Pre-wedding preparation

Like any other shoot, one of the most important tasks (other than getting great shots) is preparation. Visit the venue if you’re not familiar with the location, make up a shot list and, basically, gather and organize all the information you’ll need. Unfortunately the app we originally posted for organization is no longer available, but we can still help set you up for weather planning.

Sun Surveyor/Sun Surveyor Lite

You can’t control the weather, but if you’re shooting outdoors before or during the wedding — and the sun is out — you can easily plan when and where to photograph your subjects. At their core, sun tracking apps, for lack of a better term, show sunrise and sunset times for specific dates and locations. More sophisticated apps, like Sun Surveyor and Sun Surveyor Lite, deliver highly detailed information to help photograph your subjects in the best light possible. 

Sun Surveyor and Sun Surveyor Lite are available in paid and free versions and are compatible with both iOS and Android. The full version of Sun Surveyor offers an extraordinary amount of data and features above and beyond predicting the golden hour, the blue hour, sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset. You can find out the angle and bearing of the sun (and moon), the altitude, shadow ratio and much more.

An augmented reality feature allows you to view the projected position of the sun while viewing the scene through the camera. And, new to the iOS version is Street View Panoramas, which allow you to see via Map View (for certain locations) a 360-degree panoramic visual, with a slider to see where the light will be throughout the day for a specific location. Be prepared for a slight learning curve to explore the app's many possibilities. The full version of the app is priced at $6.99 for the iOS version or $6.49 for Android.

Like its full-featured sibling, the free, “Lite” version also has a 3D Compass and a time Machine Slider to visualize the sun’s path over the course of a day for a single location and time. It’s missing a lot of the bells and whistles such as the augmented reality and Street View Panoramas, among other features, but, hey, it’s free and provides a good amount of information for your chosen date, time and location.  

A slight learning curve accompanies the full version of Sun Surveyor but once you master the app, you'll discover an incredible amount of information above and beyond sunset and sunrise time to best plan your shoot.

Also check out: 

Sunrise$0.99 for Windows Phone 7.5, 8

The Photographer’s Ephemeris$8.99 for iOS or $4.99 for Android