We’ve photographed indoor weddings and outdoor weddings, so we’ve seen a lot of different ideas! Today I want to share some tips on how to prepare for your wedding based on if it’ll be outdoors or indoors!
Obviously, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, the first thing you’ll want to think about is a backup in case the weather is bad. If you have your heart set on being outdoors, you’re probably not thrilled at the idea of having to move it indoors, but you need to be prepared for that just in case. Does your venue have an indoor location? If not, consider renting a tent or you may even have to change the location depending on what you’d like. Also, choose a time that you’ll need to make your decision by. Is that 2 days before the wedding at 12pm or does that decision need to be made more in advance, like 2 weeks before? Either way, it’s best not to make that call at the last minute on the day of because it could affect multiple vendors and decor items.
If it’s going to rain and you’ve decided to move your ceremony indoors, don’t give up the idea of having your portraits outdoors! You can get clear umbrellas and still be able to get those natural light photos! These make for some of the most romantic (and fun!) wedding day photos!
Be mindful of your venue’s terrain when choosing your wedding shoes! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard brides and bridesmaids complain that their shoes are sinking into the ground. Heels look great, I know! But it’s ok to choose a flatter shoe if you’re not used to walking in heels or if you’re worried about the grass at your venue. No matter what type of shoe you choose, make sure to have a backup pair! I chose a flat sandal thinking I’d be comfortable all day, but my feet were killing me by the time we got to the ceremony! Ya’ll have no idea how badly I wanted my $2 Old Navy flip flops for the reception. And because of my wedding dress, that would have been ok if I had just thought to bring them!
Make sure to think about the sound for your ceremony! Hiring a DJ is probably best to help make sure your guests can hear the music, the minister, and the bride and groom. We’ve worked with some AWESOME DJs and if you ever need a recommendation, I’d love to send some your way!
When considering your ceremony time and location on your venue’s property, be sure to think about where the sun will be. You don’t want it to be directly overhead – that can be incredibly hot and casts the most unflattering light. Opt to have your ceremony closer to sunset time, like 2-2.5 hours before sunset, even in the Summer months (maybe especially in the Summer months). That would give time for the ceremony, portraits after, and then we’d be able to get some bride and groom sunset photos before you go to your reception! In Winter months, you may want to have your ceremony set earlier so that it’s not getting too dark if you still want some photos outside after the ceremony. An extra tip – in the Winter months, the sun is almost always at an angle instead of directly overhead so you can almost have your ceremony start time at any point in the day.
As for location of the sun, you definitely don’t want it directly overhead. But it might also be nice to make sure your guests won’t be staring into the sun while they’re watching you get married. The best angle is to have it behind the bride so that she’s in the most flattering light, or have the entire ceremony site in the shade. If the light is hitting the groom’s side the guys will appear much brighter than the girls in photos. Or if you’re under a tree and there are pockets of light everywhere, that won’t make for the most flattering or beautiful of photos either. Open shade is best, if possible.
For outdoor receptions, make sure you have some sort of light. We will have our flashes, but a continuous light source will help a ton! Cameras can’t focus without some sort of light already present. So have string lights or ask your DJ to provide lighting. Just please! No pin lights!!!!! Pin lights may look fun in the moment, but trust me, you won’t love them in your photos! They can create blown out areas of color that cannot be fixed when editing! Changing the photo to black and white helps, but then you only see spots on everyone’s skin.
This one gets a bigger section just like outdoor weddings. It may be even more important with indoor lighting. Obviously, I’m a huge fan of natural light, but I know at night when it’s dark, that’s not possible. So a few tips – turn off all overhead lighting for receptions (and indoor ceremonies if possible)! We’ve been in venues with mixed lighting, fluorescent lights, tungsten, etc. and it creates the weirdest color in images. Even when we’re shooting getting ready photos, we prefer to turn off the lights if there’s a big window because it just makes your photos look natural instead of yellow or green toned. So you could light with string lights, uplighting, or another type of romantic lighting. You can also ask your DJ for lights, I recommend this. Just make sure they’re not pin lights! 🙂
For ceremonies, we’ve photographed church weddings with both sides of the church being lined with huge windows. If the light is able to come through a good amount, we’ve had couples ask for all lights to be off because they know it will produce clean beautiful images! If that’s not an option though, play around with the lighting to make sure there aren’t super bright spotlights on you and to make sure that it’s not too dark. Also ask ahead of time if your photographers are allowed to use flash. We don’t prefer this because it can be distracting depending on the area, but sometimes it’s the best way to make sure your photos aren’t too yellow and dingy in an indoor setting.
Be mindful of your indoor location and how many people it will hold comfortably. We’ve been to weddings where we could barely walk around to get photos of each reception event because there were so many tables set up and they were very close together. On the flip side, we’ve been to more intimate weddings set in very large spaces. In that case, it’s best to set your tables a little closer together so that your guests all feel connected and not too spaced out.
For ceremonies be sure to ask about where your photographer is allowed to be. This hasn’t happened to us, but I know there are some churches that don’t allow a photographer inside during the ceremony. So, be mindful of that if photos of your ceremony are important to you. I also know of some churches that don’t allow the photographer to be up front during a ceremony. This can prevent us from getting a photo of the bride coming down the aisle. On the flip side, we’ve been in lots of churches and venues that allow us to be right up where the action is happening! Of course, we’re respectful and make sure we’re not in the way of guests or right in your faces, but it’s nice to be able to get photos of the bride and wedding party coming down the aisle!
We ALWAYS recommend that even if the wedding is going to be indoors, we’d love to be able to do any and all portraits outside. This allows us to have natural light which can be more flattering and true to color. Indoor photos with artificial lighting can cause color casts making your dress, your skin, and everything else appear extra yellow or green. Being outdoors fixes that as long as you have a photographer that knows where to do the photos at! 😉 Natural light also helps make your colors pop a bit more and makes your images so much better!