In my 20 years of Colorado weddings, one of the things I’ve noticed is the importance of having a good photographer at the reception. More importantly, having a photographer that knows about lighting, whether it be natural or man made, is paramount. Some of the most dramatic wedding photos that I’ve seen have been taken around sunset. That magical 15 to 30 minutes around the time the sun sets can yield some of the best photos. This amazing shot above by Cody Van Pelt was taken in the foothills of Jefferson County.
This month, I’ve asked a few of Colorado’s top wedding photographers to share their favorite sunset photos as well as suggestions they give their clients to get that once-in-a-lifetime image. Sarah Welch shared this great photo from Ellis Ranch and commented, “I encourage my clients to steal away for a few moments during the reception so we can get a few more amazing shots as well as give them a breather of time to themselves.”
Shannon Scholtes with Adore Photography noted, “It is important to plan ahead. Since the beautiful colors fade very quickly you want to make sure that time for the sunset photos has been scheduled so you are not in the middle of reception events at the perfect sunset time.” She took this dramatic photo at Mary’s Lake Lodge in Estes Park.
Craig Vollmer shared this photo from one of my personal favorite Fort Collins Country Club weddings from 2012 and suggested this DIY tip, “If you want to create your own sunset image with the sun shining through, take a light reading of the sky from around the edge of the sun and put your camera on manual. Close down your f-stop one or two stops. This gives your sky an even more dramatic look. Make sure your flash or off camera strobe is synced so you are lit correctly…or just hire me and I will make it all happen for you.” Craig’s second option certainly seems like you’d have a much higher success rate, especially if you are like me and don’t know the difference between an f-stop and a flash.
Finally, Denver’s own Nicole Nicols added, “For me, it’s not so much about capturing the colors of the sunset, but the amazing light it can create. One of the first things you learn in Photography 101 is to have the sun at your back and avoid shooting into the light. I’ve always liked to break the rules a bit. The bright white setting sun and it’s rainbow glare (seen in the bottom right of her image) breaks the traditional rules of photography but the dramatic mystical landscape looks amazing for the artistic wedding photographs I like to create.”
Just to prove that you don’t have to have the classic outdoor nature setting to get an awesome sunset photo, check out this image from Ken Sandberg taken at the Westin in downtown Denver. Thanks again to these amazing visual artists for sharing a bit of their knowledge on my blog. It’s always a pleasure to work with you all. As an added bonus, I’ve included a timetable of sunset times for Northern Colorado below to help you plan the perfect sunset time. You can also customize your own timetable for any date or location from the link on my website’s “Resources” page. Finally, always let your DJ know if you are planning a sunset shot so they can plan the reception’s activities accordingly.
January 10th (4:51)…20th (5:02)…31st (5:17)
February 10th (5:29)…20th (5:41)…28th (5:51)
March 10th (6:00)…20th (7:12 MDT)…31st (7:24)
April 10th (7:34)…20th (7:44)…30th (7:55)
May 10th (8:05)…20th (8:15)…31st (8:24)
June 10th (8:30)…20th (8:34)…30th (8:35)
July 10th (8:32)…20th (8:27)…31st (8:18)
August 10th (8:05)…20th (7:51)…31st (7:34)
September 10th (7:18)…20th (7:01)…30th (6:45)
October 10th (6:29)…20th (6:13)…31st (5:58)
November 10th (4:46 MST)…20th (4:39)…30th (4:34)
December 10th (4:33)…20th (4:36)…31st (4:34)