Hi it's Oleg,
I'm an Oshawa Wedding Photographer who operates in Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area. Thanks for taking the time to read through this blog post, for more tips on how to make your wedding photography and engagement photography a success read some of my other articles.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who said “hey Oleg, I noticed my iPhone takes the best photos around noon when it's super bright outside, you must take all your wedding photos then, right?” Clearly this friend hasn't visited my wedding photography website recently. If you know me, you know that I have a certain style of photos and call me a romantic but I'm a sucker for sunsets, for more reasons than one.
The only time I will take pictures in broad daylight or high noon is when it's completely unavoidable due to the timing of the day. During broad daylight and noon in particularly is when the sun in most direct and casts the harshest shadows and therefore, USUALLY, yields the worst wedding and engagement pictures.
During an engagement shoot when we have all the options in the world and I tend to lean towards taking engagement photos around sunset. In the industry we use a term called the “Golden Hour”, it's generally the hour preceding sunset. During this hour light is the softest and so are the shadows. Not only do you get super awesome colours but you also get the most flattering lighting in your wedding and engagement pictures.
So what does that mean for wedding pictures when there's a set schedule? Well, if the timing of your wedding schedule happens to line up with the sunset time then we're in business. For most of the wedding season that probably won't happen as sunset usually happens after 8pm in the Greater Toronto Area which falls right in the middle of the reception. Unless you're willing to ditch your own party for 20 minutes it's time for plan B.
When the timing of the day can't be changed and we have to shoot in broad daylight there are a number of techniques that we use, but mainly like ninjas we stick to the shadows. When we place our brides and grooms in a shadow of a tree or a building we get nice and even lighting across their faces and depending upon the situation we may add some artificial light to create a beautiful picture without harsh shadows or highlights (see image below). As a bonus when we do this in the summer it makes it more comfortable for all of us as it will be much cooler in the shadows than in the direct sunlight.
Does that mean that you can't take pictures in direct sunlight then? No, there are situations where for creative or logistical purposes it makes sense but we do try to stay away from it as much as possible.