3 Planning Tips For A Cinematic-Looking Wedding

  1. LIGHTING & Time of day

Lighting is the foundation for a great shot – both for photographers and videographers. You’ll want to have as much natural, diffused light sources as you can throughout your wedding day – from getting ready shots to the reception. If you’re having an indoor event without many windows of natural light, planning for lighting that’s closer to a natural white-balance (a true white like daylight) will offer the best lighting for turning your wedding film from just a documentary video into an artistic and attractive cinema-style experience. When you’re photo & video team have good lighting to start it allows them to position and direct you in a way that makes everyone look more flattering as well.

‘So what do I need to know about lighting while I’m planning my wedding’?’ you may ask. I’ll keep it as simple as possible and show you some examples:

  1. GETTING READY: Pick a getting ready space that has natural light



find the natural light source

When picking a location to get ready, choose a room that has at least 1 big window for natural light. This allows not only offers the best lighting for your makeup artist, but also cinematic contrast.

Have your makeup chair right there next to the largest window (if not, only window) in the room.
Along with this, turn off all the artificial light sources in the room as they can cast an orange glow.

You’ll achieve gorgeous contrast and shadowy composition in your film which is iconic to cinematic imagery.

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Even if some artificial lighting can’t be turned off (pictured behind Harrison), the window he stood in front of still offered enough natural light.


Being backlit with a large window also offers a soft, glowing look as well!

CEREMONY: lighting and time of day make all the difference

Even lighting is your best bet: If having an afternoon wedding, the lighting will be the strongest, so if doing an outdoor ceremony try to have some shade cover over you so that the light isn’t as harsh and ‘blown out’ (in photo/video terms). If having an indoor wedding, aim for a location that has some windows of natural light: churches with skylights, chapels with glasswork windows on the side, or even just on the beach with light everywhere.

Avoid sunset behind you: Unless you’re going for a dramatic silhouette look, try to avoid your ceremony from facing the strongest light source. Avoiding this is also nice so guests aren’t staring into the sun while watching your Ceremony (or sunglasses are always nice ).

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Backlit silhouettes can be just as beautiful

If you do want that dramatic look and lots of contrast, a location that has a window behind your altar can offer a more silhouette look from your guests’ view.

Just know the look you want and run with it. Moody, contrasted silhouettes or bright & airy even lighting that’s mid day and not in direct sunlight.


Golden hour is called golden for a reason: Planning your cocktail hour / portrait time during that 1hr before sunset will give your footage that muted, soft, warm & flattering imagery. Keep in mind, the sun moves fast during this time so plan for your photo op scenic locations being close to each other so we can get all those pretty shots within this small window of time.

Avoid turning your romantic reception space into what looks like a nightclub inside: Purple, Blue, Red, Green up lighting… the general opinion from videographers: try to avoid it. This has been a trend for a long time, so most videographers will bring some sort of light source to capture your toasts and shine onto the dance floor, any colored ambient lighting will cast that same shade onto your skin, decor, etc and not be true to tone (ex: green skin can make you look sick). If your venue is offering uplighting, ask for a soft white or go golden or warm vs using party colors. Most DJs have colored lighting effects and strobes but those actually do offer cool prism & lens flare effects to your film during the dancing (so no worries about that).

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we always light the dance floors to still capture expressions in the dark

Even with purple lighting in the back, people dancing in the white video light have even skin tones and stand out from the club color background.

WhIle noT iDeal for capturing expressions, this shot still offered a dark & intimate moment on thE dnace floor

WhIle noT iDeal for capturing expressions, this shot still offered a dark & intimate moment on thE dnace floor


Or at least encourage guests to avoid stepping out into the aisle from the moment the processional begins.

A lot of important moments happen during the ceremony that you wouldn’t want your photo or video team to miss capturing – and imagine they’re capturing a gorgeous slow-motion shot of you two exiting the alter and walking down the aisle cheering and laughing – but then suddenly, Uncle Bob stands in the aisle with his Max cell phone and that shot now becomes unusable for your film. Times like these break my heart because these one-time-only, golden nugget, 10-15 second moments of the day are full of so much joy, relief, excitement: emotion, and it’s these actionable emotions that videography is capturing.


Avoid ambient noise near your ceremony spot: While planning your ceremony, try to pick a location that won’t have ambient noise as it could affect the clarity of your audio during vows. Vow’s make up a large part of our wedding films – they serve as the narrative of your love story, so having clear audio makes for a better film. Aside from your processional and recessional music & cheering, try to avoid music, road noise, running water from a fountain, etc during the important audio-capturing moments of your ceremony such as when the Officiant is speaking and when you guys are saying your Vows.


Connect with your videographer: Right from the get go, let your videographer know the best way to communicate. While email seems professional, this is more of a friendship & relationship we wanna have with you – so communicating over Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger, or Text isn’t weird. Personally, I actually prefer Facebook Messenger All the ‘shoulds’ aside, its just all about connecting on whatever communication platform makes you feel comfy and best for you guys because come wedding day, we want you to feel comfortable with us because we’ll be with you all day. Comfortable with us, means comfortable on camera, means you’ll be more truthful and genuine throughout your wedding film.

Link up your vendors: Beyond the footage itself, your wedding videographer is teaming up and collaborating with your Planner, DJ and Photographer in the background while prepping for your wedding – so definitely provide them with that contact information prior to your big day. For us, we always reach out to the Planner & Photographer to introduce ourselves and get into a collaborative mindset before the wedding day. Wedding days are fast paced so having a fluid team-approach makes the day more efficient & just more fun! We also connect with the DJ before your wedding because audio plays a HUGE part in wedding videography. Beyond the camera gear, we try to be proactive by communicating with the DJ on types of audio connectivity to bring so that vows & speeches are recorded at the highest quality possible.

thanks for reading & hope this helped your wedding planning

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