Ceremony Lighting And How It Affects Your Photos

The Bride Social Tips on Ceremony Lighting For Photos

Lighting & Your Ceremony

Let’s talk about what you don’t have the ability to control for your ceremony. And oddly enough, we aren’t talking about rain.

Actually, the chance of rain (but NO actual rain) is the best lighting you could hope for during your ceremony and wedding photos. It’s what photographers like to call “natures soft-box”. While we wish the bluest of blue sky with passing fluffy Bob Ross clouds and white doves randomly flying across the backdrop, your photographer is wishing for an overcast sky.

“Why though?”

An overcast sky takes away all those squinty faces, harsh shadows, sweaty foreheads (unless it’s 100 degrees and 90% humidity), uncontrollable sun glare and more.

Simply put, for some of the best wedding photos, an overcast sky can create dreamy images.

That’s not to say a good photographer can’t create magical photos with a bright high noon sun, or broken shadows in the trees. They surely can. We are simply talking the ideal of all ideals.

Your Ceremony Timing

Timing on your wedding day is crucial. Furthermore, much of that timing is based around your ceremony.

You would be surprised at how many venues don’t think about where the sun will fall during your ceremony. And when visiting venues, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing so, at the time of your ceremony. ( really keeping in mind where the sun will be at the time of your ceremony if it’s a different time of year )

There are some venues that hold their ceremonies in the same location no matter what. This can lead to one individual staring directly into the sun, the other completely shaded, trying to put their shade over the face of the other just so they’re not blinded.

Are you thinking about different ceremony lighting options too? Let’s dive into this.


With outdoor ceremonies, partial shade and harsh shadows have the ability to creep in and hamper even the best of photographers. From a technical standpoint, it is nearly impossible to create evenly lit photos. The one way is with “off camera lighting” and in a ceremony, we don’t believe you would want flashes going off with each word of your vows. A ceremony is a time for one thing, your love and your connection. Okay, guess that’s two?

Anyway, partial shade, as mentioned above, can cause a blinding light to hit one person’s face while the other’s is in complete shadow. In these moments, with laughter, tears, kisses, we want to make sure you can see both you and your partner’s faces clearly in your photos. 

Direct Sunlight

While partial shade creates its own obstacles to the best photos. Direct sunlight will bring its own set of circumstances.

Direct sunlight isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. We just want you to know what’s at hand. For instance, bright sun will bring different color tones into your photos. A gold tint of awesomeness may glow with all of your love. In the middle of august in warmer clients, you may also glisten with sweat. We surely don’t want any of your bridal party to get heat stroke either. ( just be proactive and keep this in mind if there may have been drinking earlier in the day? )

The other thing to consider is your guests. Will they be sitting in full sun too or will they be in the shade? If in the shade, your photographer may be challenged to capture photos of your guests reactions with you in the foreground or background evenly lit.

Artificial Light?

Many indoor venues have stunning locations for ceremonies. You may also decide you want to level up that location with magical artificial lighting. From twinkling holiday light strands to uplighting and more.

We agree with all of our hearts that this looks so dreamy in person. Like DREAMY. In photos it may not carry through. It may create a glow, a haze, or a more shadowed appearance in photos. Just give your photographer a little forewarning so they know what to be ready for. Share with them your goals of the photos. From including the backdrop or making yours and your partner’s faces more prominent. Either way, we know these photos have the ability to capture the true essence of your ceremony.

Indoor Backlit Ceremonies

The other consideration with indoor ceremonies, all those gorgeous windows with that natural light and the view.

We are sure that when you walked into the ceremony site, you saw the view from those windows, and that was it. When it comes to your photos though, that view won’t look quite as you imagine.

Your photographer will have three options. The first, again, the flash going off through your entire ceremony. Option two, that stunning view is exposed perfectly and the two of you are shadow figures, or option 3. The two of you are exposed perfectly and the background is blown out in white.

Things to consider, creating a “light blocker” to diffuse the light around you. Or if your venue has shades or blinds to block the outside light, you may decide to pull them down such as the below couple chose.


The choices for your ceremony are endless and we just want to you to receive the photos as you see them in your heart. Know that your awesome photographer will rock them out and if you’re concerned. Just have a chat with them. We’re sure your photos will be awesome!

If you have questions or concerns about your ceremony lighting and want to discuss with us before reaching out to your photographer, reach us :here:

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