My guide to lighting on your wedding day

February 19, 2019

Why are we having this conversation?

Lighting can be complex, it can change very quickly and luckily I’ve had many years practising with this – especially with the weather in the UK. Different light produces different things too, so if you like a particular part of my portfolio in terms of the lighting try to get some time to incorporate some couple portraits in that light.

Of course the weather is never the same, each day to the next. So I can’t promise anything but I will be there to guide you as lighting expert to get the most out of you day. If you’re having a winter wedding feel free to have a chat about light and times with me before you set anything in stone with the venue. Having photographed weddings in the UK for the past 6 years I am fully equipped for snow, wind, rain, cloud and bright sunlight, it is an important skill as a photographer and one that is developed with experience.

Here is an example of how it could have gone wrong:

A good photographer is exposes for the light, but what if the light was. continually changing? This happens a lot especially in the UK with continuous changes. If I hadn’t exposed these photos correctly the photo would have either been too bright or too dark, fortunaately I continually updated my settings during these moments to capture the moments naturally whilst thinking carefully about what I wanted to expose more.

I am so pleased that I overexposed this photo slightly so that I was able to capture Kat and Liam’s bodies rather the focus on the top of their heads. See more from Kat and Liam’s Lake Como wedding here.


Hard light – direct sunlight

10am – 7pm during mid summer

When the sun is high in the sky it produces this hard light, my enemy. Most couples and guests think it’s wonderful when the sun is shining, which I completely get – it’s lovely and warm. However, it can be very difficult to work with and creates harsh shadows. This light isn’t the best for formal group shots, but I make it work (as seen below) – lots of contrast works a charm!

 Lake Como Wedding Photography, Italy Destination wedding, Lucie Watson Photography

 Sprivers Mansion, Kent Wedding, Lucie Watson Photography

TOP TIP: when possible and the light is harsh, I look for shade. You will notice most portraits are done under trees on hot, sunny days. Thankfully in Lake Como the area was surrounded by trees for shade, ideal for a 4PM ceremony in 30 degrees heat – kept the guests happy and well too!

 Lake Como Wedding Photography, Italy Destination wedding, Lucie Watson Photography

Golden hour – my favourite and speciality

Half an hour before sunset

I am a slight geek when it comes to golden hour, it’s when I go completely silent as I just can’t snapping when the light is shining behind my couples. It can be so magical. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work in my couples favour but I do try at least to get a Pre Wedding shoot at golden hour!

If you keep 15 minutes for golden hour in your wedding day schedule it’ll totally pay off if the weather plays ball.

 Gosfield Hall, Essex Wedding Photographer, Lucie Watson Photography

 Alnwick Gardens Wedding, Northumberland Wedding Photographer, Lucie Watson Photography

 Northumberland wedding photographer, golden hour wedding photos, Lucie Watson Photography

You can also have fun with your wedding party at golden hour:

 Gosfield Hall, Essex Wedding Photographer, Lucie Watson Photography


20 minutes after sunset

This isn’t my go to light but it’s a great time to do sparklers!

 Irnham hall wedding photographer, Lucie Watson photography, Grantham wedding

Overcast and Rainy days

Any day, any month, any season.

Overcast actually makes me rather happy, the light is great to work in as the Sky acts as a huge softbox. The light makes you evenly lit and produces soft light which is perfect for my style of photography.

 Woodhall Manor wedding, Suffolk wedding, Lucie Watson Photography

If it’s raining, I’d recommend embracing it and enjoy a moment or two outside in it. But of course, this is entirely up to you. If you’re not feeling up to it we can use the light with the venue to capture portraits and in some cases re do some outside later in the day if it brightens up. Also, I’m always keeping an eye out – if it looks like you’re about to get caught out in the rain I’ll sprint to you with an umbrella to get you cover.

I hope this information has enlightened you with your planning and ideas for your wedding day. If you have any further questions relating to lighting please do feel free to email me. You can have a look at more of my planning tips here.

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