Getting the photos just right for your wedding is about a lot more than the loving look you’ll undoubtedly be giving your spouse (although, admittedly, that’s a pretty crucial part, too). One of the most important factors for getting the wedding pictures to look and feel the way you’ve always dreamed of is location. It’s a little bit like real estate that way. When it comes to beautiful pictures, location is a premium you can’t skip.
As a photographer, I am able to help choose the right locations within your venue and the surrounding areas to ensure you get the best angles, moments and memories, but if you’re curious about what all goes into scouting those picture-perfect spots, here are a few things you really want to consider.
Golden hour, bright afternoon sun, cloud coverage, shady spots beneath trees, sunlight filtering through a canopy of greenery. There are a million different ways light can come into play in your photos, and every single one of those ways is important. Lighting is the key to great photography. If your photographer can’t work with the light they have available to them, chances are you didn’t hire the right photographer for the job.
Knowing what you’re looking for will help – if you want those glowy photos of you and your new spouse, where everything just seems to radiate pure romance, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve planned some time in your schedule right before sunset to capture the golden hour. It’s important to talk to your photographer about the timeline for your wedding day and the optimal timing for any portraits (engagement, bridals, etc.) to ensure that you are also on the same page. If you expect glowy, golden hour photos but can only squeeze in something at 1 p.m., you will be disappointed.
A professional photographer can make a not-so-great lighting situation work, but if there are a few different locations where the lighting offers different advantages and disadvantages, don’t be surprised if they want to take advantage of the versatility the space is offering.
This goes hand in hand with lighting but atmosphere plays a huge role in how your photos feel when it’s all said and done. Atmosphere is a little harder to describe tangibly, but think about it this way. A grove of trees with a sunny opening feels very different than a mountain speckled background when you’re down in a valley. And both of those feel different than the inside of a church or an old-time theater. Your photo locations should feel like you want your photos to feel, so pay extra attention to the atmosphere when you’re scouting locations and preferably do this with your photographer.
It’s amazing, and even a bit of a godsend, when one location offers multiple vantage points. When one location can be photographed as though it is many locations, that’s the ticket to efficient, beautiful photography.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for going a little further out of your way for that glorious, sought after perfect shot; and often that ringer of a shot won’t come from the little yard just a few feet from the ceremony space. That being said, you will want the locations you take your pictures in to be versatile, to offer different lighting levels and atmospheres, to provide different angles and make it possible to knock out group photos as well as solo and couple pictures.
Have your photographer explain their location choices if you’re nervous. Often hearing their reasoning will help put you at ease and make it simpler for you to soak up all the love you’re surrounded with on your big day. Take a deep breath, tilt your head toward the light, and savor the moment. The pictures will be perfect.