Light Matters: What Clients Need to Know About Natural Light Photography

I specialize in natural light photography. As long as the sun is not directly overhead (boo, nose and eye shadows!) she and I maintain an excellent relationship.

It’s why I love that my studio has such enormous windows—the light that pours in from them is not only soft and beautiful, but incredibly flattering on my clients.

I’ve said it before—being a photographer is about so much more than just taking pictures. Part of my goal is to ensure that when you see your photos for the first time, it inspires you to feel amazing about yourself! To achieve that, I work hard to pay attention to lighting everywhere I go, and you know what?

You should, too.

Here are 4 “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to natural light photography:

DO schedule your wedding day timeline around light, if at all possible, to ensure the best photos.

natural light photography

My #1 tip for all my clients—for great photos, try to schedule your portraits when the sun is lower in the sky. During daylight savings time, this could be anywhere from between 6pm-9pm. During the fall and winter months, this will be somewhere between 4pm and 6pm.

I’ll admit—it can be hard to follow this. Sometimes it’s easier to schedule the ceremony at 1pm to account for family members who need to travel long distances home after the reception, or because your venue mandates specific time constraints. If you need to do that, then we can still work together to carve out an hour or so when the sun is lower in the sky for your portraits.

What happens if you shoot when the sun is higher in the sky?

Well, if you can’t find some shade, you’ll find that your eyebrows and nose can cast unsightly shadows on your face. And we absolutely don’t want that on a day when you should be feeling your best!

DON’T be late to an evening engagement session or we’ll lose that incredible, glowy sunset!

natural light photography

The sun moves fast. If our session is scheduled for 5:30pm, please do your best to get there on time! 🙂 Once we’ve parked and spent a few moments chatting, we may still need to walk a short distance, and that sun is just dipping lower and lower every minute. There’s about a 3o minute window where the sun’s location in the sky will be primo for natural light photography, and we don’t want to miss that.

IF we have to schedule a shoot midday, though, we can always find some shady woods or an interesting building that’s casting a helpful shadow.

DO consider taking family portraits outdoors instead of indoors.

I’ve shot plenty of family portraits inside dark dated churches, hotel lobbies, and innumerable other interiors– but the best results truly come when we can all step outside!

natural light photography

This goes back to scheduling your wedding timeline around light, if at all possible. Again, if you can’t, be sure your ceremony venue has access to some huge windows or a shady outdoor area. (We can chat if you’d like some help with this!)

Another idea, especially if your reception is in the late afternoon at a really gorgeous venue, is to just do family portraits at the reception site. Just be sure to organize your family beforehand so everyone knows exactly where to be and when.

DON’T get ready for your wedding in a dark or windowless room if you can help it.

I know it’s not always possible, but when scoping out getting-ready locations, try to find a place with some BIG bright windows.

Several locations have a bridal suite in the basement or some other dark locale, which really isn’t the best for natural light photography.

Some sunlight coming through a pretty window, though? Perfect.

natural light photography

The bottom line though?

Don’t worry. No matter what—sunlight or no sunlight—we’re going to take some amazing photos together.

Plus, at the end of the day ( pun intended) the real light is going to come from you—from your love, your joy, and your wonderful smile. 🙂

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!