10 Tips for Shooting a Summer Wedding

Marianne Stenger
29th July 2019

Thanks to the warm weather and longer days, summer is a popular time of year for weddings. It’s for these same reasons that summer weddings are so much fun to photograph; the warm colours and relaxed summer atmosphere can make for some stunning photos.

Of course, every situation and season brings its own unique challenges for photographers to work around, and summer is no different. The heat and harsh midday sunlight can be challenging to deal with, especially if you’re shooting outdoors. So we’ve lined up some important tips and considerations for shooting a summer wedding.

1. Dress comfortably

Although it’s important to dress appropriately when photographing a wedding, you also need to be comfortable enough to move freely. This is especially important in warmer weather, because you won’t be able to focus on being creative if you’re feeling uncomfortably hot.

Make sure your footwear is comfortable and choose lightweight, natural, and breathable fabrics that you can comfortably squat and bend in. Beige or pastel colours are a good option for staying cool. Of course, even if the day has started out warm and sunny, you should bring an extra layer or two in case the weather changes. It’s also a good idea to pack some face blotters and body wipes to keep yourself feeling fresh throughout the day.

2. Try to discuss the schedule with the couple ahead of time

As a photographer, sometimes you just have to make the most of things, even when this means taking group shots and portraits in harsh midday sun.

But if you have a chance to do so, try to sit down with the bride and groom a few weeks before the wedding to discuss the timing and put together a shot list. This allows you to make sure the couple understands how much time you will need to get the specific photos they want and make a plan so you can work more efficiently on the day itself.

3. Start as early as possible

Try to arrive at the venue as early as possible so you can start photographing the venue, location, and smaller details such as flower arrangements and table settings before the guests start to arrive. The light will be softer and you’ll be able to photograph everything while it’s still peaceful and fresh.

4. Find some shade for midday photos

If you have to take the group shots and couple portraits around midday when the sun is harsh and bright, try to move into a shaded area such as under a patch of trees. This will help you escape the midday heat and avoid ending up with group shots where everyone is squinting into the sun. Shade also works as a natural diffuser by eliminating harsh shadows and giving your photos a softer look.

5. Use a reflector in bright sunlight

If you can’t move into the shade and have no other option than to shoot the couple portraits in bright sunlight, you can use a simple reflector to minimise any harsh shadows. Reflectors are relatively inexpensive and can be used to reflect light onto your subject and fill in the shadows or even to create some shade by blocking the light that’s coming from above.  

6. Capture the summer vibe

Summer weddings are usually fun and colourful affairs, so make sure you capture all the little details that highlight the fact that it was a summer wedding. For instance, you can try to include green leafy trees and summer flowers in the background, and get close-up shots of things like ice cold cocktails and beers, menus and place cards, and summery flower arrangements.

7. Show off the location

Although you’ll want to get plenty of close-up shots of the details as well as intimate portraits, it’s just as important to show off the venue and the surroundings. This is especially true when it comes to summer weddings, because they’re often held in picturesque outdoor locations such as beaches or parks. So make sure that in addition to your portrait lenses, you also have a wide angle lens that will allow you to include more of the surroundings in your photos.

8. Be careful for blown out highlights

In addition to harsh shadows, one issue you may run into on a bright sunny day is blown out highlights. When this happens, you may notice that although most parts of your photo are well-exposed, the lightest parts, such as the sky or the bride’s white dress, are overexposed.

Unfortunately, once part of a photo has been overexposed, there is no recovering the details in blown out highlights. So when shooting on a bright sunny day, try to expose for the brightest parts of the image and keep an eye on your histogram to make sure that none of the most important parts of the image are overexposed.

9. Take regular breaks

If you’re shooting portraits and group photos outdoors in hot weather, frequent breaks are a must. For one thing, the bride and groom aren’t going to look their best in their wedding photos if they’ve been standing in the hot sun for too long, and as a photographer, you won’t be doing your best work if you feel like you’re overheating. 

For this reason, it’s important to have an unhurried and flexible shooting schedule that allows you to take breaks to hydrate and cool off when necessary

10. Don’t miss the golden hour

One of the best things about summer photography is the magical golden hour, when the sun is low in the sky and casting a soft warm glow on your subjects. Make a note of when the sun will set so you don’t miss this opportunity to create some romantic wedding portraits.

Of course, you may not be able to have the full portrait session during the golden hour as there may already be other things going on. But if you can, try to whisk the bride and groom away for at least a few shots just before the sun sets. The results are guaranteed to be worth it.

Are you still looking for an efficient way to turn your wedding photos into a gorgeous photo book? Browse our selection of photo books at Bob Books to find a book and layout you love, or check out some of our tips for designing a wedding photo book