As a photographer, I know that good lighting is the key to taking a good photo. In essence, my whole profession is about actively manipulating how much light enters the lens at any given moment.
While a good wedding photographer will do everything to counteract bad lighting (using flash, moving locations, editing in post), harsh sunlight, fluorescent indoor lights or low-light scenarios have the potential to ruin a moment. Bad lighting doesn’t only affect photography, but can also impact the mood of your entire wedding. Harsh or bright lights can make you feel stressed, while soft and warm lights bring calm. In fact, I believe it’s one of the most underrated wedding detail no one really talks about.
So let’s talk about it! Here’s a few takeaways for planning your big day:
"Take notice of what light does to everything."
Avoid the midday sun
Avoid outdoor ceremonies between 11am-2pm, especially in direct sunlight. Getting married in a shady area outside of these times will prevent harsh shadows falling across your face and obscuring those wonderful emotions.
Opt for soft or warm lighting
While a soft, white light is preferable for outdoor photos during the day, a warm light is great for your reception in the evening. (Fluorescent lights at 10pm definitely aren’t the vibe). I’ve seen some beautiful receptions lit only by candles or fairy lights. While low-light scenarios don’t always make for perfect photos, it creates a wonderful atmosphere for your guests. And don’t worry—I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
Don't fret if it's overcast
Some couples are disappointed by a cloudy forecast on their wedding day, but this is a blessing in disguise as far as your photos are concerned. An overcast day creates a beautiful, soft light that acts as a natural soft-box and minimises harsh shadows in your images.
Ask your venue about lighting options
Often venues that aren’t exclusively built for weddings (hotels or restaurants, for example) may have harsh or inappropriate lighting that won’t set the right mood. If they can’t cater to your preferences, either keep looking around or ask if you can bring your own lights.
Bring your own lights
This could be in the form of candles on the table, eclectic lamps, fairy lights, pontoon lighting or stage lights. Get creative! There are lots of businesses that specialise in this, and it’s usually not too costly.
So there you have it—lighting, the most underrated wedding detail that no one is talking about—until now! I hope this helped you out and gave you some inspiration.