The following is the first in a series of posts about planning your wedding with your wedding photography in mind.
For New England brides, outdoor weddings are a popular option for hundreds of reasons. There are the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod, graceful historic gardens, picturesque farms and about a thousand places in between. However, an outdoor wedding can often offer up as many challenges as it does opportunities.
One frequently overlooked variable is the sun, which can dramatically change the look and feel of your wedding and have a profound impact on your wedding photography. So what impact can the sun have and how can you take advantage of your outdoor venue?
The key is understanding how the light from the sun changes throughout the day.
Sunrise & Sunset: New England boasts some incredible color during sunrise and sunset, but in high latitudes like Boston that beautiful drama lasts only for a short time (and weddings are always running late).
The Golden Hour: In photography and film, the golden hour is the period just after sunrise and just before sunset where the sun is low against the horizon. This creates a warm, diffuse light that beautifully compliments any outdoor photography. However, the golden hour comes late during the height of wedding season in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Morning or Afternoons: While it doesn't have the spectacular qualities of a sunrise, light during the mid-afternoon also doesn't have the drawbacks of the mid-day sun. The most important factor to consider is the direction of the light, because there will be more noticeable shadows and contrasts. This can be troublesome during ceremonies because with poor planning it can leave the bride's face exposed to bright light while the groom's is in deep shadow (or vice versa).
Noon: Whether it's fluorescent bulbs in a hotel ballroom or the sun, overhead lighting is never flattering for portraiture.
For many reasons, most Boston brides schedule their weddings to start in the afternoon, when the lighting is less than ideal. So how can you ensure the best results for your wedding photographs?
Orientation: The simplest solution is often just changing the facing direction of your wedding. If you want to ensure that the bride and groom are evenly lit, then make sure that the aisle is parallel to the track of the sun. You'll also want to ensure that the sun is behind your guests so its light falls evenly on the front of the ceremony, rather than back-lighting the bride and groom.
Shade: Holding your ceremony under the shade can make things easier on both your guests and your photographer. But not every venue offers opportunities for shade, especially in the middle of a field or on the beach. Adding a small canopy can shade the bride and groom and add an attractive decorative element to the ceremony.
So whether you're planning your wedding for the beach in Hyannis or the country club in keep these in mind to get the best results for your wedding day.