What is the main ingredient to creating amazing wedding photos other than a gorgeous couple? Lighting. When choosing a location for wedding photos, consider how pretty the spot is AND what kind of lighting it produces as well.
A professional photographer will always, always look for the best lighting situation to place their clients in. 99% of the time wedding photos take place after the ceremony, at an outdoor location, in the harshest light of the day. When I shoot weddings, I will immediately look for shaded areas that will diffuse this light. That will eliminate squinting and shadows on faces. Any of my past clients will tell you, I never place them in direct sun. The photos below were taken in the middle of the afternoon in harsh light, by placing them in the shade the light is consistent (especially on faces) and also much more flattering.
I know what you are thinking! I want photos looking over the water, or in middle of that gorgeous field and you can still get that – I promise! The trick is to shoot those photos at the correct time of day – the “golden hour.” In other words, when the sun is low in the sky. When my couples have finished their meal and their guests are having a break between dinner and dessert, I steal them for 15 or so mins so we can get those dreamy light, on the dock or the beach, in the middle of a field, gorgeous shots. As you can see below, in the mid-afternoon light, I placed my lovely couple in the shaded woods but after dinner we got stunning shots of them dipping their toes in the water.
So when you are considering locations for your photos, pick a spot that you love and reflects you as a couple but can provide some great lighting for your photographer. If your photographer doesn’t know the location, they should go see it prior to your wedding date to make sure they can work with it. I scout a location before I shoot at it, that way there are no surprises on wedding day. If you get stuck picking a location, ask your photographers advice. Most photographers have some great spots they love that you might not be aware of.