Outdoor weddings can make for some really great photos – but they are also more challenging to shoot. Suffice to say there will be many factors that are outside your control, and you may find it difficult to cope with them all.
In order to capture more impressive outdoor wedding photos, there are a few useful tips that you should try:
- Try to control the timeline to avoid the midday sun
While you may not have control over the wedding schedule, you should try to avoid the midday sun’s harsh light as much as possible. Pushing some photo ops such as group photos to later in the day can make a world of difference.
If the wedding ceremony itself is planned for around noon, you may want to discuss the lighting conditions with the couple. Recommend to hold it earlier or later in the day, and suggest some sunset photos to take advantage of the light during the golden hour.
- Find shade but be wary of shadows
For the photos that you do need to shoot under the midday sun, you should try to find shade – but be careful where the shadows fall. Shooting under trees can be particularly challenging as they’ll cast uneven and hard shadows under harsh natural light.
Using your camera flash to fill in the lighting can be helpful, provided you adjust the exposure correctly.
- Focus on close-ups to avoid blown out backgrounds
If the lighting conditions are particularly hostile and the exposure is almost impossible to balance, you should focus on close-ups. At the end of the day the most interesting shots (and the ones that most couples want) are of themselves and their guests – which close-ups can provide.
Use a spot meter on the faces of the people that you want to capture to make sure the exposure is adjusted accordingly. The parts of the background that are in the shot can be tidied up a little later on, but what is important is that the faces of the couple and their guests are captured perfectly.
- Get in some wide shots when the opportunity is right
Part of the attraction of outdoor weddings is the natural beauty of the background and foreground – so you will want some wide shots. That being said it is important to wait for the right opportunity to capture them.
Depending on the schedule you could either arrange to arrive early or stay late to get the shots that you need. Additionally if at any point during the wedding the sunlight becomes a bit less intense, you should take advantage of it to snap a few wide shots.
Keep in mind that you may have to adjust your style based on the type of wedding photography that you need to capture. For example in Asian wedding photography there may be lots of other lighting that you need to factor in.
All said and done however the key to shooting an outdoor wedding is to cater to the unpredictable nature of the lighting – and if possible use it to your advantage.