how to pick a location for your bridal photos

how to pick a location for your bridal session

Your wedding venue may be booked, but do you know where you want to do your bridal photo session? While some venues offer complimentary bridal sessions on their grounds to those who have booked their wedding with them, some brides may want a change of scenery for their portraits.

types of venues

Below is hardly an exhaustive list of types of locations for your bridal session, but hopefully it’s enough to get you thinking. Do you want a woodsy, natural background? or something sleeker & more modern like a hotel lobby? Or, manicured lawns or gardens might be more up your alley.

My bridal sessions are two hours long which is usually enough time to visit two locations that are relatively close to each other. Feel free to pick two different backdrops for a good variety! Unless we’re in a public space, most venues will have a closing time or portrait availability only on week days. Be sure to do your research when picking!

  • estates or historic buildings

  • wedding or event venues

  • fields or parks

  • gardens or greenhouses

  • city/urban

A few years ago I put together this list of locations, but please check on updates for pricing or photo permits. I’m sure there are plenty of new venues that have been built since then too!

indoor vs outdoor venues

Indoor locations can be beautiful, but tricky. The more natural light coming into the room the better. Think windows. Think LOTS OF LARGE windows. When you first walk into the room or venue that you are considering for your bridals, notice how long it takes for your eyes to adjust.

Remember! Cameras love & crave light, so the brighter a room is naturally, the dreamier your photos will turn out.

TIP #1: Light colored walls & ceilings make a room feel bigger & reflect light better than dark rooms.

TIP #2: Small & tight rooms may be difficult to work in or fully showcase your dress.

get creative

Now is the time to get creative! Do you know someone who has access to an amazing lavender field? or an airplane hanger? or a jaw dropping personal estate? If you do & that type of venue is what you envision for your bridal photos, don’t be afraid to ask! (Politely, of course.)

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photo permits & fees

Spend a little time researching photo fees & permits restrictions for any venue, including public spaces. There could be a simple sign in process at the front desk somewhere, or a fee may need to be paid before we’re aloud to shoot anywhere. The last thing we need is to show up all gussied up only to be denied entry because of a silly thing like a permit.

public spaces

My last piece of advice is to be aware of places that may be very crowded during certain times of the day or days of the week. There isn’t much we can do about crowds in public areas but people do tend to mostly stay out of the way when they see a bride. A weekday might be better for some locations.

scouting a location like a pro

The best types of locations for photo shoots have a variety of backdrops & interesting features that can be interacted with (sit on, stand by, lean against, etc.) But, at the same time, never underestimate the power of a white wall in open shade (indirect light). All the focus is on you!