Wedding photography tips – Tip Number One!

Bride and groom Autumn Arrowtown wedding library queenstown old phone booth

A good example of low sun/later afternoon light – warm golden light, rich colours and more attractive shadows.

This page is where I will be posting all my wedding photography tips.  Tip Number One is a simple piece of advice that is guaranteed to help you get great wedding photos – regardless of who is taking the photographs.

And the best part is that it’s TOTALLY FREE!  What is this amazing secret I hear you ask?  It’s simple.  If possible have your wedding an hour or two later in the day.

Your bridal party/location photos are some of the most important (and hopefully the most beautiful) photos you will have taken on your wedding day.  Normally these happen between the ceremony and the reception.  Ask any photographer and they will tell you that the later it is and the lower the sun is in the sky the more beautiful your photographs will look.

Usually by the time you have booked your wedding photographer everything else is locked and loaded but if you do have any freedom with the timing of your wedding consider pushing things back an hour or two so that you get better light and more beautiful bridal party photos.  Even pushing things back by an hour can make a big difference.  This is one simple thing you can do that will help ANY photographer capture more beautiful wedding images for you.

From my experience the most typical timing for wedding ceremonies is between 12 and 3.  Usually the ceremony lasts for half an hour and after that you have around 3 hours until the reception.  If you are shooting between 12 and 3 at say the start of January the sun is high in the sky and the light is not at it’s most flattering.

The true sunset at this time of year is around 930 but in Queenstown we will lose the sun a lot earlier than that because it will duck behind the mountains.  So, it depends upon your exact location, but we might expect to have the sun until around 830 in early January.

Example: imagine you’re getting married in January in Queenstown and you decide to have your ceremony at 3 instead of 12.

This means your bridal party photos would probably be taken between 4 and 7pm instead of between 1 and 4pm.  If the weather is good the difference in light in January between a photo taken at 1 and a photo taken at 5 will blow your socks off!  The light will be rich, warm and golden.  The sun’s lower height in the sky means any shadows will be a lot more flattering.  Colours will be rich and the light more contrasty.  The photographer can capture stunning back-lit images with golden rim-light created by the sun.

I’m just saying!  So think about the timing – you may not be able to change a thing, but if you can…push it back!  Your photos will thank you for it!

(Am I totally crazy here?  Am I flirting with death – or at least public humiliation – by even suggesting messing with a bride-to-be’s wedding day schedule?  I would love to hear what you think – please be gentle! – in the comment box below)

I hope these wedding photo tips are helpful and good luck with all the planning and preparation!







PS Here are a couple of links to help you plan the timing and flow of your wedding day.

#1Downloadable (PDF) wedding day schedule planner template from

#2 is a great website that has lots of helpful wedding photo tips and general info for brides-to-be planning their wedding day.

Author Details

Patrick Fallon

I am a wedding photographer based in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand. I have been full-time with the photography thing since 2006 and still can’t believe I get to do what I love for a job! Here are a few words that I think sum me up: I AM…tall and bald, happy, imaginative, constantly hungry, active and friendly. I LOVE…my girl, coffee, photography, fooooooood, my family and friends, riding bikes, being outside, the simple things in life, people… I love my life! I believe that wedding photography can and should be SIMPLE, NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL.

Leave A Comment?

You must be <a href="" title="Log in">logged in</a> to post a comment.