Sunset photography and your wedding schedule

Planning your awesome sunset wedding photos.

I’ve written in the past about my experience of shooting in bad weather and the importance of planning. In that post I recommended that you prepare for bad weather and also have some fall back options should things get so extreme that an outdoor shoot becomes completely impossible.

In this post I would like to share some of my thoughts on another related factor; time of day and the date.

Most people will have heard about the “Magic hour” or “Golden hour” in relation to photography and while there isn’t strictly an hour of magic it is a useful concept to understand when the light from the sun is going to be best.

The perfect magic hour shots happen around sunset and in northern Europe that means that the seasons are an important consideration. To get this magic shot in the height of summer means venturing out at 10 in the evening but in the depths of winter anything outdoors after the wedding ceremony will have good quality light that is low in the sky. Of course this relies on there being some gaps in the clouds for the sun to poke through. A rainy day shoot is another topic altogether.

So, how do you go about making your plan?

In my experience of a wedding day there will be certain things set in stone. The ceremony, the meal time and speeches are usually scheduled but it is up to you to set this schedule. You should try to work everything around the sunset time which varies depending on the location. This chart illustrates the sunset times throughout the year for British Isles but there will be an equivalent chart for anywhere in the world.


From this chart you can deduce that the best months for sunset shots are between May and August (plan to head out after dinner and speeches) or in winter November to January (before dinner).

Personally, I like to shoot outdoor environmental portraits after dark as well so aiming for sunset shots with a plan to stay a bit after sunset (sometimes known as the “Blue hour”).


June sunset at the Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland


View through a hedgerow in September


Buncrana intimate moments ireland documentary authentic wedding photography by chris huston, Belfast

Golden sun in Buncrana, Donegal

Northern Ireland wedding photography, Giants Causeway, Antrim, Engagement shoot, dusk, sunset

Giants Causeway with the setting sun.

Ballyliffin blue hour wedding

Ballyliffin at 10pm in mid August after the sun has gone down.


Orlock, County Down sunset

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Wedding Photography Belfast Northern Ireland – Chris Huston

Chris Huston is a professional wedding photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

He primarlily shoots documentary / reportage style photos as well as creative location portraits and night time portraits. He regularly shoots weddings in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Derry, Ballycastle, Portrush, Causeway Coast, Co. Down, Newry, Ballymena, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Bangor and throughout Northern Ireland. He also travels to the Republic of Ireland; Meath, Louth, Dundalk, Monaghan, Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Carlow & Dublin.

Recent locations include the Causeway Hotel, Galgorm resort & spa, Ballyduggan mill, Breckenhill, The Rock Farm Slane, Borris House Carlow, Trim Castle Hotel, Belfast Castle, Marine Hotel Ballycastle, Slieve Donnard resort & spa, Lough Shore carrickfergus, Jacksons Hotel, Villa Rose Ballybofey, Beach House Buncrana, The Red Door Fahan, The Redcastle Hotel, Ballyliffin Lodge, Ballyliffin Hotel, The Strand Hotel Ballyliffin, Lough Eske Castle. The White Horse Derry.

There are a range of wedding photography collections to starting from £999 for 2016 weddings.