Most brides and grooms pray to Mother Nature for days — or even weeks — leading up to their wedding day for a nice sunny day. As a natural light professional wedding photographer, I am here to tell you that the truth is, in most cases, you actually will get better photos on an overcast or cloudy day. This may be a shock to most people, so let me explain why. Direct sunlight causes heavy shadowing and an emphasis on lines and imperfections on the face, which makes for unflattering photos. I am going to share with you some tips and advice on how to get the most beautiful images possible on your wedding day by planning your timeline for the best light possible!
1. Avoid Early Afternoon for Your Photography
The strongest, most harsh light during the summer months tends to rage from around 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. This is the worst time frame lighting-wise to take photos. The best times to have your photos taken, if it’s a sunny day is one to two hours before the sun sets. If you schedule your wedding day to start a couple hours after the sun is at its peak, you will end up with better-looking photos.
2. Shade is Your Friend!
Sadly, we can’t control the weather, and it may very well be sunny on your wedding day. Sometimes, not all wedding photography can be scheduled for the time of day when the light is most ideal for photos, and that’s where shade becomes very important. Make sure you choose a location for your wedding photography that offers a decent amount of shade. This applies to outdoor ceremonies as well: Try to have your ceremony space in an area with a lot of shade coverage, like somewhere with plenty of trees or on a porch that has an overhang ceiling. Not only will the shade look amazing for your photos, but on a hot summer day, shade also provides a more comfortable environment for you and guests.
3. Have a Back-Up Plan
This last tip is the most important — always have a back-up plan! Let’s say you went on the hunt to find your dream location for your wedding photos, and you found it! You looked at with your fiancé prior to your wedding day, and it looked beautiful on that nice evening at sunset. But when you showed up on the wedding day, for some reason, it doesn’t look as pretty and magical as you remember. Depending on the time of day, it may look very different in other times of the daylight. This is where a back-up plan comes in. Always have an alternate location for your wedding photos in case your first location doesn’t work out, for whatever reason. Also, discussing your wedding timeline and photo locations with your photographer is always a great idea. Take their professional advice and suggestions, and that will guarantee that you will get the perfect looking photos you want on your big day.
So if you wake up on your wedding day and notice it's a little cloudy outside, embrace it! Now you know the benefits of having a cloudy wedding day. Your photographer is sure to heave a sigh of relief knowing that your wedding photography will have the best light to work with, and you can rest easy knowing that you will end up with amazing wedding photos.
—Julia Seiler, Julia Seiler Photography