No matter how you spin it, if you have a sunny wedding day, you will likely not have ideal lighting for your entire event. Don’t worry, your big day is not doomed. But, let me explain why this happens and how you can make the most of it.
Deeper Shadows and Brighter Highlights
On a sunny day, there are deeper highlights and shadows. There are bigger contrasts between dark and light. Shadows and light play a big role in how your wedding photos will look. It affects the foreground and background are captured in a photograph. It also affects the photographer’s shooting and editing style too. On a bright sunny day, there is a greater likelihood of squinty eyes, harsher shadows, and changes to the background. It can cause more detailed backgrounds because the sun is shining on them, or less detailed backgrounds because the highlights are blown out.
Traditional Wedding Day Timelines
Because of the timeline a typical wedding day that consists of getting ready photos, ceremony, portraits, dinner and dancing, and reception coverage, there are several hours of coverage required. Wedding ceremonies are usually held in late afternoon.
In helping my clients create their timelines, I usually recommend for them to pick their favorite location and we include it in the timeline in the part of the day that will use the light the best. Many photographers prefer to shoot in the last hour of light before the sunset, typically called “Golden Hour”. The light during this time of day can appear softer or more diffused.
Tips for finding and using the best light.
Having a sunny wedding day is not going to ruin your wedding day by any means. While it may not be my favorite lighting, we still make magic happen!
Choose your favorite location and use it during the time your photographer says is ideal. For me, this will usually be about 1 hour before sunset and leading into the end of the night.
Find areas with large areas of open shade – this may be the side of the venue, a tall building in the shade, or under tall leafy trees.
In spotty shade, keep the sun behind you or to the side to avoid hotspots (areas where the sun is hitting parts of the face in an odd way).
If you want to capture a specific backdrop that is in the sun, keep your portrait subjects in the sun too. This helps avoid a vast difference in light vs dark and the background will show up better.
Face away from the sun so that the lighting on your face is as even as possible. Watch for hotspots.
Face into the sun directly so that nose shadows or deep eye sockets are not extra dark.
It’s easy to see how different lighting and locations affect the overall look of a photo! In all, your photographer will have all of these ideas and more to make your wedding images the best they can be!