Here's How to Get the Best Summer Wedding Photos

Don't let sweltering weather sabotage your photos

Updated 07/15/19

Photo by Chris and Ruth Photography

Summer weddings come with so many benefits. You get more options for venues, gorgeous wedding flowers, and don’t forget about the extra hours of daylight. However, taking summer wedding photos in the middle of the day and in the heat of the sun can be a serious struggle.

Because most summer weddings are in the early evening, photo time is usually early to mid-afternoon, so it's important to be prepared for the heat and other potential saboteurs to getting those picture-perfect shots. To make sure you’re prepared, we talked to the wedding photography pros to get their top tips on how to get the best summer wedding photos.

Plan It Out

Man and woman smiling

Photo by Jennifer Johnson

Because you don’t want to be spending hours in the hot afternoon sun before you walk down the aisle, making a solid plan is so important. “Have a plan and be efficient,” says Samantha McFarlan of Samantha McFarlan Photography. “The less time you can be out in the hot sun on your wedding day, the better.”

Put Someone in Charge

Bride posing with bridesmaids

Photo by Erich McVey

Don’t even try to organize and wrangle everyone by yourself. Even if you don’t have a day-of coordinator, be sure to put a close friend in charge to keep photos moving along.

Prep Your Shot List

bride

Photo by Melissa Marshall

Make sure you have your shot list ready. Work with your photographer and be sure to have a complete list of photo combos you want. When it’s time for photos, be sure everyone you need is rounded up at the right place and the right time so portraits can move quickly and smoothly.

Take Short Breaks

Colorful cocktails

Photo by Erich McVey

You want to be efficient, but you’ll also need the chance to cool off as you go. “On really hot wedding days, we like to make sure our couple and their families have a chance to take little breaks to cool off between portrait sessions,” says Rebecca Fishman and Jen Lauren Grant of Birds of a Feather Photography. “Work with your coordinator to ensure an unhurried schedule that has some time built in to get out of the sun for five minutes and hydrate!”

Location, Location, Location

flower girl

Photo by Kate Drennan

Think about choosing a site for family photos with open shade. “Portraits and family photos usually take place around mid-day, so to avoid everyone getting heat stroke or the dreaded sun-in-your-eyes squint, it's always nice to have some open shade to shoot in,” explains Fishman and Grant.

In addition to group photos, be sure to consider your ceremony location, as well. Think about shade and where the sun hits during ceremony time. “So many people don't think about where the sun will be during the ceremony, which is often in the late afternoon when the sun creates very harsh directional light that is often beating down on guests,” says Fishman and Grant. Be sure to check with your venue to know where the sun is throughout the day and plan accordingly.

Capture the Light

newlyweds in Tuscany

Photo by Chris and Ruth Photography

One of the main reasons summer weddings are so magical is the summer light! Check in advance what time sunset will be on your wedding day and plan to go out the hour beforehand for photos. “Make the most of amazing summer golden hours! Whatever you need to do to fit it into your wedding timeline, plan to go out to get magical, dreamy photos in that beautiful warm light,” urges McFarlan. “Even if you can only escape your reception for 10 to 15 minutes, DO IT.”

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