I can never stress enough to my clients how important it is for them to fully trust their wedding photographer. One key part of trusting your wedding photographer is acquiring the confidence in their decision making for your portrait locations. Some may question, what exactly do you mean by this? It should be pretty simple, right? Just find a location that is pretty & place us there! The truth of the matter is, finding portrait locations isn’t as simple & obvious as it may seem. Let’s go over some of the main points as to why I may not place you somewhere “picturesque.” It sounds insane, right?
1) First Look
Let’s start by discussing portrait locations when it comes to the “First Look.” If you do not know what a first look is… you can be sure to read about it here!. This may be a bit of a side topic, but it still has to do with trusting your photographer when it comes to the location. Most of the time on a wedding day, the venue will try & direct you to where they think your couple should share their first look. I would say about half of the time the location they recommend is not the most ideal. It’s not because the location itself isn’t pretty, but it has everything to do with the setting. First and foremost, I want your “First Look” location to be PRIVATE. My desire is to lead you & your groom a far enough distance away so that family, bridal party members, or even early arriving guests aren’t observing your special moment. This should be a private moment between the two of you without feeling the pressure from those family members or guests trying to observe.
Since “First Looks” are completely candid with little to no given instruction, I will also look for a location that has a relatively clear background. We don’t need vehicles, clutter, or trash in the background of your “First Look” photos. Since I will be capturing your special moment based off of the natural flow of your movements, I need to be sure you are in a location that is free of any distractions.
Last I need to find a location that has perfect, even lighting! If you are getting married on an overcast day, lighting won’t be as much of an issue. However if it is a day where we have full sun or even a mix of clouds (allowing the sun to fade in and out), we need to place you somewhere that provides us with even shade. Having even shade will keep you out of that harsh sun which will cause your images to be washed out. More importantly, it will avoid having sun spots across your bodies or even worse, on your face! We also don’t need you squinting in your images due to being in the harsh sunlight. Even lighting is key for a “First Look” location.
I probably should have listed “lighting” as my number one point, bc lighting is what determines just about EVERY single portrait location! Knowing how to find good light is what helps showcase my style, & it is also what really makes your photographs come to life. Sometimes I will have bride’s request to have their photo taken in front of a specific landmark, or out front a beautiful backdrop. Although these locations are understandably eye catching they may not always make a pretty photograph. Some brides may even be a little surprised when I deliberately don’t put them in a particular location that echoes all kinds of prettiness. Why? Because it all has to do with the light! Lighting is what makes your images “pop”, not the scenery around you.
This definitely limits where we are able to take portraits, but I can guarantee that you will have a much more flattering portrait than if I were to stick you somewhere “pretty” with harsh sunlight. If you are having your portrait session during the “golden hour”, which is approx 1-2 hours before sunset, finding locations with good light is much easier (also allowing for more variety!). However, I will still need to be cautious about which angles to take your portraits, as you still want the sun slightly behind you & at an angle at all times. We don’t need “orange” faces, squinty eyes, or even overly hazy looking images. We want that perfect, romantic golden light that really gives your images that “wow” factor. Again, with portrait locations the pretty light is where it’s at!
3) Trust the Vision
This is where trust really plays a key part in the client/photographer relationship. When it comes to your photographer, you need to trust in their vision. I don’t only mean literally, but creatively. There may be times where a photographer poses you in a place that you don’t find very appealing, but I promise you there IS a reason for it. Whether it be the light, the angle, the timing of the session, or maybe it’s somewhere that just seems to spark a connection between the two of you…I can assure you that there is a reason. This also goes with posing as well, but we will get into that at a different time!
“Thank you for stopping by! If you would like to learn more about my Wedding Experience you can contact me here!”
I’d love to hear about your love and story and celebrate with you on your big day as your biggest cheerleader!