I get this question ALL the time–I blame all of the online bride planning services *cough* The Knot, who tell brides what they “need to ask before booking their photographer” without actually knowing.
“Have you photographed a wedding at my venue before?”
And I know there’s a certain sigh of relief that comes over a bride when she hears “yes!” And I Totally understand! But here are a few reasons why hiring a photographer who has never photographed your venue might be a good idea:
(all of the photos in this post are from weddings I photographed at new-to-me venues!)
1.Photography is all about LIGHT. And the good thing is that light is EVERYWHERE. A seasoned photographer (I’m not talking about spices here😂) will be able to spot the best, most flattering light wherever he/she is and create beautiful and unique imagery.
2. Fresh eyes. Traveling to new places is so inspiring to many photographers(myself included🙋🏻♀️) and keeps them from getting in a creative rut. When I go into a new-to-me venue, I don’t have any preconceived ideas, so I’m able to creatively challenge myself. That means you get unique photos that no one else has!
3. More photos! After photographing the same venue over and over again it’s easy to forget to snap as many detail photos of the venue as I normally would. But when I go to a new venue, I’m photographing every nook and cranny! Trees, walls, landscape, you name it!
Personally, for weddings I book at new-to-me venues, I either take a tour with the venue manager or I plan to meet my couple at the venue so they can show me where everything is going and I can get an idea of locations for the First Look, family photos, and so on. I’m a fast learner and adapt well to new environments, so that’s not an issue for me. Especially since the sun angle changes throughout the ENTIRE year. I’m used to adapting every time I go to ANY venue, no matter how many times I’ve been there.
I think instead of asking “have you photographed my venue before?” Brides should be asking “can I see some weddings where it was your first time photographing the venue?”
Here are some of mine!
So instead of hiring someone because they’re familiar with your venue, think about what photography style you like, what kind of personality goes well with you and your fiancé (i.e. do you want serious editorial photos or photos that capture how joyful you are?), ask how long the your photographer has been photographing weddings specifically, and look at some full wedding galleries from each photographer you inquire with. Asking for a full gallery is not a crazy request! Just be sure to ask it in a trusting way, not a demanding way. A lot of photographers also blog their weddings so you can lurk before inquiring. I regularly keep up with mine, and you can find it here!
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Allison Jeffers is a photographer and educator serving sweet couples and helping other creative entrepreneurs reach their goals. She specializes in wedding photography, elopements, and proposals as well as Bridal and Engagement portraits in Texas. She is available for travel worldwide and has her passport ready!