5 Reasons Why It Doesn’t Matter If Your Photographer Has Worked at Your Venue Before
I get it. Choosing the right wedding photographer can be scary! There are dozens of sites with tips on how to choose the right one, often accompanied by a list of interview questions. Many of their suggestions are great and similar to my own Wedding Photographer Interview Questions, but I wanted to talk a bit about this question: Have you shot at our venue before?
I can see why this question comes up from time to time. You want to make sure your photographer is prepared for your venue’s specific lighting, location challenges, and best spots for pictures. And while that makes perfect sense, just because a photographer has worked at the venue before doesn’t mean that his experience means he’s more qualified than a photographer who hasn’t been there before. Eliminating a photographer just because they haven’t worked at your venue before may severely limit your choices and lead you to a someone who isn’t the best fit for you.
Your decision to hire a specific photographer should be based on your personal connection and quality of their work.
If your photographer has photographed dozens or even hundreds of weddings at your venue, but for some reason you just don’t feel like you have a strong connection with him, it might be worth talking to a few others. Most couples spend more time with their photographer than any other vendor on their wedding day, and if you aren’t comfortable or really enjoy working with them, it will definitely show in the photos they take for you.
Just because your photographer hasn’t worked at your specific venue doesn’t mean that they haven’t worked at hundreds like it.
I’ve photographed hundreds weddings in several US states as well as overseas over the past 15 years. While I’ve done a lot of weddings at the most popular venues, there are always a handful each year that are new to me. If a photographer has worked at a wide variety of venues, chances are they are prepared for any location challenges that might arise. In fact, I often feel like I’m more prepared for any situation since I’ve seen so many different things!
Venues look different depending on time of year, time of day and weather conditions.
This is especially true if your venue has outdoor spaces you plan to use. Garden settings look completely different in May than they do in October. If it rains, are there covered areas to take advantage of? What if you plan to have a candlelit ceremony after dark? What if the sun is blinding everyone in that location you thought you wanted to use? Your photographer will be making decisions based on the lighting on your wedding day to ensure you get the best possible locations & lighting for your photos.
Sometimes being a fresh face at a venue can bring fresh ideas and images.
Most venues do have some particularly beautiful spots that aren’t to be missed. But every photographer has a slightly different eye and vision for what they want to create for their clients. This could be based on the photographer’s style, but it can also be based on how well the photographer “gets” you. Remember that personal connection I mentioned earlier? The best photographers will take beautiful wedding photos that showcase your personalities. Having a fresh perspective at a venue can give you photographs that are unique to you & your wedding and not just duplicates of every other couple’s wedding there.
If you have a particularly challenging venue, or if you feel really strongly about your photographer seeing it before your wedding day, ask for a site visit.
If you still feel like it’s important for your photographer to see your venue before your wedding day, just ask! Any time I work at a new venue, I usually arrive on-site at least 30 minutes prior to our start time to check it out in the exact weather & lighting conditions, but if you feel like a walkthrough together would be beneficial I’m happy to oblige! I want to make sure that your wedding day photography is one thing you don’t have to worry about, so I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure you feel confident.
Hopefully you now see why you shouldn’t automatically discount a photographer you love just because they haven’t been to your venue before. I can shoot at the same venue for years, and every wedding will always a little bit different!
So what questions SHOULD you be asking your wedding photographer? Read my article on Wedding Photographer Interview Questions for more advice & help.