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Don't Get Married on a Mountain at 2 p.m.

As photographers we are obsessed with light. As Western photographers (Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico) our light can be a challenge if you aren’t prepared for it. You may not be aware how vastly different our light can be in contrast to the hazy, overcast light in cities or coastal regions where you can shoot at noon. Couples come out West to get married because it offers wide open spaces with gorgeous vistas and unique landscapes. So how do you take advantage of this for your ceremony AND your portraits? In this guide, we’ll give you a few tips on planning your wedding to capitalize on the photo opps.

First consider the factors you cannot control: mother nature. Be sure to check sunset times on your wedding date and normal weather patterns. The best light happens during that last hour before sunset and that is when, in an ideal timeline, we would shoot the portraits; however, this clearly means you’ve chosen to favor your portrait light over your ceremony. In a world where guest experience is paramount, we like to split the difference. Best case scenario, we shoot some of the portraits ahead of the ceremony and some after. This way there are candid moments mixed into the day. We feel strongly that a wedding is a sacred day to enjoy your family and friends not a magazine photo shoot. We want you to feel like you can attend your party but we also need to deliver beautiful portrait choices. How do we do it all?

Planning is the answer. We like a rough outline of what should happen on the wedding day and with some room for spontaneous adjustments. In the Southwest three hours before sunset, it’s brighter, hotter and harsher for guests to be outdoors. Just to add another wrench into the plan, every location is different in every month of the year where the sun exposes certain spots and where the mountains, red rocks, valleys, or canyons obscure the sun. If it sounds confusing, it is. This is why working with a CK preferred planner is a must. One of our favorites in Colorado is Calluna Events. Heather, lead planner and owner said, “Outdoor portraits and sunset affect the entire timing of your day and as a planner it’s our job, and our purpose, to work with the couple and their photographer to figure out the best time of day to set the ceremony start time based on your top priorities.” Dwight also noted that couples should consider “the number of hours they've booked with their venue or ceremony site (if it differs from your reception venue) and the end time at either could make pushing a later start time impossible.”

If you are hosting a destination wedding, we emplore you to hire a preferred planner. More on the importance of planners and how to find one in a coming Newsletter guide. 


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