Wedding Photography Lighting Tips

Wedding Photography Lighting Tips

Let’s face it, wedding photography lighting isn’t always absolutely perfect! As a natural light photographer I absolutely love the way that the environment around you can offer the perfect softbox and beautiful lighting conditions. On occasion however, the natural lighting of environment may not be exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes, having assistants holding reflectors or “setting up” for a shot can take away from having a relaxed, flowing experience that leads to those wonderful in-the-moment candid photos. (Although they are at times very helpful and necessary!)

Rather than having to use a lot of gear, here are a few photography lighting tips that use the natural environment around you to produce lovely results.

 

Look for shade or aim for cloud cover

Many weddings take place during the heat of mid day, which can make photography and lighting tricky! Try to be flexible with the bridal party and aim for some cloud cover or shade when possible. Good sources of shade can be buildings, thick woods or awnings. Communicate to your couple ahead of time to prepare and have a couple of photography location options just in case.

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The sun on this day was quite bright! By moving into a treed area, we were able to diffuse the light. Just be sure to bring extra bug spray!

 

Back light

Sunset and sunrise are some of the best times to shoot wedding and engagement photography, however the light can be quite harsh if the sun is still too high and your couple isn’t tall, or the landscape isn’t high enough. Back-lighting takes a little bit of practice but it can make for some very dramatic and romantic photography.

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The sun was quite harsh on this day, but the snow on the ground provided just enough bounce while the sun created a romantic, dramatic and moody back light.

 

Look for natural reflectors

The environment around you can provide some amazing reflectors that don’t require assistants! Look for grey concrete, white building siding, metal siding, or snow covered ground that will bounce and diffuse light up to your subject’s faces.

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In this session, I was able to keep the dramatic moody nature of the surroundings, while the snow on the ground bounced light up to my client’s faces.

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The concrete on the ground bounced light nicely up to eliminate harsh shadows.

 

Positioning

Sometimes the environment you are in for wedding photography doesn’t cooperate. In this case it’s best to angle your subject so that there is cross light. This way, you avoid totally blowing the background out, but still have detail on their faces.

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In this image, the sun is quite harsh despite tree cover. By having it come through the side of the frame, it’s less strong yet the couple is still properly exposed.

 

I hope these few short tips help you along in your journey! Natural lighting is so interesting and flattering despite it’s challenges. Utilizing the environment around you is an efficient and easy way to ensure you don’t miss a candid moment.

If you have any tips using natural lighting or the environment for wedding photography, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!

 

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