The 1, Most Important Outdoor Wedding Tip | PMA Photography

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I'm Amber, a Harry Potter obsessed wedding and brand photographer for those who are anything but ordinary based in Phoenix, Arizona.

When I don't have a camera in my hand, you can find me hiking with my husband, snuggling pups, or planning my next Disney trip.






The 1, Most Important Outdoor Wedding Tip

The 1, Most Important Outdoor Wedding Tip The 1, Most Important Outdoor Wedding Tip The 1, Most Important Outdoor Wedding Tip

If I could tell every couple with an outdoor wedding one tip, it would be go make sure you have even lighting for your ceremony.  Unfortunately, cameras do not see shade and sunlight as well as our eyes do. So, if you are in the shade and your fiance is in the sun, one of you will be light and one of you will be dark in your wedding pictures.  Additionally, if you have your faces in the shade, but your arms are still in the sun, your arms will be starch white in your pictures. So, how do we avoid this? With the same lighting for you, your fiance, and your bridal party.  Here are my top tips on how to achieve this.

Backyard wedding ceremony in front of red barn by Arizona wedding photographers PMA Photography.

Tour Venues One Year In Advance

The sun changes position in the sky considerably between the summer and winter months.  Try to tour venues about a year before the wedding and at a similar time of day. This will give you an accurate idea of what the sun will look like on your wedding day.  If you are planning a wedding in less than a year, ask the venue if they can show you pictures of any weddings from that time of year.

Consider a Shady Ceremony

If your venue offers a shady ceremony area, consider using that for your ceremony.  If you were drawn to specific views that would not be included in that shady spot, you can still use that backdrop in your photos.  Ask your photographer to take pictures with that backdrop. Usually the closer to sunset the better the lighting will be in any spot in a venue.

Wedding ceremony at L'Auberge de Sedona by Arizona wedding photographer PMA Photography.

Sunset Ceremony

Which brings me to my next tip.  Consider a sunset ceremony. These take place about 30 minutes before sunset and is almost guaranteed to provide you with dreamy, even lighting for your ceremony.  You will need to do a first look and take all of your photos (including family portraits) before the ceremony. But, this means that you can have a shorter cocktail hour and enjoy it with your guests!

Test At Your Rehearsal

Schedule your rehearsal to be within 30 minutes of your actual ceremony time.  This will give a very accurate idea of what the sun will look like on your wedding day.  This way you can make adjustments and are prepared for your wedding day. Maybe instead of getting married in front of the porch, you and your wedding party will stand under the porch.  Or instead of weird shade lines from standing under a pergola, you move everyone to a few feet in front of it. Just try to make sure you are all either 100% in the shade or 100% in the sun.

Help Each Other On The Wedding Day

You will be looking at each other during the ceremony.  You will be able to see if the other has a weird shade line across their face or body pretty quickly.  Help each other out by moving into or out of the shade. No one will notice, expect your photographer who is thanking you silently.  Promise.

Groom laughing with his bride during their wedding ceremony at Troon North by Scottsdale wedding photographer PMA Photography.

A Note For Different Skin Tones

If, for whatever reason, you cannot both be in the shade or the sun, I have one last tip.  If you have different skin tones, put the person with the lighter skin tone so their face is in the shade.  My husband and I did this on accident for our wedding, and I am so thankful that we did. It helps to even out the harsh dark and light tones that the sun and shade produce.  

To recap, do whatever you can to get both you and your fiance in the same lighting on your wedding day.  And if you can, your bridal party too! It will make the photos from your wedding ceremony look absolutely amazing.

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