Photographing Couples in Sunset vs mid-day light

The difference between Sunset photos and Mid-day photos for wedding and elopement adventure couples.
Yosemite National Park Wedding & Engagement Photography

epic Yosemite wedding photos taken by adventure wedding photographer Charleton Churchill at glacier point road


I just photographed a couple in Yosemite National Park yesterday. No this was not the proposal photo of the engaged couple that was in the news this week. I was here at sunset the whole time and didn’t see any proposal at that rock.  I was their photographer and this was their engagement session and they upgraded to the Adventure Engagement Session Package, which many of my adventure wedding couples purchase. They are getting married next year at Majestic Lodge in the Yosemite Valley, so congratulations to them.

When I photograph couples, the ideal time for me is near sunset. That’s my goal and intention for every couple. Not all couples during their wedding day or adventure sessions understand the importance of the quality of light during sunset, so I have to explain to them. Also, for many weddings, sometimes the schedule gets bumped or couples don’t have the time. Yes, we can photograph in any light, but in the mountains like in Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, or anywhere up at high altitude, you are going to get even stronger highlights on rocks and trees, white lighting, harsh shadows, etc. So I use all kinds of tricks and tactics to get better photos during the day.

However, if you are patient and wait until sunset, then you get all kinds of beautiful rays, warmth, color, and not to mention, softer light. The images look moody. It’s eye candy; makes you want to stare for a while.


Mid-Day vs Sunset Lighting

sunset photos for wedding and elopement couples photography


Okay, so it’s not necessarily mid-day, but it’s not sunset yet. Here above is an example of two images, one hour 12 minutes apart from each other. Both images were with the same couple, same outfit, same location, same day, same Nikon camera and lens, just about an hour apart. The sunset that day was 6:18p.m. I photographed the afternoon image on the left at 4:56p.m. The light was behind them. That image works. Most couples love these types of images as I see them on Instagram all the time. However, when you wait until 6:08p.m., just 7 minutes before the sunset, then you get this warm moody tone image where the sun warmth is memorizing. A major difference in color and light is just within one hour.

Sunrise has the same effect and I also photograph elopements and weddings during the early mornings, like in Yosemite or Lake Tahoe. You just have to choose the right locations where the sun will rise with the right photographer who can capture it properly and direct you to get that natural look, as well as process your image for maximum effect. Below is an image at sunset


yosemite epic adventure wedding photos at sunset at taft point engaged couple

If you’re interested in getting couples sunset photos, or want to book an adventure wedding or elopement package, please contact me above at my contact link. I’d love to hear from you.

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Yosemite Elopement Photographer at Glacier Point | Yosemite Wedding Photography

Yosemite Elopement Photography at Glacier Point, Ca.

Adventure Elopement Photographer Charleton Churchill
with wedding couple Nick and Ali for a sunrise Yosemite with close family.

landscape photo of half-dome from glacier point by charleton churchill photographyYosemite wedding at glacier point with sun rays


Nick and Ali married in Yosemite National Park at Glacier Point.  We met and arrived at 6a.m. for an intimate wedding with both parents, the makeup artist, the officiant, and myself. Nick was a little nervous, but was expectantly excited for his bride Ali to arrive. Her father escorted her along the 7,200 feet in elevation trail, over-looking the Yosemite valley, Half-dome, and bridal Veil falls. While hikers and tourists gathered to enjoy the epic views Yosemite provided, they were also entertained by the wedding ceremony taking place.  It’s my passion to photographing these types of adventure weddings.

The road to Glacier Point was closed due to the Yosemite fire for the past weeks. Consequently, we were a little worried about the wedding plans. However, a day before their wedding, the road opened back up just in time.  Later we left Glacier Point road and traveled through the fiery smoke that was lingering on our drive down. At one point, we jumped out of our vehicles for a few photos in it. Then later, after smelling like smoke thought it was a bad idea.

To conclude our adventure, we ended up hiking to Vernal falls Mist trail. They wanted some waterfall images and some hiking photos. Nick and Ali both hiked in their wedding attire up the rocky mist trail, and they did it with a smile. Congratulations and blessings to both of them and their adventurous future.


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