a collage of two sunset wedding photos
The golden hour is a wedding photographer’s happy hour! We don’t know who said this, but most of the time, this statement seems to stand true. Sunset wedding photography, when the weather permits, is on many photographers’ shot list. The sky is on fire (not literally), the view (if you are at a stunning sunset wedding venue) is breathtaking, and the lighting is simply too good to not take advantage of – there are a lot of reasons why sunset wedding photos are on a wedding photographer and couple’s must-have list. So whether it’s already a part of your shot list and you are looking for some sunset photography tips/inspiration or just need that little push to show you why all that planning and prep is worth it, this blog will help you with both.

Sunset Wedding Photography Tips

a couple kissing on the beach during sunset with the bride's veil floating in the wind
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @sarafrance

1. Prep + Plan

Yes, you can never really be prepared if the rain decides to show up after the ceremony, but if you do have sunset wedding photography portraits in the plan for your couple, then you might as well be fully prepared for it and ensure that if mother nature does decide to bless you with the most scenic sunset ever, you are ready and reach the location on time – preferably a little early. If your couple has decided to have a sunset wedding ceremony, then make sure you know all the spots that you could use for photographing the ceremony from all angles

Pack all the cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment you will need. A tripod, extra batteries, and reflector might come in handy too. On the day of the wedding, you can use the National Weather Service or a mobile weather app to make sure you check what time the sun is actually going to set so you get to the spot on time if there is travel involved. And lastly, try to ensure that your couple is on the same page as you. They might get busy attending to their guests, but it’s your job to remind them about the sunset wedding pictures you guys had discussed.

2. Posing

a couple standing on the deck of a boat during sunset with the city skyline behind them
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @infiniteloopphoto

Think about all your go-to romantic poses for couples and try to recreate them as golden hour wedding photos. With the colors sunsets bring with them, these poses are only bound to get even more dreamy. Also, even though there is a strict timeline involved, try to make sunset wedding photography fun for your couples. Instead of simply moving them into one stiff pose after another, let them have some fun with it. Perhaps you could take photos of them as they look at the sunset together or break out into an impromptu dance or just gaze into each other’s eye while soaking it all up – think about ways to photograph them in their true element.

Related Read: Posing Your Couples: A Guide For Wedding Photographers

3. Experiment With Style, Angles + Perspective

a couple posing on a small pier by a lake while the sun sets behind a forest bordering the lake
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @photography_by_orlando

Light and airy, dark and moody, silhouettes, wide-angle shots – there’s a lot you can try out during the golden hour. We know it sounds like a lot to do in a comparatively small time frame, but this is all the more reason to follow that strict timeline we mentioned earlier and make sure you make the most of the time that you actually get with the sunset. We’d suggest that you start with what you know, take all the classic shots, all the classic couples portraits, and then switch to your experiment mode for more sunset wedding photos. Consider moving around the place you are in to get different perspectives. If you don’t want to waste too much time on the wedding day, we’d recommend location scouting in advance to get a better idea of what you’d be working with. 

Related Read: Photography Angles & Techniques: Understanding POV, Framing, & Composition

4. Location

a couple embracing each other standing on the edge of a cliff during sunset
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

While you don’t have much say in the wedding venue selection, as the wedding photographer, it’s your job to know the spots that would be perfect for sunset wedding photography. This is where location scouting in advance could really help you save time and also learn about all the perfect spots (yes, even if it’s a beach sunset wedding). If the ideal sunset point is a little far away from the venue and there’s travel involved, then try to make sure that everything runs according to schedule by keeping everything ready and knowing exactly where you want to take those photos. When it comes to sunset photography, timing is crucial, so we’d highly recommend that you get an idea about the venue and its surroundings if you’ve never shot there before.

5. Refine In Post-Production

a double exposure photo of a silhouette of a couple and a sunset over open waters
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jperrymanphotography

Yes, the sunset colors are breathtaking. Yes, it would be ideal to get them exactly as they are in camera. So familiarize yourself with the right camera settings sunset photography, but try not to spend too much time perfecting each shot in camera. This is where post-production editing can help you achieve your desired end result. Like we said – when it comes to sunset wedding photography, timing is extremely important. One minute you might see all the gorgeous colors on the horizon and a minute later, they could disappear. You can’t control nature, but you can control your process. 

We’d suggest that you start with your go-to poses; get all the classic couples portraits and if you still have time after, play around with poses, angles, or even switch spots. Once you have everything you need, you can use a photo editing software or photo editing experts like us to get the colors to look as vibrant as they do in real life. 

Stick To The Timeline

a silhouette of a couple holding each other during sunset with ranges of hills behind them
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @breonnawellsphotography

Sunset wedding photography can be a beautiful (and incredibly romantic) addition to your couple’s wedding day. While nature could change plans and simply decide to not have a picture-perfect sunset on the wedding day, you need to be prepared for one anyway – especially if it was finalized with your couple. Discuss the wedding timeline with your couple and make sure you know what time the sun will set on the wedding day. Timing is everything, so keep your eyes on your watch and try to make sure you and your couple get to the designated spot on time. Have a clear idea about how you want to set things up, including any extra lighting. 

Even if you want to capture your couple in their natural element, a shot list would surely help to speed things up at the beginning. Lastly, don’t get caught up in getting the perfect sunset colors in camera. Editing can take care of that. Just remember to allow your couples to admire the sunset and really soak in the feeling of being husband and wife – that’s when you will be able to capture those unanticipated, candid moments that enable you to go beyond the shot list. 

Further Read: Wedding Photo Ideas: Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

At ShootDotEdit, we strive to help you level up your wedding photography business. We realize how important time is for wedding photographers; therefore, we help you get more of it by lessening your post-production workload. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

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