wedding needs to be about what you both want. There are ways for how to plan for good light on your wedding day – whatever the time of day or year!

Winter light is beautiful and crisp

Winter light personally is some of my favourite light, it produces beautiful photographs. But, nothing breaks my heart more than anything to see a client with such a late ceremony who tell me they want photos in the sunlight. One way around this, is to do a first look and have you couple photos done before the ceremony!

Breakdown with some easy to remember tips:

  1. Pick the earliest ceremony time as possible
  2. In winter, check what time the sun sets and if there is enough time after ceremony for photographs
  3. Consider having a first look before the ceremony


Well lit wedding venue makes for some incredible photographs

Now this is a tricky subject, as if you have already booked your venue, I don’t want you panicking. Most venues understand light and so you’re sorted. However, there may be lots of options for room set up or ceremony location you can keep in mind.

Not blocking windows, or thinking about where the light is coming from is something you can plan with picking where to stand. Things like which direction does the light come from – will it be straight into your eyes in bright sun? Will your guests be blinded or one of the worst things for photographers, is there a hotspot where you are standing? (Hotspots are where a beam of light illuminates you brighter than the rest of the room. Photographically speaking this can cause a lot of issues) A hotspot can be mitigated, by just moving a few steps.

Do not block those windows, let the natural light flow in

By not blocking winds I mean with decoration such as flowers – sometimes huge flower walls can completely remove that natural light. Although the flowers look stunning, you are taking away the enjoyment at seeing them in their fullest.

One of my favourite venues to work at for light is Shustoke Barn in Birmingham – this venue has light coming in from the left and right during the ceremony and creates a spot light effect without being direct. This means the couple are highlighted in the middle of aisle and it looks majestic. Throughout speeches the top table is highlighted and looks like something out of the last supper.

Tips to take away from this:

  1. Think about positioning during your ceremony for light
  2. Where are the best places for light on your wedding day?
  3. What suggestions could you make to your wedding venue to help make it better


Sunset time and golden hour

You will hear this a lot with wedding photographers – golden hour. It’s the time of day just after sunrise or just before sunset. It’s the hour when the light is warm and has a reddish warm hue. It makes those beautiful photos with sunbursts coming through and everything comes alive. The best light at sunset.

Ideally this is the time we will want to take some portraits, although this rarely aligns with the timings on the day. A lot of the time it’s when speeches are going on, but this can be planned ahead.

Summer weddings you can capitalise on this as it sets quite late on. What this means is that we can move couples photos until after speeches when the guests are going back to their rooms or relaxing around the venue. It’s that perfect bit of downtime, plus it means earlier on in the day there’s no pressure and everything is more relaxed. Being relaxed is the best way to be with your wedding photographer.

One tricky bit is just timing it right. When coming up with a plan with your wedding planner or venue planner. It might be worth mentioning about this on your wedding day and finding out the sunset times. Be aware, that once the sun actually sets is the time when you’d be finishing the photos, so work backwards.

Few tips:

  1. Plan ahead of the day for golden hour, speak with your wedding/venue planner
  2. Consider moving your couples portraits until after speeches

How to plan for good light on your wedding day?

Hopefully this has helped give food for thought on how to plan for good light on your wedding day with your wedding venue, schedule and wedding photographer (hopefully me!). Your wedding photography will do everything to capture the best shots on your wedding day, but being aware of lighting conditions can mean the ideal scenario for the best images.