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phrase “Making something outta’ Nothing”?   Maybe the “outta” is the country coming out in me but you get the point. I feel like this phrase perfectly describes that I have to do when  I’m searching out locations for portraits before a wedding day. Some of the places I choose are weird, odd and downright ugly! But hey, if the LIGHT is good….. I’m going to shoot there and luckily, my clients trust me enough to let me do just that. The last wedding I shot took place at a church in Downtown Hampton, VA. While  Hampton is on the water and there are parts of town that used to be over-the-top gorgeous….it can be a little tricky to find

GREAT portrait locations when you’re near the ghetto and are surrounded by heavily residential areas. There aren’t alleys or abandoned office buildings or fields filled with wheat…. and to be honest, I end up at these type of locations a lot! Take Jordan and Katy’s wedding for example. It was at a BEAUTIFUL church but this church was on the corner of a busy intersection and the ONLY portrait location I could find was in the tall grass behind a shopping center!! Sounds strange? Oh it was! People were passing us, honking and staring like “What on earth is a BRIDE doing in tall grass on the side of the road?!”  There was trash there, an old tracker trailer in the background and not a lot of shade but we made it work and I LOVE their images from the beginning of their day!


So back to Mandy and Josh’s wedding in Hampton, VA.  I searched around the church and down the street for some locations before we started shooting. I wanted to be prepared and know exactly where to have the bridal party meet us after the first look!  So here is what I look for when scouting locations:


1.  Good light! If the couple is doing a First Look and it’s a super sunny day, I look for SHADED but well lit areas…. “Open Shade” if you will! :)


2. Areas that will match the THEME and overall FEEL of their wedding day! For Josh and Mandy, I knew they were using birdhouses and pastels and so a yellow and white Victorian house seemed perfect! …. Luckily the owner was mowing his grass that morning and so I stopped and asked permission!


3.  Accessibility.  These locations need to be easy to get to because before the ceremony, we’re on a time crunch in some cases. In Mandy and Josh’s case, we were racing the MASSIVE storm that was going through Williamsburg and heading our way! So I knew that we needed to be able to get to these locations easily and get there FAST!


4. Private. The first look locations needs to be private. This is a big moment. I had originally picked and little path for Josh and Mandy so to share their First Look but when the time came, one of the neighbors was WEED WHACKING!!! I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to be yelling over the sound of a weed whacker when I see my husband for the first time! Not romantic at ALL.  So I made a fast decision to change locations.


So here are some iphone images that I took when I was scouting and they are all followed by the ACTUAL portraits that were shot that day! Enjoy!!


xoxo, Katelyn
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