Planning your awesome sunset wedding photos.
I’ve written in the past about my experience of shooting in bad weather and the importance of planning. In that post I recommended that you prepare for bad weather and also have some fall back options should things get so extreme that an outdoor shoot becomes completely impossible.
In this post I would like to share some of my thoughts on another related factor; time of day and the date.
Most people will have heard about the “Magic hour” or “Golden hour” in relation to photography and while there isn’t strictly an hour of magic it is a useful concept to understand when the light from the sun is going to be best.
The perfect magic hour shots happen around sunset and in northern Europe that means that the seasons are an important consideration. To get this magic shot in the height of summer means venturing out at 10 in the evening but in the depths of winter anything outdoors after the wedding ceremony will have good quality light that is low in the sky. Of course this relies on there being some gaps in the clouds for the sun to poke through. A rainy day shoot is another topic altogether.
So, how do you go about making your plan?
In my experience of a wedding day there will be certain things set in stone. The ceremony, the meal time and speeches are usually scheduled but it is up to you to set this schedule. You should try to work everything around the sunset time which varies depending on the location. This chart illustrates the sunset times throughout the year for British Isles but there will be an equivalent chart for anywhere in the world.
From this chart you can deduce that the best months for sunset shots are between May and August (plan to head out after dinner and speeches) or in winter November to January (before dinner).
Personally, I like to shoot outdoor environmental portraits after dark as well so aiming for sunset shots with a plan to stay a bit after sunset (sometimes known as the “Blue hour”).