A great photographer will be able to capture stunning wedding photos at any time of day, but there's definitely an ideal time—when the lighting is just right—to pose for portraits. To help make sure you're ready during that perfect window of time, we spoke with two professional wedding photographers about the very best (and worst!) times of day to pose for portraits.
The majority of photographers will tell you that the ideal time to capture photos is during "golden hour," or the hours immediately after the sun rises or immediately before the sun sets. "It's aptly named because the light is soft and the color is amazing," photographer Chaz Cruz says. If you want this coveted golden glow for your backdrop, timing will be crucial, so work with your photographer to plan ahead. If a sunrise session isn't the cards, timing your ceremony to begin well before or just after sunset—thus freeing you up to snap portraits during that time—is your best bet. As for the worst time? High noon. It's not impossible to take great photos at this time, but shadows are tough to contend with, and temperatures will also be at their highest.
If you end up having an overcast wedding day, don't let it get you down. In fact, Cruz says that this is actually a big plus in terms of your photos. "Don't think of it as a bad sign, as you have the opportunity to have great photos taken at any time during the day since there isn't any harsh light to deal with," he explains. And should your big day be bright and sunny, it's best to take photos in shady spaces. In an open space like a park or a beach, Cruz says, "Your photographer has to fight that high sun and will be looking for any shaded spot they can put you in, so do them a favor and either make some time for portraits later in the day or find a location that is enclosed or can provide some shade from the sun."
To make sure you have options, Stamati Boundouris of SBPhotography says to tour your wedding venue in the days leading up to your event, and invite your photographer along. "My best advice would be to scout your location a day or two in advance. Head there the same time you're planning on doing portraits the day of the wedding." If you have your heart set on a getting sunset shots, make sure to do some research to find out the time of sunset on your wedding day and allow your photographer some flexibility when it comes to timing. "Sunsets are quicker than we realize so timing is crucial," Boundouris reminds us.