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Things to Consider While Choosing Your Photo Locations for Your Wedding Day

Updated: Mar 19

While planning out your wedding day there are so many things to consider and we are here to help! Choosing beautiful places for your wedding portraits can make a big difference in how they turn out.

When we are going over details with our bride and grooms we try to discuss things like where will they be getting ready, how far apart the locations are, do they have a back up plan in case of rain etc. So I thought we'd break down a few things we look for as photographers to help make choosing locations easier for you!

Grand Rapids, MI Wedding
Groomsmen hanging out before the ceremony

West Michigan Wedding. Locations for portraits
Bridal Portrait in the Bridal Suite at the Rutledge

Things to consider while choosing your getting ready location

When you're choosing a place to get ready there are a few things to consider;

1. Is there enough space for my bridal party to comfortably get ready together

2. Is there a lot of natural light

3. Is this location close to the venue

4. Is there somewhere to store bags and belongings so we aren't tripping over items throughout morning.

5. Are there any picturesque places inside or outside the location for portraits once you are ready

6. Does this space reflect my personality.

Things to consider while choosing places for portraits

Grand Rapids, MI Wedding
Bridesmaid Portraits at Briar Barns in West Michigan

Time of day

Chances are the majority of your portraits will take place mid-day which means harsh lighting. This isn't necessarily bad it can actually make for some unique photos however you'll want a variety of lighting to choose. Having a location that offers steady shade (not spotty, like small trees) is important. This can also be important to consider if temperatures are high.

Venue locations

You booked your venue for good reasons and we are sure they offer lots of good locations to take advantage of! Generally your venue is a big part of your wedding style so we try to incorporate this special location as much as possible. When looking at your venue try to think are there places outside the ceremony and reception spaces for our (just the couple) photos.

Grand Rapids, MI wedding
A portrait of the newlyweds at The Amway in Grand Rapids, MI

What side of the venue is the sunsetting on? Are there any good places near the building for sunset photos? We LOVE taking advantage of a good sunset! We generally only need 15 min to grab these incredible moments and try to stick close to the venue so you can get back to your party as soon as possible.

Kalamazoo, Michigan wedding photographer
Sunset wedding portraits at the Kalamazoo Country Club in Kalamazoo, MI

Have a rain plan

Knowing where to go if it rains is so important! While we always hope for beautiful sunshine or overcast skies we also know how unpredictable Michigan is and always have a back up plan. Have a few favorite places within your venue to shoot in case of rain! There are also locations with awnings or good coverage to keep you out of the rain as well in the city. And of course we always have our bubble umbrellas on rainy days in case you want to brave it and play in the rain <3

Michigan wedding photographer
Rainy wedding day in Fowler, Michigan

Family photos:

Generally family photos are done in the ceremony space. A few things to consider are is there any natural light? Will we like this back drop for all formal portraits or do we prefer an outdoor setting perhaps a different style of wall etc.

We are set for all lighting situations but having a little natural light when possible will help enhance large family photos!


How many mini locations are within this one location? For example, the Iconic Grand Rapids, Blue Bridge. We can shoot on the bridge, on the walk way below shooting back towards the bridge, on the greenery just outside the public museum shooting back toward it; creating 3 options for this one location.

By having multiple mini locations within 1 or 2 locations you will worry less about making it to each location and still have a large variety of backdrops to work with!

How big is your bridal party

Large bridal parties a tons of fun! There are a few things to consider while choosing your locations to be sure it's a good fit for your day!

how will you be traveling to each location? For large groups a party bus is highly recommended. Trying to get everyone to the same place at the same time driving separately almost never works well especially in the city as parking is a major factor.

Are the locations large enough to fit your full party? are there enough large shaded areas for your group to stand in 1 straight line across?

Do your locations make logistical sense?

Though we wish we had unlimited time on your wedding day chances are we will be trying to get to and from these locations on a tight timeframe. So keeping the locations close together will be important. Our general rule is keep your locations within 10-15 min of your venue! And if you're choosing multiple locations outside your venue keep those within 5-10 min apart, the closer the better.

Michigan Wedding photographer
A portrait of the newlyweds in Baker Lofts in Holland Michigan

Phi and I have done MANY Grand Rapids area weddings so if you're at a loss of where to go we'd love to help! We have lots of favorite spot with all these concerns considered.


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