Picking the Picture-Perfect Venue

By Frances Badgett

The glint of the sun on the water can either be beautiful and romantic, or harsh and punishing. A lovely sunset over the lake can end up being a massive glare in the eyes of your guests, making everyone in your photos squint. In our part of the country, rain contingency should be available year-round, especially in what we commonly refer to as Juneuary. So how does a bride plan for great photos?


STEP ONE IS TO CHOOSE YOUR TIME OF DAY CAREFULLY. The hour just before sunset is called The Golden Hour by filmmakers and photographers for a reason — the light is slanted, glowing, perfect for capturing the halo of sun behind your hair or the romantic glint off your jewelry. Mid-day sun is harsh, bringing out many shadows and unwanted angles. The perfect light for outdoor portraiture is actually lightly overcast and misty — not the ideal wedding light. But if you end up with a rainy day wedding, don’t despair. Your photos may end up better than you remember.

STEP TWO IS TO BE AWARE OF THE LOCATION. Get to know it. If possible, walk through it before the big day with your photographer. Pay attention to where light reflects, how it enters windows in the middle of the afternoon, what the glint off of nearby bodies of water is like. Your photographer will likely know how to work with these things, but it’s good to choose a place to stand with your family that isn’t fraught with trouble. If you can stretch your budget for two photographers, do so. Often one can catch a sense of the whole picture, while the other checks for details, and vice-versa. Water is beautiful. Water makes everything glow. But it can throw light and shadow in unpredictable ways. If you want a sunset beach photo, or a shot from a boardwalk overlooking a bay, make sure you work with your photographer beforehand. Photo editing and a good couple of shooters can take the anxiety out of your day, but making sure that you aren’t complicating the process is a good idea. The photographer is going to be really focused on what you want out of their work, so it’s good to give a little bit back by thinking about what works best for them, too. Remember, the best results come of clear communication, so if you must have that squinty photo of your bridal party, maybe also have a backup under the soft light of a tent