Today I want to talk about direct sunlight for outdoor ceremonies. So you think you can't control your lighting situation for your outdoor wedding? Well, you're right, but you can control the time of your ceremony as well as the location. If you're getting married in the summer in southern California, it's likely that you will have a bright and sunny ceremony. For this first post I'm going to chat with you about time frame for your outdoor wedding and how the direction of light from the sun affects your images. Let's start with your wedding venue. Most of us have a choice on where we get married (unless the family paying for the wedding has strong suggestions on locations) and it's important to consider what the light will be like. First, you need to make a decision on whether you want to have bright direct sunlight while you are standing reciting your vows, or if you want beautiful soft back-lit images. Since we're talking about direct sunlight today (we'll talk about back-lit images in another post), here's how to ensure those blue skies. Almost all photos are taken from the perspective of the guests at the wedding, so that's where you should be standing when you decide on the light for your wedding. If you want direct light with gorgeous blue skies in the background, you need to make sure that at the time of your ceremony(typically around 4pm-6pm) that the light from the sun is hitting your guests in the back. If your ceremony is later in the afternoon, the sun will be low enough in the sky that on a clear day, you should have beautiful blue skies. With direct sunlight we'll be able to expose your faces and dress correctly while still keeping those skies blue. Now if you have sensitive eyes this direct light may not be your best option. If you don't want to be squinting, but you want this look for your photos, then make sure that your wedding starts a little later. The sun won't be as strong which will make it easier to keep your eyes open.
Now if you're visiting your venue and notice that the light is coming in from one side or the other, you may want to think about something first. One of you will be in shadow, while the other is in bright sunlight. While we shoot in RAW during these situations for greater editing capabilities, someone is still staring into bright light. So while we may be able to bring back detail in the wedding gown and lighten whoever is in shadow, someone is still squinty. Now if you have super strength eyeballs and the sun doesn't effect you... then by all means, you should be the one standing in the sun!
Check out this beautiful direct lit wedding that we shot in last summer (you can see more of their ceremony by clicking here). The sunlight is coming in at a slight angle but not enough that either the bride or groom are being blinded, and you can still see detail in the brides dress. Something else to consider is the fact that the sun sets at different times throughout the year. Keep that in mind if your visiting your venue at a different time of year than your actual wedding date. The coordinator at your venue should know the best time to begin your ceremony, but if you have doubts just let us know and we'll help figure out what the light is going to look like for your big day. Have a question about lighting? Feel free to ask and we'll be more than happy to address it in an upcoming post! Happy Tuesday!