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Make light work for your wedding day photography

Planning your wedding day can be overwhelming. There is so much to do, so much to think about and how are you supposed to do it all when planning a wedding for the very first time ever? I get it, it's overwhelming. As a wedding photographer, I see the same pattern repeating over and over again. I am here to help you as much as I can, well, at least from the photography side of things, so that you can make the best decision for your wedding day.

So, what do I mean by light? Any light conditions that are created by sun or artificial light. Sun shining through the windows, sunsets, artificial lights indoors, event & venue lights as well as DJ lights and so much more. Light is just as important as everything else on your wedding day and it can be the difference between your photos looking good and breathtaking.

Yeah, I know, you already are stressing over the weather, and now you have to think about the light too? WHAT? Well, you can leave all of this for the photographer. I’m not expecting you to know everything photography-related, that's why I am here to tell you about light, and how important it is.

So, let's talk advantages and disadvantages of some light conditions.

Sunny days. There’s a reason why so many couples want to get married in the summer. Who wouldn’t want the warm weather, sun, beautiful flowers, those long summer days and a low chance of rain? It all sounds just perfect, right? Well, almost. Let me tell you why, from the photographer's perspective.

The biggest disadvantage of a bright & sunny day for me is that a sunny day, and I am talking a big chunk of the day from roughly 11 am until 6 pm will always produce harsh light. With harsh light comes a huge difference between the shadows and highlights. This means that photographer has to choose where they should prioritise things happening in the shadow or the light. These light conditions can make us miss some beautiful reactions, emotions, and actions. Let me show you some examples of what I mean by that.

If you end up having your ceremony outdoors when it's sunny, I will give you one tip. Make sure that the whole ceremony, including guests, is either held in the sun or all of the seating with the altar placed in the shadow. That way you can reduce the issues that the harsh daylight can cause.

The advantage, most importantly, is that once that sun starts to set, you can get some gorgeous sunsets and capture beautiful portraits of the newlywed couple. Who doesn’t like a good sunset?

Rainy days. I don’t think I ever heard anyone say “ When I get married I want a rainy day”. Who would want rain, mud, wind, and miserable-looking weather for their happiest day? Right? But, as miserable as you think it would be, cloudy weather is my favourite, especially if the clouds part and give a beautiful sunset too. As a photographer, I could not ask for better weather. The sky provides even light, does not cast any harsh shadows or highlights, and it's basically perfect light conditions when it comes to outdoor photography. That's why more people should be excited about clouds in the sky on their wedding day. If it indeed rains on your day, you know what they say? The knot is harder to undo, so is your marriage set for a stronger start.

You might also be treated to a beautiful dramatic sky, as well as some rain, so make sure you got your umbrellas ready.

I can only think of non-photography-related disadvantages attached to such weather, and only if it's raining. It's simply an uncomfortable feeling of rain, mud, and wind and the possibility of it ruining the dress or make-up & hair. Other than that, I think even rain can help you create amazing wedding day photos. Don’t worry about the gear, there are protectives to put over them.

Indoor light. Many choose to have their wedding indoors, especially when it comes to autumn, winter and spring. If you are one of those couples and in the process of choosing your venue, then you really want to read this.

When choosing your wedding venue, opt for the one that has to offer as much natural light as possible. Big and a lot of windows will reduce the amount of artificial light needed, and in some cases, no additional light would be needed until late in the evening. What do I mean by artificial light? Any light that is not natural, for example, wall lights, chandeliers, or simple lightbulbs. If you have a choice, I recommend choosing 100% natural light, over and over again.

Dancefloor light. This one has nothing to do with daytime celebrations, but I absolutely love the dancefloor and the light that comes with it. If you haven't thought of what you’d like to do with the dancefloor and don't want to simply leave it dark and rely on the venue, you can see if your DJ could help you with that. If a DJ can't help, then there are plenty of other companies that supply amazing dancefloor lighting.

There is one thing I swear by when it comes to the dancefloor - MAKE IT A NIGHT CLUB. Loads of colourful lights (not lasers) will make it look absolutely stunning, and you will not regret a thing. Have a look at these amazing wedding dancefloors I had the pleasure to photograph.

Example with colourful lights:

Example with minimal light:

In conclusion, the more you involve your photographer in the planning process and ask for their input even on topics of light, the more likely you are to receive improved and next-level photographs.

From what I know, to what now you know. Hope this helps.

Your wedding photographer,

By Karolina Photography

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