Lake Tahoe, California – Stunning backdrops, expensive gowns, strung-out couples on the most important day of their lives ... how much drama can be packed into a single photo? We asked well known destination wedding photographers for their most striking work. For a winter wedding at Lake Tahoe, guests bundled up in down jackets and boots and huddled in the snow. Photographer Aaron Morris of Chrisman Studios says the main challenge, aside from frozen hands, was maneuvering in the snow. "When I would take a step, my leg would sink knee-deep into the snow," he says.
Gallery: Dramatic destination wedding photos – Ridout snapped Toronto couple Jennifer and Thomas on the island of Cayo Guillermo, Cuba. "This was taken after the wedding as we toured the resort looking for locations," says the photographer.
Santorini, Greece – "As a photographer, when a couple is flying you across the world to such a picturesque location as Santorini, Greece, it's imperative to go home with at least one epic photo that shows the stunning backdrop of this ancient white and blue city," says Chrisman. Mauricio Arias of Chrisman Studios posed his subjects and told them to keep interacting while he climbed high enough to capture the beautiful scene.
Montego Bay, Jamaica – While choosing Half-Moon Resort for their wedding, one couple noticed this little hut, actually a massage room for the hotel's spa. "We had a limited amount of time for portraits before the ceremony, so we were rushing around trying to hit all the desired spots," says Chrisman. "This photo captures the dramatic, cloudy sky we had that day."
Todos Santos, Mexico – Todos Santos is a laid-back beach town north of Cabo San Lucas. Despite a late ceremony time, Chrisman was determined to capture a dramatic sunset. "A bit of flash helped illuminate Apollina and Brad, and the light on the side (of the Hacienda Cerritos) balanced nicely with the colors of the sunset," says Chrisman.
Chicago – Taken after the two grooms' ceremony at Chicago's Lincoln Park, one of the grooms -- a wedding photographer himself -- suggested a portrait downtown. With light fading quickly, Chrisman had the newlyweds move higher on the La Salle Street Bridge's support beam so he could keep them in the light. "The main concern was hoping the police didn't come and tell them to get down before the shot was finished," says Chrisman.
Strand Kombuis, South Africa – Photographer Greg Lumley took this shot at a tidal pool in Cape Town after the ceremony and on the way to the reception. "I had chosen this spot specifically because of the dramatic boulders and glass-like pool edging the ocean," says Lumley. "The fact that the 12 Apostles -- part of Table Mountain -- were in the shot turned out to be total bonus, as I'd not noticed them before."
Maidens Cove, Cape Town – "If I have to climb, crawl or swim I will make the effort to shoot from an angle that really emphasizes the drama of the scene," says Greg Lumley. "It's remarkable how often that a little physical effort results in a breathtaking picture." This classic was taken at the Strand Kombuis (Beach Kitchen), about 100 kilometers from Cape Town.
Iceland – Sean McLellan, of husband-and-wife team McLellan Style, worked with a New York couple who chose Iceland for their wedding photographs. The Nashville-based photographer knew of a U.S. Navy plane that had crash-landed in the 1970s. Despite a satellite picture from Google Maps and GPS coordinates, it took the photographer and couple more than three hours to find the plane. "This image was actually taken at close to midnight by the time we were able to get there and get everything set up."
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – About 100 guests flew to Mexico for a wedding at the Blue Bay Grand Esmerelda. On a hunt for something more than the "regular beach image," the McLellan Style team and their newlyweds chose an underwater cave (cenote). "We tried shooting in all sorts of different areas with light coming in from different directions," says McLellan. The prolonged shoot led to this photo, a rushed drive to the airport, a speeding ticket and a missed flight. "But that's OK, it was worth it," says McLellan.
San Diego, California – For this California wedding, newlyweds were photographed on dramatic coastal bluffs. "The rocky path down the cliff in this photo was not the most convenient nor high-heel friendly, but the bride took off her shoes to walk down the cliff," says Bryce Covey of Bryce Covey Photography. "It resulted in one of their and my own favorite photos of the wedding day!"