bridal party walking along snowy path
May 21, 2013

Location, Location, Location


Probably the most important decision around planning your wedding day is picking the perfect location. We have shot weddings on mountain tops in Estes Park and at recreation centers in the city. And, at the end of the day, no matter where the marriage happened, the happy couple loved their photos. Either way, taking the time to think about how photogenic the location can really help when selecting the right venue.

Eric and I love photographing mountain weddings. The light is plentiful, the scenery is amazing and we both spend a lot of our free time in the great outdoors anyway, so the more the better. Couple that with a group of happy people, dressed to the nines to celebrate the union of the bride and groom and we’re in photo heaven. Venues like Della Terra Mountain Chateau and Wild Basin Lodge in Estes Park are perfect mountain locations for weddings. They are set up specifically for weddings so nearly everywhere we point our lens, we get a good photo. Wild Basin is nestled in next to Copeland lake along the scenic and historic Peak to Peak Highway just south of Estes Park. Similarly, Della Terra is located just west of the town off of Fall River Road and makes a stunning backdrop for any wedding.

If that mountain top wedding amidst the pines just isn’t gonna happen and the community room at the senior center fits the bill, we can still make great photos. These types of venues create challenging shooting situations but, as photojournalists we got used to showing up at events only to be greeted by dim light and the cold architecture so commonly found in hotel meeting rooms and convention centers. We still had to make great photos. Here are a few things to think about as you plan your ceremony location:father-daughter dance in spotlight

– If you need to amplify voices at your ceremony, consider the location of the microphones. Mics are helpful to amplify sound but a microphone coming out of the best man’s head rarely makes a great photo.

– Consider the background. A busy wallpaper design can be distracting and a wall of mirrors behind the altar is a sure way to get the photographer in the photo.

– Does the venue have any distinguishing pluses that can help the photography. Most buildings are landscaped and even have water features, fireplaces or seating areas that can be used as formal portrait locations.

As I mentioned before, we can handle just about any lighting situation with our cameras and expertise but consider placement of lighting when planning the ceremony. Overhead recessed lighting can be found as the dominant light source in most hotels and community meeting rooms. The downcast light can cause dark eye sockets. Consider asking the venue if they can light the altar where the ceremony will take place. Also, watch out for lights in the background. They can create a second coming affect behind the subject.

Whether you pick the perfect location for photographing a wedding or know you have challenging venue, Eric and I are always willing to get together and talk about what we do and how we can make the most of photographing your wedding. Just drop us a line and we’ll buy you a cup of joe and come up with a plan to document your big day.

Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.