“Have You Photographed at My Wedding Venue?” It doesn’t matter. | The Weducation Series

photographed at wedding venue not important question experienced wedding photographers seattle and snohomish weddings

There are hundreds of wedding venues in our local area.

The average wedding photographer does between 10 and 24 weddings per year. Mathematically, the odds are very, very low that they’ve worked at your wedding venue.

So why does everyone think this is such an important question to ask?

Popular wedding websites … oh my.

While I can agree that they have some value (like when they help you check your vendors reviews), I feel like more often than not, they’re steering couples in the wrong direction and have no idea what they’re talking about (especially if the article’s author isn’t super familiar with the particular topic, like most aren’t with photography).

This is one of those “please don’t follow this advice” moments. I know that every website out there is telling you this is an important question to ask, but they’re wrong.

When we are photographing your wedding, we are there to tell your love story – not the story of your venue. A wedding venue is just, well, a venue. How we photograph YOU is what matters.

And surprise: your wedding venue looks different EVERY SINGLE DAY, because of light. The light is never the same – and that’s really what this question is all about. You’re asking the photographer you’re considering if they understand light and have the proper experience and gear for any possible lighting situation.

wedding venue indoors with ocf lighting experienced wedding photographers

Some better questions to ask:

* How many weddings have you photographed? (we list our count – although not always current due to schedule – on the front page of our website).
An experienced photographer won’t have any issues no matter what the venue throws their way. They both understand light, and have their own lighting gear. The more weddings someone has done, the better – usually. That being said, we also know some INCREDIBLY talented new photographers that have only done a wedding or three.

* Have you photographed a wedding venue similar to mine?
The only time this is really helpful if you have a specific type of venue (castle, manor, garden) and want to see what they’ve created in a similar space before. Again, a wedding venue is just a venue, and it’s going to look different on your day than it did on anyone else’s.

* How would you describe your relationship with most of the wedding vendors and venues you’ve worked with? Do you have any references? (spoiler – several venues and vendors have reviewed us on Facebook, Google, and WeddingWire).

* Are you on any wedding venues’ preferred vendor list? Do you pay to be on that list? (legally that must be disclosed – and no, we personally do not pay to be on any preferred lists, though we are on several for both venues and vendors).

* What is your plan for finding good places for photos at our wedding venue and using our time effectively?
An experienced photographer will not usually need to do a venue walkthrough before your wedding day – we normally arrive a touch early and scout the grounds. We, specifically, are VERY efficient with portrait time on your wedding day, and this allows us to create a plan and assess lighting (we have an app we use to determine light direction at specific times of day).

* How do you get to know your couples love stories before their wedding day?
Personalizing your wedding day and images is what you’re looking for in a photographer – not cookie cutter poses they’ve done 50 times in the same spot. This is when it pays off that a photographer hasn’t worked at your wedding venue before – fresh eyes means fresh creativity. Your photographer should have a plan to get to know you, and be able to communicate how they do that and then translate it into their photographs.

Often, we discuss this at your engagement session, but if there is no engagement session then this is where the questionnaire we send close to your wedding day becomes super important. We are also great observers on your wedding day and are able to read personalities very quickly.

* (If your venue is dark/low light) Do you have the necessary lighting and tools to photograph in dark spaces well? Can I see examples?
An experienced photographer should bring their own lighting to every wedding, because lighting can change in an instant, and that allows us to maintain the same level of quality of photographs no matter what.

We personally not only have tons of examples in our gallery, but also in our featured weddings on our homepage. Whether you’re in the great outdoors, inside a beautiful barn, a stately manor, charming castle or even under a tent we have the knowledge to make your photos amazing.

* Do you have backup gear with you on my wedding day? Is it the same quality equipment as your main gear?
A wedding photographer of any experience level absolutely MUST have backup gear and photograph on a card with dual memory cards (this means that your photos are being backed up immediately in a second location as they’re being taken). If they don’t have either, you’re taking a huge risk in hiring them.

We have multiple backup camera bodies on site that are at a similar quality level as our main gear, and our cameras have dual memory cards.

* What is the most difficult situation you’ve had at a wedding venue? How did you manage it?
This can be a very telling question. Make sure to listen for any red flags (things like miscommunication with a venue owner, etc).

Now you’re ready for your consultation call or meeting with potential photographers, and armed with at least a few alternative questions that are more important than “Have you photographed at my wedding venue before?”

Kate and Josh

Kate and Josh

GSquared Weddings is a husband and wife photography team (Kate and Josh) specializing in weddings and couples in the Pacific Northwest and Big Sky Country. We have an artistic style and fearless approach to wedding photography and are obsessed with love. We are based in the sweetheart town of Snohomish, WA, but we travel far and wide to create visual love stories for the amazing and beautiful characters that hire us as their authors. We would love to create for you, but first let’s start with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

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