Why are wedding photographers always talking about natural light photography and ‘golden hour’?

Lighting is one of the key technical elements in creating pictures. Therefore its a highly important part of capturing great wedding photographs.

One of the most commonly asked questions received from my couples getting married is “What Is The Best Time To Take Photos?“. To which I answer Golden Hour without a doubt.

The best photos are taken at sunset!


What is the best time for photos? Golden Light just before Sunset


The Best Photos Are Taken At Golden Hour And Just Before Sunset

I encourage my clients to prioritise their bridal party portrait time when planning their wedding timeline so that we can take full advantage of the best light of the day, Golden Hour. The hour(ish) before sunset when the light is soft and beautiful (and golden) creates amazing dramatic and romantic pictures.

You can easily calculate when golden hour is on your wedding day by simply typing “Sunset + Wedding Location + Wedding Date” (ie. Sunset Sydney 30 September 2019) into Google search for the result. Then around 30-45 minutes before the sunset time, is the best time to start your couple’s portrait session to ensure you are ready as Golden Hour hits as it lasts literally 10-15 minutes.


Sunset Bridal Portraits


Taking Into Account Daylight Savings For Your Wedding Photos

In Sydney, we are fortunate to have Daylight Savings during the summer months so it can be still daylight at 8-8.30 in the evening. The optimum time to be out taking photos as sunset moves from golden light to moody blue light at dusk. While your reception will have started well before, always make sure you allow at least 15 to 30 minutes for your intimate couples portrait session to make the most of that romantic warm golden light – it will be well worth it!


Finding The Beauty Of Natural Light In All Seasons

Each season of the year has its own unique characteristics but you will need to allow for the sun to set much earlier, around 5pm in many locations outside of Daylight Savings. It’s important to factor this in when planning your ceremony start time with your celebrant – you don’t want to have your ceremony too late so you miss the best part of the light.

Also be aware that depending on where you are, the sun may even set a little earlier if buildings, mountains etc are blocking the location and where the sun is setting.


Sunset Wedding Photography


Creating A Timeline For Your Wedding Portraits Early In The Planning

After booking me as your wedding photographer, we will work through creating a rough timeline for your wedding date, taking into account the sunset time and I will make recommendations for the start time of your ceremony as well as the best options and time for the portrait session. Along with scheduling in time for your sunset bridal session!


‘Golden Hour’ Summer Weddings

During Summer the sun is higher in the sky and much brighter during the middle of the day. It’s a great idea to have your ceremony later in the afternoon, starting around 4pm, when the light isn’t so harsh and bright.

Outdoor ceremonies in that Summer midday sun can be extremely hot and uncomfortable, causing yourselves and your guests to squint throughout the ceremony and family portraits. For the family portraits I will always be looking for a shady spot as my first option, but sometimes there just isn’t shade so this is where having that later ceremony is highly beneficial.


‘Golden Hour’ Winter Weddings

Winter weddings have beautiful soft light usually throughout most of the day as the sun isn’t as high in the sky. However the daylight hours are much shorter and the sunsets earlier. Winter ceremonies are usually earlier, starting around 2pm, so that we have beautiful light available for our portrait session.


Why Are Other Times Of The Day Not As Good As Golden Hour?

Midday and the 2-3 hours surrounding it on both sides is when the sun is at its brightest and at the highest point in the sky and directly overhead creating harsh shadows – the most unflattering light for outdoor photography and the most challenging.

Avoid having outdoor wedding photography in harsh midday sun, whether its your ceremony or location photoshoot with your bridal party for these reasons. If you absolutely have no other alternative, the best option would be to seek out shade under trees where the sun can be filtered and softer.

All photographs are the property of and copyrighted to Deb Boots.
Please do not reproduce or share without written consent unless you are the couple or family and friends of the couple.

If you are a wedding supplier involved in this wedding and wish to use any of these images
for the purposes of advertising your business this is classified as commercial use and is subject to licensing (read about commercial use here).
I’m more than happy for vendors to use images, but please ask permission first!
Please contact Deb Boots here

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