The popularity of outdoor wedding photography has grown due to the increasing interest in having these celebrations outdoors. Outdoor wedding photography offers unique opportunities that you wouldn’t get in an indoor setting. It also presents some unique challenges.

Let’s begin with the basics of a successful photo shoot.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Wedding Photography

Many of the same techniques that are used to photograph indoor weddings can be applied to outdoor wedding photography. Your shot list will still include the ceremony, photos of the bride and groom, and photos of family members.

Gear Requirements

The gear used for both indoor and outdoor wedding photos is similar at first glance. Outdoor photography can be more difficult because the weather and lighting conditions may fluctuate.

Neutral density filters are useful for balancing the exposure when there is a bright sun. You’ll often find that the sky is blown out, even though the lower half of the horizon has been properly exposed. The dynamic range is too extreme, with the highlights and shadows being too far apart.

Flash devices that are not attached to the camera can be used in situations where the sun is behind your subject. When the sun is directly behind your subject, it can create a silhouette, which will obscure the details of the issue.

You can take wedding photos outdoors without shaking your camera by using a remote shutter release. It is especially important to use this in low-light conditions where you might be trying to capture the surroundings closer to dusk.

Camera Settings

The photographer is usually responsible for the lighting of the photos, as indoor wedding venues need better lighting. Natural outdoor lighting relieves the photographer of this burden, giving the shoot a more organic feel.

In outdoor lighting, your ISO can be reduced as ambient light is sufficient for your camera’s sensor. You’ll need to use less noise reduction in your editing software.

It may be necessary to bracket your exposures to achieve the required dynamic range to accurately expose the difference in lighting between the sky and the horizon. HDR is the term used to describe this. Modern cameras are equipped with settings to help with this process.


It can be difficult for someone new to wedding photography to incorporate the natural world. It is important to strike a balance between highlighting the natural world and keeping the wedding party (our subjects) at the forefront of the image. It’s important to remove any distracting items from your shots, like vehicles or photobombers.

Use architecture to give your portraits more character. Old barns are a popular “scene” at outdoor weddings. Many wedding clients are drawn to these barns because of the rustic architecture.

Newcomers may need help getting started, as outdoor wedding photographers can have a wide range of compositional options. It is best first to understand the wedding theme and what the client wants and then decide how you will photograph the event.

Tips For Stunning Outdoor Wedding Photos

Newcomers may need help to come up with a Wedding Photography strategy. Wedding photographers who work outdoors need to be very meticulous in their planning and execution. Once you’ve done a few weddings, it becomes easier to overcome the obstacles that each wedding presents.

Here are 15 tips you can immediately use to improve the quality of your wedding photography.

You are the advisor, not the advised.

The bride, groom and family members are always quick to criticize weak photographers. Wedding photographers are often bombarded with ideas about “good shots.”

You should listen to other suggestions. It can help you overcome any mental blockages. You can also balance your knowledge with a plan and a strategy. You will look more professional and authoritative. Your clients can relax and enjoy their wedding, and you can get on with your job.

Highlight the subject, not the scenery.

Wedding photographers will often take formal pictures of the bride and the groom, only to find that the background is a distraction. The eye can be distracted by too many distractions, making your subject almost invisible.

You can do this by mentally breaking the image into sections. The most detailed subjects will be those in the foreground or mid-ground. Backgrounds should support the story without being distracting.

Show off the Venue

Showing behind-the-scenes images is a great way to convey the entire wedding story. A shot idea would be to establish an empty altar or a tent that is fully decorated.

You can also take close-ups of the table settings or an illuminated area for celebrations (like a dancefloor). These photos are perfect for clients, as they show the attention to detail that was put into setting up.

Prepare for weather conditions.

The ambient lighting at outdoor weddings is amazing. However, rain can often force you to retreat to tents or change your plans. You can continue shooting even in bad weather by keeping a few large umbrellas in your bag.

Protect your camera from rain with a waterproof bag or case. Pack extra layers of clothing and hand warmers, especially if you are shooting a wedding in winter.

If the weather is really bad, keep an alternative location in mind. It can be an area that is sheltered, such as a building or tent.

Do some research on the photo locations before you go.

More is needed to Google the location and look at the street view. You can get a lot out of visiting the site before your big day.

Check out the photos taken by other photographers in the same location. You can often find inspiration by looking at what other photographers have shot. You can visit the site if there are no photos and the area doesn’t serve as a wedding venue.

Rustic Elements Add Emotional Impact

The rustic elements and architecture may be reserved for rustic weddings only, but they add a great deal of creativity to wedding photographs taken outdoors. Rustic is something that has a special meaning for the client.

As long as your client finds it meaningful, you can use a simple family ring as an element of rustic in your photographs. This can help you create photos that are personal to your client and show the family’s relationship to tradition.

Fill Flash Illuminates your Subject’s Front

Uneven lighting is a major challenge when taking photos outside. A bright sun behind your subject can darken it as the brightness blows out of the sky.

Use a Fill Flash for the deep shadows to make your subject stand out from the background. This technique can make your subject look more three-dimensional than just flattened.

For maximum effectiveness, use a flash when the sun is behind the subject. However, it would help if you were careful not to set your moment too bright, as this can result in a washed-out effect.

Avoid shooting in the harsh midday sun.

If you must take formal photos on a sunny afternoon, choose a shaded area. The sun directly overhead will cause harsh shadows and details to be blown out.

You’ll also have a wedding party who can only look at the camera if they wear sunglasses. As their brows cast a shadow, harsh sunlight can create dark circles beneath your subjects’ eyelids.

Keep outdoor distractions out of your wedding photos.

We will always focus on a small detail, which can overshadow the entire image. Outdoors and many distractions can be easily incorporated into your photographs. You can distract yourself with a variety of things.

  • Cars
  • Power lines
  • Pedestrians
  • Planes
  • Wildlife

It’s possible to edit these elements out in post-processing, but it is always better to compose your photos correctly on camera. It’s great to edit your photos to add the finishing touches, but sometimes, cloning something can have undesirable results.

Bring a Wide Angle Lens to Take Creative Outdoor Shots

You can use a 50mm focal length for portraits, but you’ll want to capture the entire wedding. You can get close to the wedding subject with a telephoto lens, but you miss out on everything else.

A 24mm-35mm zoom lens allows you to capture more of the scene. A wide-angle lens will give you the best results if you are trying to catch a part of the venue.

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