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Location, Location, Location! My secret for finding GREAT ones!

April 7th, 2010  |  Published in Featured, Shoot

One of the most fun parts of being a wedding photographer is not knowing where you will be shooting from week to week. One week you could be photographing a wedding in a lovely shaded garden, with diffused golden light filtering in through the trees and stone benches perched perfectly between the trunks of beauty trees, and the next week you could end up in a dark hotel with dark walls and dark windows covered in dark curtains. Here’s a quick tip for finding great portrait backdrops no matter what your location looks like.

Put on your pith helmet and EXPLORE!

I’ve photographed weddings at a LOT of country clubs. You know the kind with a pretty little gazebo out back that they have designated as the photo area. If I can share a little secret with the hundreds of millions of people on the internet…I don’t like gazebos very much. So I always try to arrive at a location a little early and explore. When I get to the bride’s parent’s house where she and the girls are getting ready, the first thing I ask is if I can look around the house, and I look into every room. When I arrive at a new hotel, I do the same thing. Since I am not a gazebo photographer, I am looking for locations ha are unique to the venue, and different from what other photographers are capturing there. Spots with great light, but more importantly with a great story to tell about the location…or just an interesting background to make the photo look cool. I look for interesting geometric shapes, or interesting colors. Most of all, I look for places that I’m pretty sure no other photographer has ever used!

I took this photo at College Ave United Methodist Church in Somerville MA. This church was probably built around the 1920′s and was definitely in need of a little updating. When I arrived, however, I put on my pith helmet, and discovered several very cool locations, my favorite of which was an 80 year old gym on the third floor.


This wedding was at a conference center with a pretty little garden area that was just a little plain. After doing all of the family photos in the garden area, I asked the bridesmaids to bustle the bride’s dress, and followed a little path to the back of the building, where I found…a dumpster!


This wedding was at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem MA during a blizzard. I had just finished up with the family photos and was about to head on to the ceremony when nature called. Answering the call, I noticed this cool opaque window and asked the bride in to the Men’s room.


Another weather snafu on this wedding day, this time it was rainy and we were stuck inside the country club. Adjacent to the bridal suite was the ladies locker room, and, after sending a bridesmaid inside to make sure the coast was clear, I found this cool little ottoman in front of the antique looking wooden lockers.


This wedding took place at a resort on the Cape. I convinced them to wander across to the little cluster of shops across the street from the resort where they were married. The shop outsides provided great backgrounds, but it was this little ice cream shop that caught my eye. I poked my head in and was instantly invited in by the owner.


This wedding took place at a reception venue that was lovely, but a little plain. As I was exploring, however, I found a hall that led to a dance club at the back of the building. The staff was just setting up for the night, and were gracious enough to let us in!


This reception took place at the Ballroom Veronique, which has no shortage of wonderful locations. I wanted to create a contrast to the elegance of the location, though, and decided to look around a bit. In the staff hallway behind the ballroom, I found the Laundromat.


As you can see, if you are looking to create memorable and unique portraits on a couple’s wedding day, it pays to explore. And here’s another little secret: you have an all access pass in a white dress following behind you. People can’t say no to a bride on her wedding day! So get out there and explore. You’ll be surprised what you find.

PS – those of you joining us for the next shoot, I will be discussing the details of what I look for in a great indoor location, and what I do when my exploration is fruitless! Can’t wait to see you all.

~ Jamison Wexler

About Jamison Wexler

Jamison Wexler has written 15 post in this blog.

Jamie is a Boston Wedding Photographer who believes every client is a rockstar.


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