Vrtba Garden — through the Eyes of Photographer

Vrtba Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in Prague. The garden is in a list of UNESCO and its history dates back to the 18th century. From the upper part of the Vrtba Garden is one of the most breathtaking views of the panorama of the typical prague red roofs. From here you can see Prague Castle, the Lesser Town Church of St. Nicholas and many other Prague towers. I have photographed many times in the Vrtba Garden, but the venue can enchant me again and again.

Place nameVrtba Garden (in czech: Vrtbovská zahrada)
AddressKarmelitska 25, 118 00 Praha 1 — Lesser Town
Official websiteOfficial information about marriage
Wedding PhotographerWedding Photographer Petr Dolezal

The entrance to the Vrtba Garden is hidden behind the Vrtba Palace from the point of view of pedestrians. Maybe that’s why a lot of inhabitants of Prague don’t know about the garden at all. What’s more, entrance to the garden is charged. Both of these facts have the advantage that the garden is not overcrowded as other places in Prague centre, you will only meet a smaller number of people.

Rice and other things that make a mess must not be thrown in the garden, so only a bubble blower can be used during wedding.

Photo of kissing couple under dramatic sky, Prague Castle in the background
Wedding photography in the Vrtba Garden offers this beautiful view of the panorama of Prague’s rooftops
Man kissing his girlfriend's forehead with prague roofs in the background
Prague roofs from Vrtbovska garden
Hugging couple on top of Vrtba garden with prague church and roofs in background
Photography in the Vrtba garden
Couple on stairs in Vrtba garden
Vrtbovska Garden, Prague
Couple in Vrtba garden, statue in foreground, Prague Castle in background
Photoshoot among the statues — Vrtba Garden
Kissing couple on bench in Vrtba garden
Photographing of a couple on a bench in the Vrtba Garden

WEDDINGS IN THE Vrtba GARDEN

statue in Vrtba garden
Glasses prepared for a toast after the wedding ceremony in the sala terrena of the Vrtba Garden. Everybody can’t drink it, this statue guards it ;-)
table for wedding ceremony in Vrtba garden
Ceremonial table for a wedding in the Vrtba garden
setup for wedding ceremony in vrtba garden
Wide-angle shot — the wedding ceremony will start in a few moments — Vrtba zahrada
wedding ceremony in sala terrena in vrtba garden
And here I photographed the whole beautiful ceiling of sala terrena (wedding in Vrtba zahrada)

Both civil and church wedding ceremonies take place in the Vrtba Garden venue. Weddings take place in the sala terrena with a capacity of 10 seated people + standing people. Sala terrena is a covered garden hall with an open space, so you can walk out freely. In the case of a wedding in the Vrtba Garden, the open side of the sala terrena appears to the photographer as a more or less side on the left hand side. This means it brings side lighting for the bride and groom and for all wedding guests, with all the advantages and disadvantages associated with side lighting.

scheme of light for wedding ceremony in vrtba garden
Approximate scheme of the light direction during the wedding ceremony in the sala terrena in the Vrtba garden.

In the sala terrena you can easily observe the consequence of a rapid decrease of light intensity with a square of the distance:

  • Of course, the “deeper” a person stands in the sala terrena (the greater the distance from the passage to the garden), the less light falls on him, of course.
  • The fastest decrease in intensity is at the light input, it is the same situation as at the window in a room.

Why am I writing about this? Because the photographer should be well aware of this rule in order to be able to avoid its unpleasant consequences and possibly use it to his advantage. For example, it doesn’t make sense to take pictures of a group of wedding guests inside a sala terrena, where everyone stands sideways towards the garden — because the person closest to the garden would be significantly brighter than the person on the other side next to the wall. If it is not raining, you can take pictures of the wedding guests without any problems under the open sky. If it is raining, or if you want to take advantage of the decorative interior of the Vrtba sala terrena, turn wedding guests faces out to the light, so that the distance from the light is the same for each of them.

