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A Fabulous Formal Location: Wedding Photos at The Elms Mansion

February 3, 2017

Trying to decide on a fabulous location in Newport for pictures? We recommend wedding photos at The Elms Mansion as one of our favorite spots!

The grounds at The Elms have that historic Newport elegance that lends itself to classic, polished wedding photographs.

Bride and Groom stroll the grounds at the Elms Mansion

The gardens, in Classic Revival fashion, have terraces with sculpture, marble pavilions, magnificent trees, fountains, and a sunken garden.

The large trees provide the perfect open-shade lighting that is so important for your portraits. Notice in the photograph below that the bridal party is standing in a big shady area. See how the light on their faces is even and soft? This is the kind of light that we look for. Everyone’s face is evenly lit and all eyes are open because there is no squint inducing bright sun to deal with.

In addition, the background is lovely and textured, the two pavilions and the terrace and hedges provide a pleasing symmetry.  I love this wide angle of the property to show the “big picture” view.

Bridal Party Photos at The Elms Mansion

This is a different take on the same view. This time we are shooting with a more zoomed- in approach. It was a cloudy day, so placement of the groups in relation to the sun wasn’t a concern. We wanted to feel more “up close” to the marble pavilions, using just a section of the architecture instead of the whole scene for a more intimate view of the property and a hint of opulence.

Family Formal Photos at The Elms Mansion

Ooooh! Sun flare… one of my favorite tricks to add a fun, jazzy element to the photos!

I just can’t get enough of these pretty pavilions! Here’s yet a third take on them. The subjects are in the shade being cast by the building (even light on their faces), but the sun is coming into the lens and spilling around the edges of the photograph. You can feel the summer in this picture.

Bridal Party Photos at The Elms Mansion

My other favorite element on the property is the fountains. I love falling water in photographs.

Fountain Detail at The Elms Mansion

The turtles at the top of this fountain are so adorable!

Bride and Groom by the fountain at The Elms Mansion

Here is the same fountain on a sunny day and a cloudy day. They are both really stunning images, however they have a totally different vibe.

Sunny day vs cloudy day at The Elms Mansion

I think this fountain is my favorite. The light in this spot is always perfect due to the surrounding trees. Soft, pretty, romantic…

Bride and Groom and the fountain at The Elms Mansion

This is a wider view of the “turtle fountain” which is right in the middle of the garden terrace. There are so many ways to shoot this property! Although it’s expansive, you don’t have to go very far to get all of these different angles and looks in your photographs.

Groomsmen with the fountain at The Elms Mansion

If you were to turn your back on the turtle fountain, the mansion would be your new view. It’s actually REALLY far across a giant lawn, but we are using a telephoto lens here so the mansion appears to be close and right up against our formally posed bridal party. I love this camera trick, it makes far away things seem very close and intimate. Plus, the bridesmaids don’t have to trek across a giant lawn in their heels. Win win.

Bridal Party on the lawn at The Elms Mansion

Just to geek out a little about photography…

Here is the same group and relatively same spot. This photo was shot with a wide angle lens, which makes the mansion drop way off into the background (closer to what it actually looks like to the eye) and brings the bridal party into the foreground (making you feel more connected to them and their casual pose).

Both of these photos were taken with deliberate choices in lens and poses to achieve these desired effects.

This is one of the important differences between amateur and professional photographers, i.e. we know what we’re doing! LOL.

Wedding Party in Front of The Elms Mansion

On a sunny day the white marble facade of the mansion is really bright! We couldn’t have the couple facing directly into the camera- too squinty and too many shadows.

Trish came up with this fun super formal pose to get around that problem. Panorama in the album? Oh yeah.

Bride and Groom with The Elms Mansion in the background

This photo was shot in a stunning corridor of arborvitae. Love this spot! Cloudy day…

Bridemaids on the grounds at The Elms Mansion

…sunny day, same spot facing in the other direction.

Bridal Portrait at The Elms Mansion

I am CRAZY for photos under this canopy! I want to live under here.

Bride and Groom under a tree canopy at The Elms Mansion

This is a sunken garden at the back of the property. I was able to stand up near those marble pavilion buildings to get the birds eye view on this bridal party.

Bridal Party in the garden at The Elms Mansion

Lovely walls and ornate gates on the property. A wide view of the gate for a full length bridal portrait…

ornate Gates at The Elms Mansion

… and a close up on the gate just to add an interesting element to a romantic photo.

Bride and Groom with Ornate Gates at The Elms Mansion

So here’s the scoop on The Elms. You must rent it if you want to take your wedding photos here. I HIGHLY recommend it for a few reasons.

  1. It’s wonderful to have the grounds to yourself- no bumping into other bridal parties or competing for the best location.
  2. Stopping along Bellevue Avenue in your wedding trolley or limo to get “mansion” type photographs is now prohibited by the town so if you want the grandeur and architecture this is the authorized way to do it. We’ve been stopped twice and had to leave trying to just “pull over” in front of mansions so we are no longer going to do that! Don’t want to get ourselves kicked out of Newport permanently!
  3. The Elms has everything you could want in one lovely spot; shade, architecture, trees, lawn etc. etc.

Bride and Groom walk the grounds at The Elms Mansion You can contact the Preservation Society here: Newport Preservation Society

and download their PDF to book The Elms here: PDF

The fee to rent the grounds at The Elms is $300 for non members and $150 for members.

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