Night Wedding Photography – Wedding Planning Series

Part 3 – Night Wedding Photography
Abby Anderson Wedding Planning Series
for Fargo-Moorhead Brides


At a wedding I recently photographed, I had the opportunity to take the bride and groom outside for some night photography. A guest overheard what we were about to do and said to the person sitting next to her, “What are night photos?!” They were probably wondering why in the world we would be going outside for more pictures after dark, and wondering why that bride and groom hired such a crazy photographers!

But night photography on your wedding is anything but crazy! It’s the perfect way to conclude your wedding image collection, telling the story of your wedding day from sun up to sun down. It also gives us a chance to be creative and showcase your wedding environment in a totally different way. Whether you’re getting married in downtown Fargo or out in the country, night portraits are a wonderful choice!

When possible, I try to fit night portraits into a bride and groom’s wedding day timeline. We try to make this session as least distracting to your evening events as possible. Usually we schedule 15 minutes of night portraits for a time when your guests are busy doing other things, like finishing eating dinner or after the dance has kicked off. Nobody will miss you for such a short amount of time, and it’s actually nice to get outside and take a breath in the quiet, cooler air! night-wedding-photography-abby-anderson-4night-wedding-photography-abby-anderson-3
I also like to do night photography at engagement sessions. It’s almost impossible to do this during early summer engagement sessions, since it’s often light until 10 p.m. or later. But in the winter, early spring or fall it gets dark a lot quicker and we can snap away with the stars or city lights!
View More: More: portraits near water are some of my favorites. Even if it’s not raining, there will often be drops of mist coming up off the water that we are able to capture in an image. So romantic! The image below was taken on the edge of a pond at Oxbow Country Club,

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Brides often request sparkler photos. With sparklers we can do spins, twirls, or write letters. It’s not as easy as it looks! It takes the right environment and a steady hand to get a good sparkler photo. One thing you might not know about these images is that I am the one writing the words! In the image below, I had my camera on a tripod for a 20-30 second exposure. After hitting the shutter button, I ran through the frame, writing the mirrored version of “love” so that it would appear correct n camera.

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So cute to be able to capture Christmas lights and the cold air!

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Downtown city streets always come alive at night. Especially when it has just rained and the streets are wet!

This photo was on the bridge at Bluestem Trollwood. You can just the tip of the amphitheater peeking up behind the couple!

A couple years ago I took this duo to the Red River Valley Fair and we captured images on the rides at night. It had rained like crazy right before we started our session, but then the sky turned the most glorious shade of pink and it was all worth it!

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This is one of my most popular photos, and brides always comment on it.  Our original plan for this image was to have the candles all over the back of the truck, but it was so windy, the candles kept blowing out! To protect them from the wind, we had to cluster the candles in the corner of the truck bed and pose the couple so their faces were illuminated by the flames.

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At this wedding, the bride had  sewn lights in the skirt of her dress. It was such a unique feature of her wedding and I definitely wanted to showcase it. This was a November wedding and the staff at Rustic Oaks had just put up the Christmas lights. I used some lighting tools to pop just a touch of light on their faces, allowing the rest of the lights in the image to glow naturally.

Patience is necessary when it comes to night portraits. We shoot slower and more carefully, especially with sparkler photos. Did you know it must be pitch black dark to create sparkler photos? We have to be in a location at a time of day where there is NO light on the bride and groom’s face!

Many brides ask me, “Do you come up with all the ideas?” and the answer is no! It’s a collaborative process.  Sometimes I have an idea I want to try out, other times my brides have a vision for something. For instance, in the photo below, the bride had mentioned to me a few days before her shoot that she had bought a lot of candles and mason jars for her wedding and could bring them to her session. This sparked ideas in my mind….one thing led to another, and we ended up with this!

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Scheduling some time in your wedding day for night photography is a great idea! Check out sunset times online to find out what time of day the sun will go down on your wedding day. Anytime after the sun has disappeared below the horizon is a perfect time to capture night portraits! If you want sparkler photos, you’ll want to wait until it gets completely dark.


Visit the other posts in the Wedding Planning Series here:
Five Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress
Tips for Your Engagement Session
Creating Timelines

Abby Anderson is a wedding and portrait photographer in Fargo, ND + Moorhead, MN
Visit our website here:


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