Shadows in Wedding Photography

Shadows in Wedding Photography

Shadows in Wedding Photography

In the world of wedding photography, light is everything. It is used to draw your eye to the subject, shape the mood and evoke emotion. But while most photographers focus on capturing the brilliance of sunlight, the drama of the darkness or the soft glow of golden hour, there's another element often overlooked but equally powerful: shadows. Today we are proud to present our 20 Editor’s Picks of our favorite examples of shadows in wedding photography, all taken by our very talented members. Couples, take note of these artistic ideas as inspiration for your own wedding photographs!

Top photographers use shadows in wedding photography to add depth and dimension to wedding photographs, creating drama and intrigue where there might otherwise be none. They can enhance the composition, drawing the viewer's eye to specific elements or framing the one or both members of the couple in a unique way. 

Cinematic black and white of couple Amber Henry Photography
Photographed by Amber Henry Photography - Michigan wedding photographer
Bride portrait in striking shadows on wall Vinson Images
Photographed by Vinson Images - Arkansas wedding photographers
Bride in gown in shadowy architecture Paolo and Barbara Orsolini
Photographed by Paolo and Barbara Orsolini - Italy wedding photographers

One of the most effective techniques for using shadows in wedding photography is backlighting. By positioning the couple in front of a strong light source, such as the sun or a spotlight, the photographer can create striking silhouettes that outline their figures against the background. This technique is particularly effective during sunset or twilight, when the light is soft and warm, casting long, dramatic shadows across the scene.

Bride and dad in cathedral aisle Susan Stripling NYC
Photographed by Susan Stripling - New York, New York, wedding photographer
Couple late afternoon shadows Chrisman Studios
Photographed by Chrisman Studios - Charleston, South Carolina, wedding photographers
Couple leaving footprints in the sand M. Hart
Photographed by Marlies Hartmann - Los Angeles, California, wedding photographer
Fun silhouette couple holding hands Hellstrom Studio
Photographed by John Hellström - Sweden wedding photographer
Shadow of bride and groom kissing Manuel Aldana Fotografia Guatemala
Photographed by Manuel Aldana Fotografia - Guatemala wedding photographer

Another approach is to embrace the play of light and shadow in more subtle ways. By paying attention to the direction and intensity of light, photographers can create dynamic compositions that incorporate shadows. This might involve positioning the bride alone or the couple in a patch of dappled sunlight, where the interplay of light and shadow adds texture and interest to the scene. Or it could mean using architectural features, such as arches, columns and divided light windows, to cast intriguing shadows that frame people in unexpected ways.

Bride portrait against orange wall Dimi & Wallace Greece
Photographed by Dimi & Wallace - Greece wedding photographers
Profile bride with silhouette groom Edoardo Agresti Photographers
Photographed by Edoardo Agresti Photographer[s[ - Italy wedding photographers
Bride portrait in half shadow Raphaelle Granger
Photographed by Raphaelle Granger - Toronto, Canada, wedding photographer
Bride closeup in window light and shadow Bagrada Photos
Photographed by Bagrada Photos - France wedding photographers
Reclining bride encircled by her train Kesha Lambert Photography
Photographed by Kesha Lambert Photography - New York photographer

In addition to adding visual interest, shadows can also serve a practical purpose in wedding photography. They can help to conceal distractions or unflattering elements in the background, directing the viewer's attention away from cluttered or unsightly surroundings. And by hiding some elements, shadows can be used to call attention to people in dramatic ways. Sometimes even the shadows themselves become the subject.

Couple in European plaza with bird flying Poptelecan Ionut Photography
Photographed by Poptelecan Ionut Photography - Romania wedding photographer
Bride against red wall with unseen groom tossing hat Poptelecan Ionut Photography
Photographed by Poptelecan Ionut Photography - Romania wedding photographer
Couple profile pose with veil in breeze and shadows Matei Horvath Photography
Photographed by Matei Horvath Photography - Los Angeles, California, wedding photographer
Couple on up and down escalators Kesha Lambert Photography
Photographed by Kesha Lambert Photography - New York photographer
Couple exiting chapel into sunlight Camilla Andersen
Photographed by Camilla Andersen - Norway wedding photographer
Sneaking a kiss during preparations Chrisman Studios
Photographed by Chrisman Studios - Charleston, South Carolina, wedding photographers
Shadow photo of running couple Christoforos Korakianitis Imaging
Photographed by CK Imaging - Corfu, Greece, wedding photographers

Of course, like any photographic technique, using shadows in wedding photography requires skill and practice. Photographers must be able to anticipate how light will interact with their surroundings, and they must be prepared to adapt their approach on the fly as conditions change. But for those who are willing to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional wedding photography, shadows offer a powerful tool for creating images that are both visually stunning and emotionally resonant.

For more extraordinary examples of creative ideas in wedding photography, check out our Concepts Gallery with thousands of stunning photos that will inspire you. Then, check out our trusted recommendations of the world’s best wedding photographers to find the artist that fits your style.