TRUST YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER - Kristen Kay Photography - Las Vegas Wedding Photographer


Trust Your Photographer | when it comes to choosing a location

Photographers see the world a little differently than most. As a photographer, I can see beauty in nearly everything. Like a junkyard. Junkyards are pretty gross, right? Nope, not to me, it was amazing for the shoot I did there once. The dry, dead desert. Nothing too exciting happening there, right? Wrong again, the desert is full of beauty, full of hidden gems and full of the most beautiful tones and textures.

Most couples, when thinking about where to have their intimate wedding or elopement, they think of the most beautiful places. What's the most beautiful place you can think of? I'm guessing you're imagining a clear stream, a waterfall, a nearby park with lush green grass and lots of trees or maybe a flower garden. While these are all beautiful places that could possibly make for great locations, they also might not be. 

What makes or breaks a location?

1. Lighting

What's the lighting situation like at the location?  A place can be the most beautiful, but if the lighting isn't good, then the photos will not be good. Photography and light go hand and hand. You can not have a photo without light, and you can't have a good photo without good light.

2. Cluttered

Is the location cluttered with stuff? When you have too much stuff in photos, the viewer gets distracted and the focus shifts from being on the couple to being on the beautiful and cluttered setting or background. 

3. Water

Water is beautiful. It is calming and serene. However, for photographs, it is one of the most distracting things. When the sun hits it, it's like a giant glowing, shimmery mass in photos. And it distracts from the couple. However, when water is shot in the correct lighting situation and the correct angles, it can produce the most beautiful photographs. But since I'm in the Las Vegas desert and we don't have a lot of water options, I shall move on.

4. Reflections

When the light hits certain colors it reflects those colors back onto the subjects. Grass does this as well as anything bright colored. This is why photographers mostly wear neutral colors when photographing, to keep from reflecting colored light back onto their subjects. So while a lush, grassy field covered in clovers is beautiful to the eye, it can be a photographer's worst nightmare. Because green reflects and can make you look green, which trust me isn't great!

This little canyon location with sandy colored, textured walls and a rock floor is one of my favorite locations in Las Vegas. I have only ever shot here once when I chose the location for a styled shoot with a horse. And this time for this couple's beautiful engagement photos. And you know why he trusted me and saw the vision? Because he's a photographer himself. And he get's it. He understands light in the way I do, he understands that grassy hills reflect green back onto people's skin. He get's it, that without good light, you can not have a good capture. Can you see the way the light is making the canyon wall glow and the way it's reflecting so nicely off the rocks back onto their skin?

No location is perfect, but trust me when I say to trust your photographer. If you love the work they produce, the way they capture the world around them. Then you must trust their eye and their vision. Because as a photographer, we are trained and have the natural ability to see things in a way that other's can't see.

My favorite locations are the ones deemed uninteresting or difficult because that's when I am challenged most to create and capture and prove that it is indeed beautiful and that it can work.

Are there exceptions?

Yes! Locations that are meaningful to you and your love story can break a few of the rules. This is one of the only times the rules can be broken. Because I think meaningful out trumps everything. Of course, if it's meaningful and beautiful lighting and there aren't horrible reflections and lots of distractions, then we just hit the jackpot!

My favorite is when my couples come to me with a unique idea for a location or for something unique to do at the location. I love it when my brides' and grooms' great creative, make it their day and make it special to them in whatever way that may be.

Do you love a certain restaurant? Why not get married there? Did you buy your first house together? Let's do an in-home anniversary session or why not elopement inside of your home? Are you a flight attendant and you met your love on an airplane? Then let's get you married on that airplane!!

If you have a unique location idea for your wedding, please email me at:

I would love to hear all about your ideas and help make it happen. If you're planning an intimate wedding or elopement in Las Vegas and would like to know more about my packages, please fill out this form and tell me more about the two of you and what you're envisioning for your special day.

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Kristen is a wedding & editorial photographer based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. She captures timeless, intimate desert weddings and fun, unconventional elopements for laid-back lovers flying into Vegas from around the World.

Read more about Kristen and her airplane love story.

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