Stylish, modern bride & groom in the Arizona desert
For photographers like me, light trumps most other considerations. I will take pretty light over a dramatic backdrop any day of the week! But when you're an engaged couple rather than a photographer why should YOU care about light? How will light impact your wedding day? Well, here are four aspects of your wedding day photography that will be affected by the light:

1. Your getting ready photos
I talked about this in my post, "3 Tips for Better Getting Ready Photos," but it bears repeating! When you’re deciding where to get ready for your wedding, the light in the space will make all the difference. A room with large windows and plenty of natural light will make your photos SO much better! Your photos will be more flattering, the color will be richer and truer, and the image quality will be more in keeping with the beautiful getting ready photos that you see on wedding blogs. If it’s not possible to get ready in a space with natural light, ask to see if there is an outdoor area that you can use for your finishing touches.
Bridesmaids help the bride into her dress
wedding gown with a train and cathedral-length veil
lace-edged veil frames the bride's face
2. Your portraits
Look through my galleries and portfolios. Go ahead, I'll wait -- haha! You'll see portraits of a variety of couples in many different settings. What is the main thing that these portraits have in common? Beautiful, natural light. In my opinion, natural light is vital for the very best portraits. It provides a softness and an airy beauty that flash cannot match, and it is more even and flattering than the light from lamps and light fixtures. If you're attracted to the style of portraits you see on my site, that probably means that you prefer natural light portraits. If this is the case, you will want to arrange your wedding day timeline so that you have plenty of time for portraits while there is a lot of pretty natural light. Your photographer and your wedding planner will both help you make sure this happens!
long curls, beaded gown and romantic red bouquet
wedding couple with elegant, romantic style
traditional tux for him, beaded gown and romantic red bouquet for her
3. Your ceremony
Light will affect the type and style of photography during your ceremony, as well. Many churches, for example, have dim interior lighting, and also have restrictions agains the photographer adding lights or using flash. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have a church wedding! But it DOES mean that you should know what to expect. This holds true for all ceremony settings -- from harsh mid-day sun to the fading light at sunset. Ask your photographer (or potential photographers) to see examples of their work under the lighting conditions that you expect to experience during your ceremony. That way your expectations of the lighting in your ceremony photographs will be in line with your final images.
flower girls dance with floral boughs
joyful bride walking down the aisle
teary groom awaits his bride
bride & groom recite their vows before a wooden cross
4. Your Reception
There are two important ways that lighting affects your reception photography. First, it impacts the images that your photographer is able to capture of your reception details, like the flowers, linens, cake, and place cards ... all of those special little touches that you chose so carefully. If your reception will be taking place at or after sunset, make sure that your photographer will have time and opportunity to photograph your reception area -- fully set and prepared, and empty of guests -- before the light fades.

The second way that light affects your reception photos is during the reception itself. Talk to your wedding planner or lighting vendor to ensure that the aspects of your decor that matter most to you are visible and highlighted. For example, you might choose to have a pin spotlight on your cake. For the dancing and celebration, I love to use off-camera flash in conjunction with the flash on my camera. This allows me to capture the energy and fun of the dancing, even in a dimly lit ballroom. There is no single right way to light your reception, but you should look at a full gallery of your photographer's work to see how they handle reception lighting conditions so you know what you can expect.
outdoor reception in dreamy pastels
reception table setting with succulent accent
raise a glass in toast
bride & her father dance at the reception
Getting ready, portraits, ceremony, and reception ... light impacts EVERY part of your wedding photography! I hope this post helps you feel more informed, and that the tips and suggestions above help you and your wedding team to achieve the kind of beautiful images that you've been dreaming of!
-----------> Since light matters SO much to me, I've used light considerations to create a quick 2-question quiz to help determine an ideal wedding day timeline for you. Click here to take the 2-question quiz and I will email you back with an ideal preliminary timeline based on the sunset time on your wedding day as well as whether or not you would like to do a first look!
A 2-question quiz to determine your ideal wedding day timeline
How 4 BIG aspects of your wedding photography are impacted by light
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