Outdoor wedding photos: 5 tips on making the most of them

Outdoor wedding photos, they may or may not be a mystery to you. As wedding photographers for spontaneous and adventurous couples, Jelger and I photograph a lot in the rugged nature of British Columbia (or wherever the weddings take place). A lot of our clients choose the outdoors for their wedding ceremony as well as their wedding portraits! In this blog post I’ll share some of our inside secrets on how you can make the most out of your wedding experience and photos.

Some of the tips may seem obvious but often the most evident things get lost in the hustle of wedding planning!

Secret tip 1: bring comfy shoes for your portrait time

Planning on having your photos taken in a lush forest, on a sandy beach, a rugged rock or in the snow? Well, then kick of your fancy heels before getting out there! Save yourself having the cleanup of mud or a sprained ankle while trying to get to the best locations! I’ve experienced several brides opting to wear their evening shoes in the outdoors, only ending up cursing themselves for not bringing adapted footwear (but they still made it through the shoot, hehe, troopers).

That said, if you’d love to show off your new pumps against a nature-filled background, you can bring them and put them on once you’re in the right spot for the photo! 😉 Or you can just rock some cute hiking shoes or cowboy boots!

Secret tip 2: your dress will get dirty, and that’s absolutely ok

When you’re outside, you will most certainly get some sand or dirt on your dress. There’s simply no way of avoiding it when you’re moving across sand or grass. The trick is to make sure it’s only the bottom of the dress. So when you have a train, have one your bridesmaids (or your photographer, hehe) make sure the top and bottom of the train don’t twist while walking. 😉 Also, do keep in mind that trains and forests don’t mix well. Although it’s not a huge problem branches and shrubs are prone to getting caught in the fabric of your wedding dress! So take your time to glide and have your photographer scout out a safe path.

Secret tip 3: think about the weather for any outdoor wedding

First of all: rain. Let’s be honest: it can rain, even on your wedding day. Especially in Vancouver. But don’t let it be a reason for panic. Instead, prepare for it and make sure there are lots of umbrellas available. Whenever we’re photographing we bring a few clear umbrellas, but if you’re planning on having a big bridal party your best bet is to bring plenty! We recommend clear (transparent) ones or white ones, because it looks amazing in your photos. Of course black or grey are an option too if it fits your wedding theme. Lastly, steer clear from coloured umbrellas. Cute as they are, they do cast a wash of colour on your face for photos (green umbrella makes for a green face, haha).

The second circumstance is less evident: sun. Summer weddings are fantastic. The days are longer and often end with a beautiful sunset. But when you’re having an outdoor wedding ceremony (and portraits), the sun can be surprisingly hot after a while (or worse: burning)! So take your precautions. Ask your makeup artist to apply a foundation with sun protection factor (SPF). Next, the other uncovered skin: last thing you’d is to wake up the day after your wedding with a terrible sun burn. So ask your bridesmaids to rub some sunscreen on your uncovered skin areas (shoulders, arms, neck, back). Bonus tip: give your photographer a heads-up and get some great candid shots of the whole thing!

Secret tip 4: bring bug spray

You know what’s about to happen when you hear that dreaded “bzzzz” out in the open. Darn mosquitos. They’re everywhere and they’re inevitable. Especially if you’re getting married in Summer next to a lake or water area. Enter: bug spray. So simple, yet so easily forgotten (even the two of us have cursed more than once about leaving it in the car)! Don’t let the little buggers ruin the fun: a little spray keeps them all away (pun intended :)).

Secret tip 5: go with the flow and have fun

When you’re outdoors there is and will always be something that can go “wrong”. An outdoor wedding doesn’t take place in a perfectly monitored, climate controlled, sterile environment. 😉 And to be honest that’s part of what makes it so appealing! So here’s my word of advice: if the unforeseeable happens, don’t stress! Your only jobs are to be the bride or groom, and to have fun. You’ll have plenty of people of around you that can and will help, whatever the situation may be. And keep in mind: often the most unexpected and crazy situations turn out to be become part of your unique story. <3