Photography Tips for Your Outdoor Wedding

Planning an outdoor wedding offers beautiful natural backdrops and lighting, but it also presents unique challenges. The challenges can depend on time of day, season, and location. While we can’t dictate what Mother Nature decides to do at any given moment, we can definitely make sure we’re prepared for anything! Here are a few things to consider as you’re planning your outdoor wedding.


Time of Day:

If you want to make the most of the natural light, be sure to keep in mind the time of day, as well as the season. The light at 3pm in June is a lot different than the light at 3pm in November. If you know that taking sunset couple photos is super, super important to you, then you would want to plan your ceremony and other events accordingly. Another thing to keep in mind is that the sun is at its highest point in the sky between 12pm-1pm. The quality of the sunlight is usually pretty harsh and can create some serious and dramatic shadows which are typically not as flattering. Any photos you do during this time, you will probably have to squint quite a bit if the sun is shining brightly.

Natural Backdrops: 

When it comes to nature, the option of scenery you can incorporate into your wedding are endless. Mountains, beaches, lakes, deserts–each type of environment has its own special charm that can add a dynamic element to your day. Below is an image that I captured at an outdoor wedding. The ceremony was held outdoors in the middle of a redwood grove in Northern California. The majestic trees provided a stunning backdrop during the ceremony and looked so good in photographs!

Plan for Wind:

Wind can affect hair, veils, and clothing. Be prepared to adjust and consider wind-friendly hairstyles and attire. If it’s windy, you might not want to have your hair down, as the strands might get in your face. And if you put curls in your hair, the wind might blow them out. If anyone in the ceremony has a long slit in their dress, then this is something you would want to account for–the wind might blow dresses open if there are large slits.

Prepare for Weather: 

Have a backup plan in case of unexpected weather changes. If it’s sunny, providing shaded areas is helpful for your guests and for avoiding harsh shadows in your photos. If it starts raining, it’s great to have a back up plan for indoors (if the venue allow) or at the very least, have a tented area for you and your guests to escape to. I have photographed a wedding that was originally scheduled to take place outdoors, but because there was a threat of rain, they were able to shift all of the chairs and decor inside a ballroom at the hotel.

Keep Guests Comfortable:

Supplying fans during outdoor summer afternoon weddings are super helpful.

With planning outdoor weddings, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the elements. It’s best to stay ahead of the game and make sure your friends and loved ones that are there to witness your union are as comfortable as possible. There are a number of different options that you can utilize to help your guests to brave the elements. Here are some of my favorite things that I’ve seen couples use to keep their guests comfortable:

For warm weather weddings:

  • hand fans
  • parasols or umbrellas to block the sun and provide a bit of shade
  • insect repellent/citronella candles
  • sunscreen

For cooler weather weddings:

  • blankets
  • hand warmers
  • gloves
  • scarves
  • outdoor heaters

In these images below, blankets were used to help keep guests warm in the cool fall weather.



Wide Shots and Panoramas:

There’s nothing quite like a stunning landscape with you and your love all alone on your wedding day (well I’ll be there too, capturing it). When you’re planning your wedding day timeline, make sure you make enough time to get away to capture photos with any beautiful scenery that is in close proximity to where you’ll be located. These are the photos that most couples will want to hang on their living room walls.



Engage with Nature: 

If you’re feeling adventurous, embrace the weather! This will make for some really remarkable and memorable photos. I’ve had couples snuggle under an umbrella in the middle of a torrential downpour to get some creative shots. In the photo below, I was capturing some solo shots of the bride in the mountains, when the snow started falling. She was such a rock star–it was so cold (to me), but she was determined to get this shot.



I hope these tips will be helpful for you as you plan your wedding day!