Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline Around Beautiful Light.

Hi Friends. If you are soon to be married then you know wedding planning is no joke. So many details, it can be overwhelming.

Brides normally fall into two categories, those that love the planning process and those who would rather just skip to the big day and party down with their friends and family. No matter which camp you fall into, here are some things to keep in mind while making a timeline for you special day specifically in regards to planning for the best light conditions.

Plan For Great Lighting on Your Wedding Day

I’m a natural light photographer with a long love of sunsets and the way light filters through a Palo Verde tree on a sunny day. On a wedding day, I use only natural light until the sun has gone down and, only then, will I shoot using flash. I leverage natural light because it captures the mood–the precise feeling–of the moment. Because of this, I help brides to plan for good light, which in turn creates flattering photos. The more you plan, the more you’ll be blown away by the results.


Getting Ready

Hotel Room Lighting of Wedding DressEvery wedding tells the story of the day. The perfect start is while the bride and groom prepare.  There are so many beautiful moments happening and memories being created, and good light helps capture everything beautifully. When it comes to making lighting plans, please consider:

+ Bigger Windows to light the room

+ Light-colored walls

+ If you’re planning to prepare at a church, please take the time to visit the prep room in advance. Often times these rooms are windowless or classrooms with brightly colored walls and fluorescent lights (not to mention the Noah’s Ark mural painted in the background). options.


Family and Wedding Party Portraits

Wedding day light conditionsIf you’re planning on having photos taken outdoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., please ensure there is space away from direct sunlight. Midday light is extremely harsh, so having a location with open shade (under a tree or awning or portico) would be ideal.  Harsh light can lead to dark shadows under the eyes and nose, as well as constant squinting. 




Cloudy Day Wedding Outdoor ceremonies are a photographer’s dream, but if your ceremony will be between the hours of 10 a.m and 3 p.m., please ensure there is some form of shade.  Not only is it insanely hot standing under direct sun, it causes harsh shadows on your face. So when is the best time to plan a ceremony? I’m glad you asked! Ceremony photos with the most favorable light are about 2-3 hours before sunset.


Sunset Portraits

Perfect wedding timeline

If we’re working together, there’s a good chance you were attracted to the golden, soft light during sunset. If this is the type of light you prefer on your wedding day, you need to make time for portraits around sunset. Depending on the time of year you marry, these photos can be taken during cocktail hour (in the fall/winter) or by slipping away from the reception for 20 minutes (in the spring/ summer). Photos taken in an empty field or desert location are the prettiest 30 minutes before sunset.






wedding reception lighting outsideLet’s keep this simple: the more light, the better. Uplighting, pin lighting, Italian strung lights, candlelight…all of it! The more light you add to a venue (indoor or outdoors), the higher chances a photographer can capture the exact feel of the evening. If it’s too dark, I rely heavily on my flash, which is fine but doesn’t exactly document the environment as well as I’d like. Occasionally the DJ will provide lights for the dance floor, but please refrain from using them during the first dance as colored or moving lights can affect a photo in the worst way (making skin appear purple or creating a blue light across a wedding dress! Yup…I’ve been there).


Overcast Day

Wedding day on the ranchSome brides get worried or sad if the sun isn’t shining brightly on their wedding days, but I want to take a second to assure you that a cloudy day is a perfect day. It’s one, big softly illuminated space and we’re free to roam wherever we’d like for photos.  On a wedding day, clouds can be a photographer’s best friend

Last but not least, wedding day timelines are just a guide. Most weddings run 15 – 20 minutes behind schedule at some point during the day. The good news is that your guest will never even notice and if you are working with someone (like me) to help you make your timeline then cushion time will already be included for those unplanned delays.



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