It’s all about the light! – Tips and Tricks

        Planning for good light

        Planning for good light on your wedding day

        Tips and Tricks from Louise

        Light is the key to creating an amazing photograph. I am thoroughly addicted to finding really wonderful light. Flattering, deep, golden hues that shine through really excite me. Sometimes when driving long distances and seeing how beautifully the light changes, I wish at times I had a couple on hand right then and there to insert into each beautiful scenario.

        I gravitate and prefer to use natural light wherever possible. Natural light is subtle, flattering, warm – makes you glow, your skin shine and look smooth. It keeps you youthful and gorgeous.

        Artificial light is sometimes necessary, but the quality is different, not as full of glow. The only time I will need to use flash is during the evening reception and to illuminate the dancefloor.  I wish to capture the day as a true reflection and lighting is a vital piece of my handiwork. My use of flash is very soft and subtle, mixing with the already available ambient light to create a natural feel.

        Tips for Finding the Light


        Request that your makeup artist set-up in front of a window where the light is most natural. Don’t worry so much about a mirror, it’s far more important to be in front of a good light source which will benefit both the photographer and makeup artist. You can have a hand held mirror nearby to check their work throughout the morning.

        Natural window light
        At Natasha & Adrian’s winter wedding the hotel room was very dark, by moving Natalie directly in front of the window we were able to make use of the beautiful soft light and avoid any colour casts from the tungsten light.
        Natural window light
        The light coming from the window to the left created a beautiful softbox feel to this image from Louise and John’s wedding in Essex, despite the rain outside!

        The Ceremony

        Outdoor ceremonies are amazing, but harsh direct sun can really put a damper on your photographs. To avoid squinting and harsh shadows, planning for less direct sun or considering some form of shade is a good plan. Time of day is crucial in avoiding these harsh rays. Ideally avoid the hours between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. during the summer months or when having a destination wedding.

        Indoor ceremonies pose their own set of obstacles. If you are having the ceremony indoors, buildings with large windows can improve the dispersion of available natural light tremendously. The positioning is perfect in front so as to not back light or cause issues of overexposure or silhouettes. In darker churches where flash is prohibited, my arsenal of lenses come in handy to capture as much of the available light as possible.

        Outdoor wedding
        Sobhi and Cheryl’s Moroccan wedding ceremony was held later in the day and shaded by a little cloud here and there.
        Church wedding photography
        Simon and Ciara’s winter wedding was held at the beautiful St Etheldreda’s church in London, flash was off limits but by using a 50mm lens set to a high ISO I was able to capture the ambience despite it being quite a dark venue.
        Church wedding photography
        Again a high ISO was used along with my trusty 50mm set to f1.8

        Portraits and Group Photos

        Unfortunately, timing is not always perfect. Portraits and group photos tend to be scheduled when the sun is at its strongest and highest in the sky producing overly harsh light. To avoid these harsh shadows and intense squinting I aim to shoot in the shadows of buildings, trees or shoot backlit.

        Wedding group shots in shade
        The light was very harsh during this autumn wedding, the only way we were able to avoid everyone squinting was to head over to the shade of the trees (even though it was freezing out of the sunshine!)
        Shaded wedding portraits
        This veranda provided us with beautiful soft light, I also love that you can see it is a sunny day from the mottled shadows of the leaves on the wall.
        Backlit wedding portraits
        The sun was at it’s highest pint when we were due to shoot Lou Lou and Ted’s portraits, we were lacking shaded areas so with the sun behind the bride we avoided squinting, the skin tones remained soft and shadow free and to top it off the veil looked stunning with the light behind!

        The “Golden” Hour

        The golden time is an hour before sunset. I always advise my clients to take advantage of this beautiful time. The sun is at its lowest in the sky and emits this warm glow creating the most flattering light producing outstanding romantic portraits. This is a short session 10 to 20 minutes at most, to capture this memory.

        Golden hour in France
        Golden hour is always my favourite time to shoot, I love the warm tones and romance! Before Rachel and KY’s dessert was served we quickly popped out to make the most of the setting sun.
        Golden hour in France
        We managed to find this beautiful patch of golden light around 8pm for this wedding in France.

        Inclement Weather

        Not a perfectly sunny day? Not to worry, whether overcast or raining, It’s possible to achieve wonderfully lit photographs. The clouds act as a giant soft box which creates flattering soft light. If the weather is too wet and not cooperating, I use natural and directional window light. The result is very dramatic, but beautiful.

        Rainy wedding in London
        We had rain for most of the day but were still able to make the most of the soft light and colours. By increasing my ISO to 650 I was able to let more light into the camera on an otherwise quite dark day.
        Overcast wedding day
        It was a really overcast winters day for Celia and Xanders wedding, but again the clouds acted as a beautiful softbox providing us with flattering skin tones.
        Soft window light
        The window light was gorgeous and we were happy to be warm inside after taking a few winter portraits around the frosty grounds.
        Directional window light
        Directional window light can also be quite dark and dramatic, changing the mood of the photo.


        Softer afternoon light is the best time to consider a backlit approach. Positioning myself to stare directly into the sun, and compensating by over exposing to the facial tones produces a wonderfully flattering effect. A gentle rim of light appears around the client – wonderfully breathtaking.

        Backlit wedding portraits
        Backlighting can be quite tricky to get right, but with good positioning of the camera and a little editing of the image, the results can be amazing! This was taken in France at Stuart and Emma’s wedding around 8pm.
        Golden hour in October
        I love this backlit image from Bella and Charlie’s wedding, the sun was low in the sky and it was hard to see the couple through my viewfinder but I found an angle to minimise the flare and the result was beautiful, I also love how the shadow of the trees frame the moment.

        Off Camera Flash

        During the reception the ambient light will need a bit of help. To create a more natural look, I set up auxiliary flash units that bounce off the ceiling or wall to light you and your guests.

        Flash used naturally
        The beauty of this image is that it looks as though no flash has been used, but without it would have been a very dark and grainy and felt quite flat!
        Mandarin Oriental wedding
        This wedding at the Mandarin Oriental had orange uplighted walls, by positioning my flash in the corner and having one on my camera directed to a point on the ceiling behind me, I was able to create a subtle highlight to the brides hair whilst maintaining beautiful skin tones and keeping the ambience of the room.


        My recommendation is to always consider using various types of lighting within your marquee or outdoor area to add a romantic feel and enhance your photographs. Sprinkling lights in the background can really help produce an interesting photograph. Fairy lights are an absolute favourite of mine because they add a blurred background commonly known as bokeh in the world of photography. Lanterns or large lights with the couple’s initials help to add warmth and uplighting a marquee can make all the difference.

        Bokeh effect at a wedding
        This is a great example of fairylights blurred in the background, creating interest to the image with the bokeh effect. Shooting on a large aperture such as 1.8 helped blur the background!
        Fairylights in a marquee
        I loved the fairylights draped from the ceiling of this marquee along with the warm uplighters.


        Don’t forget to ask your DJ what kinds of lighting he or she intends on bringing to the wedding day. Absolutely no laser lighting – this produces unflattering red or green spots on everyone. Coloured up lighting is a go around the dance floor and can add depth to your photographs. My use of flash will freeze the action, but I make sure to not overdo it to maintain ambiance of the room.

        Candle lit first dance
        They turned all the lights off for this romantic candle lit dance in Poland, by mixing in a tiny bit of flash I was able to freeze the action and enhance the look of the candles.
        Brazilian dancers at a wedding
        The DJ lights at this wedding in Amsterdam were already amazing, but with a little off camera flash I was able to make the dancer pop and separate her from the background whilst keeping everything in focus.