If you have to take pictures of two rows of wedding guests, it may happen that the second row will have significantly darker faces than the first row, which is closer to the light. The closer you place people to the garden, the more dramatic the loss of light you can observe, as the light decreases with the square of the distance. For this reason, it may make more sense to place multiple rows of wedding guests “deeper” into the shade, away from the garden, because there will be a noticeably smaller difference in the intensity of light falling on the first and back rows of people. On the other hand, the farther people are from the light, the less light you will have available, and you can start to struggle with the lack of light for proper exposure.

bride and groom during wedding ceremony in vrtba garden
Vrtba Garden — wedding ceremony
wedding ceremony in vrtba garden
Wedding ceremony — Vrtba garden
wedding ceremony photographed from background
Sala terrena — wedding
wedding ceremony and ceiling of sala terrena in vrtba garden
Sala Terrena in the Vrtba Garden
bride and groom hugging in front of a statue in vrtba garden
Vrtba garden — sala terrena
bride and groom in vrtba garden
Another wedding — I return to Vrtba Garden for weddings repeatedly, it is a popular wedding venue

If you are going to photograph a wedding in the sala terrena of the Vrtba Garden in a semi-automatic mode (eg aperture priority mode), you should know how to use exposure compensation. Due to the dark background, it can easily happen that the camera brightens the bride’s light dress, because it will try to lighten the scene to “medium gray”. By correcting the exposure to minus, you can give the camera a hint and to correct the exposure this way.

For example, in the following image, the auto exposure would try to lighten the wall in the background and thus overexposure the most important object of the photo: the bride in a white dress and the groom. By correcting the exposure to negative values, you darken the image so that people are exposed correctly.

bride and groom in front of black backround
Wedding photography in the Vrtba garden

The directional light doesn’t have to be the photographer’s enemy. You can play with it in the same way as with the directional light coming from a window in a room or as with a studio softbox. In the sala terrena you can easily achieve a great contrast of light and shadow, so if you like photos with dramatic light, you will be happy here. Notice how the bride in the following photo is lighted with significantly different light intensities on her left side and right side. The dress and face are almost black on one side and white on the side facing the light.

dramatic side lighting for portraits of bride and groom in vrtba garden
The directional light in the sala terrena in the Vrtba garden works similarly as the light coming from the windows in a room
empty fountain in vrtba garden, sala terrena in background
General view of the sala terrena from a greater distance. Generally there is water in that fountain ;-) Wedding in the Vrtba garden
sala terrena in vrtba garden prepared for wedding
Sala terrena prepared for the wedding ceremony in the Vrtba garden
sala terrena in vrtba garden ready for wedding ceremony
One more angle (Vrtbovska Garden)
Wedding rings for a wedding in the Vrtba garden
entrance gate to vrtba garden area
No, this is not a wedding gate, it is the entrance to the Vrtba Garden complex :-)

Wedding Photography in the Vrtba Garden

The Vrtba Garden offers a myriad of different places for photography, so I don’t think there is a need to describe them. There are fountains, stairs, benches, railings, statues, vegetation-covered walls — you can’t just leave Vrtba garden without a nice photo :-)

In any case, I recommend not to forget to create a photo from above for bride and groom. The Vrtba Garden is located on a terraced terrain with several height levels, so it looks nice when the photographer goes to a higher level and takes pictures from above of the wedding guests standing at a lower level, for example as in the following photo:

groom and bride photographed from top level of vrtba garden
Wedding in the Vrtbovska garden

And then, of course, don’t miss the view at the very top, where it is overcrowded sometimes, but for a reason: the photo from the very top of Vrtba garden is worth it.

 
bride with flower in vrtba garden scenery
The bride and groom in the Vrtbovska garden
kissing couple in vrtba garden with st. nicholas church in background
The roofs of Lesser Town from the Vrtba Garden
bride and groom in front of prague roofs scenery
View from the upper terrace of the Vrtba Garden
groom holding bride in his arms in vrtba garden
Vrtba garden with newlyweds
funny photo of a small boy taking wedding pictures of bride and groom
In case you don’t know what I look like, the little photographer on the right is me :-) No, I am just joking, it is only my camera. In this photo you can see my way how to entertain children while taking pictures of bride & groom. And then it’s an interesting photo, isn’t it? :-)
funny photo of a boy photographing bride and groom in vrtba garden
And here’s a little paparazzo for the second time :-) Wedding in Vrtba garden

Vrtba Garden Reviews

Do you know Vrtba garden? Do you like this wedding venue? Have you ever seen a wedding there? Do you have any interesting ideas for wedding photography in the garden? Let us know in the comments!

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