Scouting the perfect spot for wedding photography requires an eye for art, detail, and lighting. A local photographer knows all the hot spots in and around the area, whereas an adventurous, ambitious destination wedding photographer is always happy to take off to a new place and uncover stunning spaces for an engagement session or a pre wedding shoot. Whether you’re a shutterbug in need of a few helpful tips or an engaged couple eager to discover beautiful places to celebrate your love, Kyle Larson Photography is ready to share the exclusive 411 on finding one-of-a-kind locations for wedding pictures.

Talk It Out

Whether you’re a destination wedding photographer or a couple in search of a photographer who understands your vision and your vibe, talking it out can reveal what the couple wants. In addition to discussing their desires with one another, the betrothed couple needs to have a conversation with every potential photographer, as well. A simple discussion or two can reveal everything you want to know about the folks who are about to get married. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth conversation, necessarily. As a photographer, you primarily want to get an idea of what the couple likes. Do they prefer indoor spaces over outdoor locations? Are they wild for interesting architecture, or do they love being out in nature?

Consider a Questionnaire

Here’s a helpful tip for destination wedding photographers and shutterbugs who work locally. Before you sit down to consult with a potential couple, send them a questionnaire that will allow you to get to know them better. Include questions about the individuals, but ask about their love story, as well. Seeing the trajectory of their relationship can help the photographer to envision the story they want their photos to tell. By learning about their hobbies, likes and dislikes, and preferences, you’ll not only know which locations to scout, but you’ll also be able to balance what each person expects. For couples who are searching for a photographer, consider completing a questionnaire yourselves to hand out to each prospective provider.

Pick a Spot That’s Personal


You can never go wrong with a personal spot. For both pre wedding shoots and sessions that occur the day of, explore locations that mean something to the engaged pair. Obviously, these types of locations differ between couples. They’re dependent on the location, as well. The bride might want to capture photos in a meadow near her childhood church. If they’re eager for a destination wedding in San Francisco because they both adore the city, then a few shots from  Golden Gate park are a must.

Select a Memorable Spot

This tip is a bit different than simply choosing a personal spot because it focuses on the couple and their relationship. Photographers should be able to forge bonds with couples quickly. That goes for a destination wedding photographer or someone local. That’s another reason why a questionnaire is a handy tool. It should have a section devoted to the development of the couple’s relationship, including meaningful locations that they’ve visited throughout their history together. Some couples choose to have wedding photos taken at the spot where they shared their first kiss or had their first date. The place where one of them popped the question is a popular choice, too. Then again, they may want photos in the area where they went on their first vacation or something similar.

Look for Themed Locations

A pre wedding shoot or scouting session offers the opportunity to weave the theme of the wedding into the photographs. A rustic wedding has to have a barn of some kind in the the photos. Fairy tale ceremonies can be centered around castles or magical secret locations. In the fall, you can seek out spots that show off the changing leaves. Couples who love nature can pose in parks or near waterfalls. Lovers of literature may choose to have their pictures taken among stacks of books or literary-themed locations.

Scout the Background

The immediate background is an essential component that needs to be eye-catching but not overpowering. Don’t discount the importance of the background as a whole, though, especially for outdoor shots. Nothing bland will do. A meadow is a gorgeous backdrop, but there ought to be a hill, a shapely tree, or the remains of an old structure somewhere in the distance. From the mountains to the shore, a skilled destination wedding photographer can find an array of scenic backgrounds. Spend the time doing so because they’re crucial, even if they only play a small part in the larger picture.

Visit During Different Times of Day

Feel free to schedule a few mini pre wedding shoots before the big day. Plan your trips at a variety of times during the day, ranging from morning to just before dusk. You need to see the way the shadows fall, where the sun hits, how the background appears at different points, and even what traffic is like around the area. What you discover may prompt you to book the wedding day shoot at a specific time or explore an alternative location. Don’t be afraid to strike something off your list. That’s the point of uncovering several spots.

Pay Attention to the Lighting

By visiting the sites you’re considering at various points throughout the day, you can also scout the lighting situation. It’s vital to study the lighting at indoor and outdoor locations. Whether the sunlight’s falling down on the couple or pouring in through a window, you have to see where it hits, when, and the time at which it looks the most magical. In most instances, that will happen during the golden hour, but there’s no guarantee that the couple will have the ceremony and reception at the right times for the photographer to capture the golden light that comes just before the sun starts to set. You have to work within the parameters of what the couple wants.
The best plan involves the destination wedding photographer working with the engaged couple. Together, you can come up with a series of locations to try out based on the criteria of the soon-to-be newlyweds. As you compile a list, you should also remember to avoid crowding it with too many possibilities. Photographers, what are some of your top tips for helping couples discover the most beautiful backdrops for their photos?