The Secrets to Amazing Outdoor Wedding Photography

Make sure your outdoor wedding photography is amazing by reading up on these insider secrets from professional wedding photographers


When you picture the gorgeous wedding photos you’ll have as a memento of your big day, you’ll probably want at least a few shots of the two of you outside the church or venue. But there are plenty of practicalities to bear in mind before you head outdoors. Here, three wedding photography experts exclusively reveal the secrets to perfect wedding snaps outdoors.

Get Planning

Never just hope for the best — discuss exactly what you want with your photographer in advance. “Have a plan regarding the outside shots you want and what you’d like to achieve with them,” says Louise Young at Pavone Photography. “And get your photographer to set up lighting or props before you venture out. That way, if it’s freezing, you can be in and out as quickly as possible.”

Pavone Photography

Photographs By: Pavone Photography

Be Flexible

“I advise couples to have a plan A and B,” says wedding photographer Alexa Loy, winner of a Breakthrough Award in 2012. “I tell couples beforehand that we have to work with what we get on the day. I got some beautiful photos in the rain at one wedding where the reception was in a steam train: instead of the shot we’d planned, of them stood next to the train, I got them into the carriage which actually worked better.”

Alexa Loy

Photographs By: Alexa Loy

Fingers Crossed for Cloud

A gloriously sunny day might sound like photo-perfection, but a little cloud softens the light and prevents any squinting. “Avoid having shots around midday,” says Louise. “The hour around noon can provide quite harsh lighting, causing unflattering shadows and dark circles under the eyes.”

Paul Rogers

Photographs By: Paul Rogers

But a good photographer can make the bright sun work well, adds Paul Rogers. “Modern cameras and processing techniques can produce stunning shots when a photographer shoots into the light.”

Work with the Wind

“Blustery breezes can add some fun to your photos,” says Alexa. “I’ve got a wicked picture of the bride’s veil blowing over the groom’s face and they’re laughing hysterically.”

Alexa Loy

Photographs By: Alexa Loy

And Paul agrees: “A photographer who captures weather elements is doing a great job of telling your wedding day story.”

But if you’re not keen on the windswept look, you don’t necessarily need to head indoors, says Louise: “Use a windy day as an excuse to snuggle in close to your partner for romantic shots.”

Keep an Open Mind on Locations

“Make the most of what your venue has to offer,” says Louise. “If you’ve got access to gorgeous views — use them! If you’ve got quirky or rustic features, incorporate them too. For something more formal, a fairly neutral backdrop, like bushes, is ideal.”

“I always walk around beforehand to look for good spots, as well as chatting to the couple,” adds Alexa. “I got great photos by some gorgeous hollyhocks at a wedding last summer.”

Be Practical

Consider bringing along some sun cream, water, umbrellas — and flat shoes. “If you want outdoor photos, be prepared for the cold; even summer evenings can have a nip in the air,” says Louise. “We always advise brides to have a pair of flat shoes and a wrap, cardigan or jacket to keep her warm, even if it’s only for between shots.

“Umbrellas make wonderful props for quirky photos. And unless the rain is heavy, it will rarely show in photos, so do nip outside for a couple of quick shots.”

Listen to the Expert

Your photographer’s expertise means they can give you the best advice on the day, says Alexa — even if it means telling you that the shot you have your heart set on won’t work. “Hotels are often keen to say, ‘this is where you’ll have your photos taken’, to the bride and groom; that always annoys me, because they don’t always know.”

Timing is Everything

“Be flexible about portraits as the photographer might only have a couple of minutes’ notice when the light is looking right on cloudy days,” says Paul.

And consider scheduling two photo sessions. “We often shoot one set mid-afternoon, around the drinks reception, and one in the hour leading up to sunset,” says Louise. “The earlier session provides an opportunity for beautiful shots making the most of the surroundings; the later shoot offers perfect, soft lighting for romantic shots.”

Think in Colour

“When cloud cover is heavier, photos taking in a wider view have very dull, uniformly white skies,” says Paul. “A splash of colour can really lift the picture, so make sure you’re holding your bouquet, or use other brightly-coloured props.”

Pavone Photography

Photographs By: Pavone Photography

Aaaaand Relax!

When it comes to photography, many little problems (that you might not have even noticed at the time) can be fixed after your wedding day. “Don’t worry about things like flyaway strands of hair,” says Louise. “They can easily be corrected by your photographer during post-processing.”


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