sunset

Photography Workshop at Sunset with Jessica Weinstock

I don't photograph many families anymore (I reserve a few open dates in the fall for minis or returning clients), but I never turn away the chance to learn from a great photographer and teacher!  For our summer Central Illinois Professional Photographers' group meeting, we wanted to host a hands-on workshop for our members and guests that would get everyone excited for the upcoming busy fall season.  Jessica Weinstock is a family & newborn photographer from the north suburbs of Chicago and she brought a TON of great tips and inspiration for us all.  I am excited to use some of my tricks and tactics at sessions this fall!

HUGE THANKS to my co-leaders Kristin Darling & Emily Donohoe for helping me plan this great meeting and workshop.

Speaking of... my fall mini sessions will be announced soon, once I decide which weekend works best for the bulk of them.  I'm currently taking names and email addresses for those who want to be in the first to know and have first crack at booking when I announce. Fill out my contact form on my site here if interested, or email me and I'll get you on the list!

The Photography "Golden Hour"

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gorgeous red orange sunset wedding photos

gorgeous red orange sunset wedding photos

What’s “golden hour” you ask? It’s the hour just before the sun sets under the horizon, also known as a photographer’s favorite time of day & type of light. I usually will look up the exact sunset time before any session or wedding so I can plan the start time and know how much light I will have to work with as we near the end of the session. When I meet with my wedding clients, I provide them with two versions of a sample timeline — both with and without a First Look or Reveal. (Watch for another blog post coming soon about wedding day timelines!) With input from the reception venue and DJ, I will often help the couple finalize their timeline leading up to the wedding day. I also send out a questionnaire to my couples about 1-2 weeks before the wedding, and one of the questions on it is “What time is sunset?”

sunset wedding day at Pear Tree Estate

sunset wedding day at Pear Tree Estate

sunset by the lake

sunset by the lake

wedding day sunset at Urbana Country Club

wedding day sunset at Urbana Country Club

One of my favorite things on a wedding day is to sneak the couple outside for 5-10 minutes just *after* sunset to maximize the color of the sky and get some gorgeous sunset photos, both with off-camera flash (also another blog post!) and as silhouettes. These techniques work best if there is a good view of the horizon, or access to a rooftop or parking garage. If you are a fan of my sunset photos though, and this is something you *know* you want on your wedding day, you’ll definitely want to take location, sunset time, and reception timeline into consideration as you plan.

classic winter sunset at iHotel wedding

classic winter sunset at iHotel wedding

deep sky sunset at Memorial Stadium Colonnades

deep sky sunset at Memorial Stadium Colonnades

Golden hour beautiful light at Pear Tree Estate

Golden hour beautiful light at Pear Tree Estate

You can use this link to calculate sunset (or sunrise!) times for any date in the future for any zip code. This can be useful for other events too! I find a lot of times that my fall/winter clients don’t always take the sunset time into account when they decide on the ceremony start time and whether or not to do a First Look. It’s easy to forget that it gets dark so early from November through March. For my December weddings, I usually just count on it getting dark at 4:30 to be safe. On the flip side, for my late June/early July weddings, I typically plan for it to be light out until almost 9pm!

Deep blue sunset skies at Orpheum Children's Museum

Deep blue sunset skies at Orpheum Children's Museum

storm clouds rolling in at sunset at Erin's Pavilion in Springfield

storm clouds rolling in at sunset at Erin's Pavilion in Springfield

To wrap things up, my advice to wedding couples is to set your date, book your venue, email Holly about your photography (!), and then check the sunset time for your date. :D Priorities!! Happy wedding planning!!

Corisa + Jeremiah | Rural Monticello engagement session

Corisa + Jeremiah | Rural Monticello engagement session

I loved spending the evening with Corisa + Jeremiah on Monday evening! We met on Jeremiah's dad's farm where they have a horse pasture with cute red barns and crisp white fences -- be still my heart! We had near perfect flashlight and weather (except for those itty bitty annoying, biting bugs