How To Get Romantic Realistic Photographs | Minnesota Wedding Photographer

Lauren Baker Photography Minneapolis Saint Paul Twin Cities Minnesota Wedding Photographer Bayfield

There are so many different photography styles out there. “Light and airy,” “dark and moody,” “de-saturated,” etc. When hiring a wedding or portrait photographer, it’s important to find one whose personality jives with yours. It’s also important to find one whose photographic aesthetic (or style) resonates with you.

Over here at Lauren Baker Photography, we say our style is “romantic realism.” But how do we consistently deliver bright, true to color, romantic photographs session after session and wedding after wedding?

Bride and groom in vineyard at Redeemed Farm
Bright and true to color photographs are beautiful and will stand the test of time!

Part of the equation is how I edit. Duh, right? However, it’s not the main ingredient. It’s more the chocolate frosting on top of the cake (ok…I’ve been eating a lot of sweets so food is on my mind lol). As with baking a cake, we need other ingredients to build a solid foundation. So, how do we get romantic realistic photographs?

You’ll want to have the following ingredients:

Ample natural light

  • Natural light is clean and allows colors to pop. Artificial light (light that doesn’t come from the sun) is either warm or cool depending on its temperature. Light temperature changes the appearance of color. It can also cast unwanted, unintended color onto the subject we’re photographing.
  • The more natural light that’s present in a location, whether it’s outside or inside, the brighter the photograph can be. 
  • Pro Tip: When indoors, windows are natural light’s best friend. Select a getting ready room and wedding venue that has plenty of big windows in them. When your photographer is taking photos be sure to turn off all of the artificial lights.
Bridal gown hanging up in bridal suite at Redeemed Farm.
An example of how artificial light changes color: while there is plenty of bright light coming in from the windows, the chandelier casts a slight orange hue onto the white walls.
Bride getting ready at Dellwood Barn Wedding
If your space has big windows, turn off all artificial lights to give your colors a purer, brighter appearance.

Soft color palette

  • Dull colors do not pop as much vibrant colors. Dark colors are not as bright as light colors. You don’t necessarily have to avoid dark or pastel colors but this general rule of thumb is good to keep in mind. 
  • For weddings, your color palette dictates the look of a majority of your event. From your flowers, reception decor, your wedding party’s dresses and suits, as well as your invitation suite…your color palette influences them all. For bright and true to color photographs, select a color palette that is colorful and reflects light well.
  • Pro Tip: colors that work nicely are soft green (sage is my fave), blush, light grey, baby blue, rose gold, and ivory. Dark colors, such as navy, can work well depending on A) the complimentary colors of your color palette and B) as long as there isn’t too much of the dark color in the photograph thereby overpowering the other colors.
Bride and bridesmaids cheering at Dellwood Barn Weddings
Lovely greens, blushes, and ivories contribute to this photograph’s bright quality. The color combination allows each individual color to pop.
Wedding party smiling on Minneapolis rooftop
While our groom is in navy, because it’s paired with lighter colors (grey, sage, and ivory) the image still looks bright and true to color.

Take portraits at an appropriate time of day

  • When possible, avoid taking portraits when the sun is directly overhead, when the sun’s light is at it’s harshest and shadows are at their darkest.
  • My personal sweet spot is when the sun is at a 45-degree angle to the horizon. In the summer, that’s between 3:00-6:00 p.m. In the winter, it’s earlier; around 2:00-3:30 p.m. In the spring and fall, it falls somewhere between 2:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Pro Tip: No matter what time of day we take portraits, if we’re shooting outside, it’s paramount to find an area with open shade andaccess to the sky. This is why I like taking portraits outside in locations with big trees. 
  • Bonus Tip: trees and fields let me to play with foreground blur which is always fun. Foreground blur adds extra dimension and interest to any portrait.
Bride and groom walking in a green field
Portraits taken a few hours before sunset are my jam. Bonus if we have an overcast day like we had here.

Now that you know how to get bright, true to color, romantic realistic photographs, let’s talk about locations.

I don’t have a hard and fast rule about what venues or locations work best as long as they fulfill the above requirements. That said, I do have some personal favorites that have worked well for me over the years:

  • Parks with open grassy knolls and big trees (ex: Lyndale Peace Garden)
  • Orchards and wineries (ex: Minnetonka Orchards)
  • Golf clubs and Country clubs (ex: Mendakata Country Club)
  • Country Barns – a note about barns: if the walls are dark or red, the darker the photo will be. Barns that have windows and let you open the barn doors to let natural light in work best. (ex: Golden Oak Farm)
Bride and groom holding hands at Royal Oak Golf Club
Royal Golf Club has a ton of breathtaking views! One of my favorite golf clubs in MN.

And what about venues or locations to avoid? I’d never say you should “avoid” a venue or location but if you want bright and true to color photos, venues that are extremely dark, are windowless, or have dark red or orange walls are less ideal. 


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I'm a free-spirited love and adventure seeker who aims to inspire joy, compassion, and beauty. I hope to show each person I interact with how remarkable they are and that they have value.  


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How do we even start to say thank you for all the work and effort you put into our wedding day?

- Josie and Scott

Lauren played such a meaningful role in our wedding, capturing the day in photos that we'll look back on for the rest of our lives. She kept Scott and me calm and sane - Lauren is a miracle worker! She put in 100% effort and gave us her very best, and that means so much to me. Seeing our photographs makes me so excited and so happy that Lauren was with us on this journey.

Lauren made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable!

- Amy and Luke

We just wanted to say thank you again so much for your amazing work. You were seriously incredible to work with and we loved the locations you suggested for both our engagement shoot and the spots in Stillwater. We were very worried about getting professional photos done since we had never done it before, but you made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable. Thank you!

Working with Lauren was easy breezy and FUN! She gave us our most treasured photos ever!


There was a chunk of time in our wedding planning when we thought we'd go without a professional photographer to save on cost (terrible idea!) but once we met with Lauren, we knew we'd be in good hands. She checked in often and asked questions that got us thinking about other parts of the wedding that we probably would've missed. Lauren captured exactly who we are as a couple!

Lauren's enthusiasm and passion make the photo-taking process so fun – she made me feel like a star!

- Alisa AND Adam

Lauren and her team are so much fun to work with! She made us feel so comfortable on the day of our wedding, providing both silly and helpful cues to help us relax and be ourselves in our photos. Lauren’s background in dance is super helpful in recognizing simple posture changes that make a big difference, too. Oh, and the photos we got are just stunning!

Lauren was pivotal in making our wedding day perfect!

- Emma AND Erik

My husband and I looked FOR MONTHS to find the perfect photographer and after meeting Lauren we knew was the best fit for us. She made our day so much fun and easy. She found little opportunities to make the perfect photo all with a  calm ease that comes from someone who has an artistic eye along with experience in understanding the flow of a wedding.

Not only is Lauren an amazing human being, but she is an awesome photographer!

- Haley AND Erick

I've been in several weddings and have worked with a multitude of photographers and I never felt as confident as I did with Lauren. I love how professional she is. She helped with the timeline way in advance and we stuck to that timeline the day of. She was also able to professionally and firmly keep unruly family members settled and focused and navigated family drama beautifully!

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