This year, many of my wedding couples have expressed interest in escaping their reception at sunset to take some portraits in the evening light. This can take a little bit of logistical planning, as, depending on the time of year, the sunset time might fall anywhere from 4:30pm to 9:30pm. We will often bookmark the 30 minutes around the scheduled sunset time to sneak out for photos, but even with the best of planning, sometimes sunset surprises you. During Danielle and Michael’s wedding, rays of sun appeared in huge streaks across the sky about 45 minutes before sunset was scheduled to occur. Sometimes, the magnificence of the sunset happens 10 or 15 minutes after the sun has actually dipped below the horizon, and the sky explodes into gorgeous arrays of color. Sometimes the sunset itself is fairly ho-hum, but the soft, bluish light that occurs right at twilight lends itself to soft and beautiful portraits.
I’m always enthusiastic when couples express interest in sunset photos, with the added advice that flexibility is key. Different sunsets lend themselves to different types of approaches. The sunset above was perfect for a stunning silhouette against the sky. Sometimes the landscape and colors work best when images are taken in the opposite direction, with orange or pinkish light grazing the scenery behind. Had Danielle and Michael not been able to excuse themselves from their reception at this early point, their sunset wedding portrait would have looked very different. Had sunset taken place during their toasts, they would have missed it entirely.
But what if Danielle and Michael didn’t really care about sunset photos? What if they would have preferred to have more dancing photos with their friends and family instead of sneaking off for evening portraits? It may not matter how amazing the sky was if a favorite aunt had to leave early and you missed your chance to dance with her.
I’m a big fan of prioritizing first, then working your schedule around those priorities. Because of that, each of our clients, especially if they don’t have the luxury of a wedding planner, gets in-depth scheduling planning along with their wedding photography services. Making sure that you and your fiancé and your photographer are all on the same page with regard to what you most want to walk away with (and how much time to spend capturing it) is one of the best ways your photographer can help you to make sure you’re happy with your wedding photos and your experience of the wedding day. Above all, your photographer wants you to walk away happy, so don’t be afraid to let them know how they can best help you .