How to Utilize Light on Your Wedding Day

When taking photos for you on your wedding day, as your photographer, I want to make sure we have the best lighting possible for every event of the day. So I wanted to put together a little guide on how to utilize different lighting so that you can know what to expect!

Getting ready 

getting ready before the wedding

Most brides and grooms love getting ready with their wedding party and want to document those special moments between them and their closest friends. If you want the best quality photos, try turning off any artificial lighting and just rely on natural light. If where you’re getting ready has large windows, this is perfect! You can also take your photos outside if natural light indoors isn’t possible. No matter what, we’ll make it work!


Okay so there’s two different scenarios we’re gonna go over here: having a first look and NOT having a first look (if you’re still trying to decide, check out this blog post!). This is one of the first things I ask my couples because it affects the timeline for the entire wedding day. If you decide not to have a first look, I would highly suggest having your ceremony 2-3 hours before sundown so that we’ll have plenty of time and light to take photos afterwards. Nothing is worse than not planning ahead and being in a time crunch! If you are having a first look, having your ceremony 1-2 hours before sundown should be perfect.

Family photos

If we’re being honest, the thought of taking family photos is pretty stressful for most couples. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be! As your photographer, it’s my job to make sure you and your partner get all the shots YOU want, and not waste time worrying about what other family members think is important. When it comes to lighting, outdoor is definitely the way to go. Outdoor lighting ensures everyone looks as flattering as possible because it’s super easy to control. If outdoors is absolutely not an option, opt for standing near large windows to get as much natural light as possible! I’m talking the larger, the better. 

Couples Portraits

Being one of the most important categories of photos, we spend lots of time trying a variety of different lighting options for couples portraits. If you’re options for a first look, we’ll likely be shooting well before sunset and searching for what photographers call ‘open shade’, which is shade that’s still bright but not overwhelmingly so. One example is being on the shaded side of the street as opposed to the sunny side. After the ceremony, we’ll always sneak out for some dreamy sunset photos to get that good golden hour light. Again, if being outdoors isn’t an option, we’ll use large windows indoors to get the best lighting as possible. 


Most of the time, receptions are held indoors and after sunset, so the lighting can get a little tricky. Thankfully there are definitely ways to get around it! Even though you and your partner are probably ready to get the party started, I highly recommend having no DJ lights during the first dance if at all possible. I don’t bring a lot of lighting with me, as I like to capture the environment as close to real-life as possible, so keep this in mind! Cafe lights, glow sticks, and sparklers are all great options when it comes to reception lighting.

I hope this post gave you a little more insight on how to utilize light on your wedding day! My goal is to educate my couples as much as possible so that their day runs smoothly. If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect photographer, shoot us an email here and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Light Rules Everything Around Me

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