You have that shiny new ring on your finger, you dove headfirst into planning, and are figuring out just how many details you’ll be responsible for ironing out. So many wedding planning articles go over those initial vendors you should reach out to and what to ask, but most don’t go into the nitty-gritty details that come later in the planning process. You want to make the right decisions so your day can be relaxing and stress-free. Having a team of the right people to do the job is a must!
As a wedding photographer, there is a set of questions I get from most couples who inquiry about working with me. Other than collections, there is one that comes up frequently:
“Have you worked at our wedding venue before?”
On the surface, this seems like a question that should definitely be asked. There is a sense of relief that comes when knowing your photographer has had experience at your venue before! But if there’s one thing I want to express as a wedding photographer, is that your decision to hire someone shouldn’t be based on this answer alone. Here are some of the top reasons why it doesn’t matter if your photographer has worked at your venue before.
1. Quality of work
When you stick to finding only vendors that have worked at your venue before, you’re limiting your options. Base your decision instead on the quality of their work. Ask to see full galleries of weddings a photographer has done in the past. This will show you their natural light work but also how well they do using flash! Ask them their approach to preparing and shooting wedding days. It’s a good way to learn early how they’re going to support you throughout the planning and how they’ll direct things the day of the wedding. My brides get a ton of wedding planning emails and questionnaires to ensure we have every detail ironed out beforehand and nothing is left to figure out in the moment!
2. You Want Your Personalities To Match
A photographer could have shot 100 weddings at your venue but if your personalities don’t match, it’s going to be rough. Your photographer should feel like a friend there to celebrate the best day of your life! Laughing, joking, crying, carrying your dress, fluffing your veil, making sure you always have a drink…a bonus person to make you feel love and supported. Not someone there to simply finish a transaction with you. I believe how you connect with a vendor is the number 1 thing to pay attention to when hiring one!
3. A professional is trained to find the best lighting and locations
This is the bread and butter for me as a professional. I’m trained to watch light and have the knowledge to adapt to it in any kind of situation. I’m going to choose the best light over a pretty location each and every time! It’s the most important thing to me!! I also like to give my couples a reason why I may pass up a pretty background they love in favor of the glowy, dreamy light I see in a different spot. And chances are the explanation comes with a backup plan to circle back to that favorite spot for some quick photos when the lighting is just right!
4. Venues Look Different Throughout The Year
Venues are not just placeholders you get to plug yourself into from that dreamy photo you saw of it and voila – the perfect lighting every time! The lighting and look of a venue change throughout the year depending on the season, time of day, and the weather. Especially here in the Midwest where we experience all four of the seasons. Sometimes all in the same day! 🤣 I arrive at every wedding, even venues I’ve photographed before, to see what the light is doing and how I can utilize the space best depending on the conditions. To go into a wedding depending on the spots I’ve photographed at a venue before can be a disaster in the making!
5. New Venues Get My Creative Juices Going
Shooting at a venue I’ve never been to before is exciting to me! I’m a planner to the extreme, so chances are I’ve done a whole lot of online research of a venue long before arriving on a wedding day. I come with my own list of spots I want to scope out, that way before I even start shooting I have a game plan for locations we can use throughout the day for different moments. That way I can give variety to your images instead of sticking to just one spot or setting for somewhere I know the lighting isn’t right. It pushes me to get creative so your images don’t look cookie cutter! I also like to get to a wedding early and do this because there’s nothing worse than scouting a location with a wedding party or family members watching. They’re all watching and asking where they’re supposed to go for photos when I haven’t decided. 😅