dc wedding photography images

Why I Hate You And Your 1 PM Wedding Time


That was harsh. I don’t really hate you, but listen up… You spend so much time and money preparing yourself for your wedding day. Hair, spa, nail, and maybe even dermatologist appointments fill your schedule so that you look your best on your big day. You pour over every tiny detail making sure the day is perfect, making sure that it will go smoothly.

BUT, you’re missing THE BIGGEST THING: the time of your wedding ceremony.

Some brides plan their ceremony around meal times. What you should be paying attention to is that giant burning ball in the sky… THE SUN. The natural light on your wedding day plays a huge role in not only how you look on that day, but also how you look in your wedding photographs. At most every wedding I attend, I see guests struggling with their iPhone cameras because your 1 PM wedding is occurring in the harshest light of the day.

My equipment is better than an iPhone and I’m more experienced than your friends, but picture this: At 1 PM, the sun casts shadows down your face, creating black holes for eyes and giant, shining foreheads. It also completely washes out any detail in your dress, and if this is a summer gig, grandma is sweltering in the sun. Nobody wants a melted grandma (or cake).

This is my brother, so I can post his photo and he knows I don’t actually hate him. His wedding wasn’t even at 1 PM but because of the time and direction of the sun on the ceremony, he gets sun shot right in his face. The groomsmen are dark, but his face is super bright and spotty. HELLO, HIGH SUN! (Sorry, kids. You didn’t want to see anything, did you?) Elisha is absolutely stunning so I didn’t want the sun to outshine her.

P.S. These are not their final photos! Always hire a professional. They know how to work it. (See Josh and Elisha’s beautiful backyard wedding!)

harsh light at wedding on grooms face

When I’m asked to photograph any other type of session, I choose the time of day because lighting is the most important element in photography. I always choose times when the sun is at its lowest in the sky – the hour in which the sun rises and the hour just before the sunset are the two times I choose to photograph my clients. Better light will help me produce amazing images!

Hi, beauty! That sun is amazing too! See what the right light can do to your images?

baltimore wedding photography with couple under tree

So when should you get married? An ideal wedding timeline would go something like this:

3 hours before sunset – First Look
2-2.5 hours before sunset – Bridal Party Photos and Family
1-1.5 hours before sunset – Ceremony
sunset – bride and groom portraits
Party on. Let’s eat. Gimme the cake.

Since we’re talking about light, let’s talk about your “getting ready” location. Overhead lights are baddddddd, especially those recessed lights or obnoxious fluorescent bulbs. (PLEASE do not get ready in the basement of a church. I only speak from experience. And struggle.) We – your hairdresser and make up person – need big windows so we can do our magic. Getting ready at your own home, your parents’ home or a friend’s house are great options if they have lots of windows and neutral decor. Some hotels work well too. I say some because there are some severely dated, not so pretty hotel rooms. I’ve stayed in them. Or, you can get creative and check out AirBnB for a local, cool place to stay and get ready.

I say this because I care. I care what your photos look like. I care about the love story I am creating for you. I want your story to reflect you and your love – simple. Perfect. Let’s do this. Email me to talk about your wedding day photography!


Jacqie Q is a DC wedding photographer serving the Baltimore/DC Metro area. She captures authentic emotions and connections and is teller of love stories.