Planning a wedding involves thousands upon thousands of decisions, and just when you cross one off your list, three more pop up in its place. It’s exhausting!
As your wedding photographer, I’m here to guide you towards the decisions that will not only create a fun experience day of (I’m not about that forced wedding portrait misery), but leave you with images that preserve your love story as it happened.
I’ve seen many couples get super Type A about one huge photography decision: The location of their wedding portraits. And I get why! These photos will get framed. They’ll hang on the walls of your living room for years. They’ll get 350 likes on Instagram. You want to love these photos, and the location is a huge part of that!
Not knowing where these portraits will happen makes it difficult to trust in the process, and it feels like too big of a risk to let someone else decide. But I’m telling you:Trust your photographer on this one.
Here’s how I build your trust, take killer portraits, and leave you smiling every time you look at your living room wall.
Starting two weeks from your wedding (okay fine…I send this 8 weeks out, no rush though!) you’ll receive some pretty intense paperwork from me. It has a lot of timeline questions, along with spots for Pinterest links and questions like:
What inspired your vision for your wedding day?
Do you have a theme or color palette?
How do you envision your ideal wedding day?
These non-portrait specific questions help me get a feel for the vision and vibe of your day, which is so important! Your vision helps me figure out where your ideal portrait spots are. I also have form boxes where you can straight up tell me if you have a spot you love!
Many couples can feel overwhelmed with this, but I always suggest letting your venue, color palette, and overall wedding vibe help dictate your locations. This will ensure a cohesive day.
Other ways to help nail down your portrait vision:
I’ll take that info, and about ten days before your wedding, I hop onto Google Maps.
I street view the drive between venues (if there is one), note any spots I think might work, determine if we need to go out of the way for the location or specific look you want, and build a more detailed timeline for portraits around it.
Then, 3-5 days before your wedding, I drive it in real life. I go around the time I’d be taking your portraits and scope out:
If a client gives me an hour, I pick an hour and a half worth of locations. I’ll rank them in a list of most important to least so I can cut spots if we’re short on time, and add spots if we’re ahead of schedule!
Trust me yet?
Here are some locations I’ve discovered that are beyond perfect for portraits, but might not be as obvious to couples.
Always and forever. Parking garages are a great way to get some city shots with a fun perspective. They aren’t always an option since some have very strict rules, but the ones that look the other way help me make all the magic.
These are perfect for a downtown vibe, but with a twist over the classic North Shore or Mt Washington views.
Public green space
Those little patches of trees throughout the city…that’s what I’m talking about!
Yeah, sometimes it’s only a 5 x 5 space to work between people eating lunch and some gross garbage piled up, but that little spot is where the magic happens!
These little gems all over the city can work for couples portraits or a full wedding party, and are a great way to mix greenery or nature into a bunch of downtown photos!
Inside your venue
You picked it for a reason! It’s usually full of flowers, matches your color palette, is convenient, and of course, it’s super pretty.
This shouldn’t just be a rain plan, either. If you have cocktail hour in a separate area, or are doing a first look and have everything at one venue, this is a great way to not only get great photos, but have a really cohesive look for your day.
A road, alley or parking lot
Obviously not for all of your photos, but if you like a city vibe, this is a quick pit stop that makes for gorgeous shots!
We do it safely, time it right, and it’s a great spot to capture a walking/dancing/spinning/movement filled moment! A parking lot can also incorporate some texture, murals, or something a little funky! It requires being quick, but makes for great gritty shots.
…Do you trust me now?!
I know couples are under a lot of pressure to get the whole ‘wedding thing’ right…now more than ever. If you’re unsure of your portrait locations, take a deep breath, look through my website again, and remember how my photos made you feel before you booked me.
No matter what your wedding vision is, I’ll make sure your portraits align with it. Sometimes it requires finding a field next to old train tracks covered in garbage, or standing at the edge of the venue parking lot, or on top of a garage, but it’ll happen if you trust me!
And then…don’t forget that I have a million umbrellas, have now worked through a pandemic, and have probably had every curve ball for photos thrown my way.
…Speaking of! Let me just touch on the ways I will crush a backyard portrait session while you’re here! It’s definitely a new set of challenges: Usually the space is much smaller, and not really set up with photos in mind.
What I’ll lean into to get the shot:
Worried about portrait spots? Have me come over before the wedding to check things out, or send a bunch of cell phone shots or video of your space!
Despite all of the pits we’ve seen in the wedding industry, I’m still in business taking killer photos. And one day, future couples will pin your portraits as inspiration!
Trust me on that one.
Dawn Derbyshire Photography loves love.
I strive to create an inclusive, welcoming space for my employees, vendors I work with, AND my clients of all races, religions, sexual orientations and identities. All of my clients (and their love stories) deserve respect, are cherished, and are valued by me and my business. You are welcome in my business, my life, and my heart.