I remember when my husband and I were planning our wedding, I spent hours looking for perfect locations for photos. I scoured Pinterest endlessly pinning wedding photos of every kind…outdoor photos, indoor photos, posed photos, and everything in between. Then my husband and I made a list of all the places we wanted to go to get photos that would give us the desired look we found in all those Pinterest photos.
Through no fault of our own, we had a 3-hour gap between our ceremony and reception, so we thought we had all the time in the world. In fact, one of the places we thought about going for photos was 40 minutes away from our wedding and reception.
When we finally got our list complete and felt it was good enough to show our photographer, he stood in silence for a few minutes. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, but we could tell right away that we had no idea what we were doing and that our lack of knowledge cost us a ton of time, time we could have used doing other things.
Once our photographer had time to process our list, he broke it down and rationalized what we gave him. He gave us the best advice we ever received. Keep the list small, keep the list simple, and keep the list local. While three hours was a long time, it actually did go by very fast, which he warned us it would. We narrowed down our list from 6 locations, two three, one of which was the church.
Apparently, choosing too many locations is a common mistake couples make. So, we asked Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, for advice on how to find perfect wedding photo locations:
Keep locations close
“It has become standard for most weddings to occur in either one or two main locations,” says Leman. “Either both ceremony and reception in one spot, or ceremony in one location, and reception in another. As much as possible, I would recommend staying in one main location for photos. Traveling between a few different places for photos, especially with families and wedding party groups, can cost precious time on a wedding day.”
You’ll be surprised how many photos/poses you’ll be taking at each location, and all the little nooks within a location you’ll find for your photo, so there’s no need to drive all over town to find the perfect spot.
Look for at least one outdoor spot
“If your ceremony and/or reception location is really not conducive to photographs,” says Leman,”I would recommend finding a great outdoor spot that:
1) Has enough space for the entire wedding party and family, if needed, and
2) Has open shade, and the ability for at least a semblance of privacy so you do not have meanderers in the background of your photos (local and state parks are great for wedding photographs, but sometimes picnickers will be around – just be aware!).”
Keep in mind that locations can change
Leman says, “One location may look amazing in summer, but it will be a totally different story in the winter! And, keep in mind that some locations change occasionally; for example, if you are counting on an open field, and a developer buys it, they may start to build on your awesome space before your wedding day (this does happen)! It’s important to take a peek at your photo location just prior to your wedding to ensure that it is as you expected it to be.”
Pay attention to permits
Leman says “If you do choose a location besides your ceremony/reception spot, make sure you don’t need permits to shoot there. If you do, make sure you request them as soon as possible to ensure that you won’t run into any snafus on your wedding day. Keep in mind that ordering a permit is often the responsibility of you as the client, rather than the photographer – take a peek at your photographer’s contract to be sure of where this responsibility lies!”
So, we want to know, what locations have you chosen for your wedding photos? Did that list change at all?
Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography