PART 1: Rosecliff, Newport, Rhode Island

Occasional posts will be dedicated to the topic, My Favorite Venues to Photograph (and why). To be clear, our job as your professional photographer is to be able to work in virtually any lighting and environmental condition. Most of us would agree that the only part of the day we need “control” over our light and/or surroundings is during the posed and group photos of you and your loved ones. In my experience, some venues are easier to photograph and/or allow more creativity and flexibility than others, thus allowing your photographer to go above and beyond.

How do I define my favorite venues to photograph?

Practicality: Let's face it: we are in New England! We've had cold days in September, warm days in November and rainy days in July. Does the venue provide a seamless Plan B if the weather suddenly shifts (and it may)?

Position of the sun throughout the day: The light may be perfect at 4pm at a particular venue. But if we are taking the posed photos at any other time of the day, are there different background options, or are they limited (ie, choosing between phone lines or the busy street as the backdrop)? If high noon is the only time to photograph, do we have shady options so that you do not roast in the sun on a hot July day?

Inclement Weather: Some venues that are perfect on sunny days for photos may have limited options if inclement weather occurs. Are there areas which provide shelter that are spacious enough to work in and/or allow some dimension and creativity? Having just a little bit of flexibility can go a long way for your wedding and event photography.

To kick off this topic, Rosecliff in Newport, Rhode Island is one of my favorite wedding and event venues to photograph in Rhode Island. I’d compare the light and environment of Rosecliff to a thumbprint: no two days are alike, which is inspiring. The creative opportunities are endless: although I have worked at Rosecliff numerous times throughout the years, I always manage to see and shoot differently, allowing each series of work to have its own perspective unique to that day.

The front lawn faces west, so early day photos with the mansion lit in the background are lovely. The Rose Garden, which  features a statue of Venus, runs along the entire south side of the mansion, with a lovely view at each direction which allows for incredible flexibility no matter what the sun direction. And on a clear night, the moonrise above the Atlantic Ocean on the east-facing back side is remarkable. A good photographer can shoot in nearly any direction at any time of the day at Rosecliff, so it really is among the ideal venues, creatively speaking.

Google Maps: Rosecliff, Newport, RI

Google Maps: Rosecliff, Newport, RI

Since the interior is so spacious, if inclement weather occurs, your photographer can easily work in another part of the mansion without having people in the background - and without sacrificing space and beauty, which is a bonus. In addition, the back terrace provides shelter, so if it’s rainy without wind, you can still use the lawn and water as your backdrop.

Philip Pelletier, Director of Special Events for The Preservation Society of Newport County adds, “Rosecliff, built in 1902, was modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles and was created as a showcase for extravagant entertainments. The snow-white terra-cotta house features the largest private Ballroom in Newport and a heart-shaped staircase along stunning panoramic ocean views from the back lawn that can all provide an amazing backdrop to frame your wedding portraits.”

It’s important to note that you should ask your planner to suggest timeframes that work for your specific venue based on the season in order to maximize the quality of light and how that reflects on the surroundings throughout the day.

Click here for more Venues and Friends who I recommend in the wedding/events industry and beyond. Click here to view the Rosecliff Gallery or Ashley & Nick's wedding at RosecliffEmail me anytime for topic suggestions and feel free to comment, ask questions and share. Thanks for reading!

Peace, Love & Happy Planning,
Dana Siles