Making the most of natural light and the Golden Hour

July 22nd 2022

When planning your wedding, it’s easy to forget how the quality of natural light can make a huge difference to the impact and feel of the images. Getting it wrong can lead to harshly lit, overly contrasted images, black shadows or squinting subjects. As a rule, the early morning and late afternoon offer the best opportunities for fantastic natural light. Early starts are difficult for most weddings, so it’s really the late afternoon ‘golden hour’, the window of one or two hours before sunset, that you want to make the most of.

The aim is for the couple’s location shoot to align with the golden hour. So when setting up your run-sheet, look at the sunset time on your wedding date, then work backwards – starting the ceremony roughly three hours before sunset. This allows around an hour for the ceremony and group images, and enough time to head out and make the most of that golden light. 

If it happens to be grey or rainy, no worries at all, you still get the benefit of diffuse light from a low angle, and there are plenty of lighting techniques to get the best out of moodier conditions. I also highly recommend ducking out at dusk for some twilight shots. Only 15 or 20 minutes are needed here but it’s very much worth it.