What are the essential ingredients for amazing wedding photos? ♡
Making wedding photos is kind of like making a cake! A moving, real life cake that has to look and taste good. I’m no baker, but I am a photographer who knows how to make tasty wedding photos.
This article talks about the things you need to include, what is nice to have, choosing the best venue for wedding photos, making a plan, styling, and basically all things that can effect your bridal photos.
Of course there are a lot of factors that come into play, but the main ingredients remain the same – light, the characteristics of the space, and photo opportunities. Make sure they’re all part of the mix to give your wedding photos a chance to turn out beautifully. Read on to find out more!
What is the most important ingredient for good wedding photos?
The answer is simple…. LIGHT!
Photography is simply painting with light. Or more accurately, it’s capturing reality using light. So, without light you can’t make bright photos. Nope. Not gonna happen.
So, it’s very important to consider this as part of your wedding photo plan. In fact, it’s one of the topics we discuss in your half-hour photo plan session.
Light: 3 main things to remember –
- Brightness –
- How bright is the light?
- Is it close or far away to the thing you want to take a photo of?
- Brighter is better!
- Different sources of light make different kinds of light –
- Fluorescent lights appear green to the camera event though they appear white to our eye. Harsh shadows.
- Tungsten (normal light bulbs) are much more yellow and warm, but usually dimmer.
- LED lights are generally quite white and not always bright, and in small size usually produce a strong shadow.
- A natural light sources like the sun make for the most natural photos.
- The closer the better –
- Bigger lights closer to the subject produce softer shadows. Think about the soft winter sun and the warm glow photos have at that time of year.
- Smaller lights that are further away, like a strong midday summer sun, produce more defined shadows. Harsh shadows generally don’t make for flattering photos.
- Closer is better – the softer the shadows the more flattering the photos will be.
Things to consider when choosing a wedding venue –
One thing many couples forget to consider is how good their chosen venue will be for photography in terms of photo opportunities, light and space, because it’s so easy to focus on logistics and theme.
The 3 main things you want to make sure your venue has are:
- Lots of light – be mindful of where that light will be at different times of the day and how this fits into your wedding schedule.
- Nice backdrops / places to take photos – essential! Views are always a beautiful addition.
- Different options for different weather (we talk more about this in another article).
Nice to have but not essential:
- Pretty lights like fairy lights, candles, big soft indoor lights like spotlights, or torches.
- Soft natural sun, like winter or late afternoon light.
- Some shade but not shadow – diffused light is better than full shadow.
- Natural things like bushes, leaves, trees, flowers – we find them naturally appealing as humans.
- Light bright colours on walls and feature (but try to avoid greys like concrete).
- Enough space for everyone is always essential to avoid overcrowding.
Indoor light + indoor venues –
- You can control the light and add more to suit.
- Less likely to change during the event – more consistency.
- Not as harsh as the sun but also not as bright.
- More control for dealing with night.
- Sometimes not enough light – not bright enough / can be shadow-y.
- Different lights make different kinds of light – warm, cold, etc.
- Lights can be at awkward angles for humans – rarely does the best light coming from directly above.
Outdoor light + natural venues –
- Sun is usually ‘warm’ and golden/yellow, but it depends on the weather.
- Lots of light at the right time of day.
- Great for natural, light and airy photos.
- The light can change with the weather – it depends on the day and time of year.
- Can be hot and harsh on sunny days.
- Or it can be grey and soft.
- Clouds can get in the way.
Thoughts on the most common wedding venue locations –
Landscapes / views as backdrops –
- A beautiful way to place your images.
- Good suggestions are mountain views, farm fields, trees, waterfalls, beaches, rivers, or lakes – basically anything that looks lovely!
- Time of day is an essential consideration for landscapes, as the sun paints the landscape differently at different times of day.
- Always try to face the sun at minimum.
- Avoid having the sun behind you
Beach wedding photos –
- Can be very lovely with the blue ocean and white/golden sand.
- Very relaxing watching the movement of the waves.
- Is a difficult environment in terms of weather – windy, sunny, hot and usually quite glary with reflection off the sand/water.
- Always aim for the time of day where the sun will be low and in front of you if you’re going to have the ocean in the background.
- Cooler weather or light breeze recommended.
- Be wary – nail the conditions and you’ll be very happy. But the wrong conditions can make sure things don’t go to plan.
Garden weddings –
- Relaxing and easy environment to photograph for both wedding couple + photographer.
- Photos full of flowers, leaves and foliage are naturally appealing and always look lovely.
- Weather is much less of a concern compared to somewhere like the beach.
- Usually have more than a few photo background options with different plants and combinations.
Chapels + churches –
- Sometimes have great natural lighting.
- Classic and traditional backdrop.
- Sometimes have lovely stained glass windows.
- Really depends on the city/location.
- Can be beautiful at night with the city lights.
- Beware of harsh shapes and too much grey concrete.
Private residences / homes / Air BnB –
- Often very easy to organise.
- Light quality can be very dependant on where you to choose to have the event – inside or outside.
- Some houses have modern energy saving globes which might not emit enough light.
- Always look for light, open, and airy spaces. These are much easier to make wedding photos in.
Things to do now –