What if I’ve Never Shot at Your Venue?

When I'm talking to a new couple, one of the most frequent questions I'm asked is "Have you been to our venue before?" While I do understand the thought process behind the question, I've been wanting to write a post for a while now about what if I've never shot at your venue before and why it doesn't matter.

Just in Kansas City, not counting suburbs, there are more than 100 wedding venues. If you go farther out and count all the venues within a two-hour radius, I'd guess there are probably more than 500 wedding venues. Having shot more than 200 weddings, I've been to a lot of venues but haven't even touched the surface of all the amazing locations Kansas City has to offer.

Pavilion Event Space wedding reception in Kansas City

Here are 3 reasons why it doesn't matter if your photographer has shot at your wedding venue before!

1. Most venues are fairly similar

If we're talking about the average venue, they probably have light, walls, and a ceiling. Any experienced photographer will know how to create beautiful images in any venue. When we're training in wedding photography, the most important thing to look for is light. Whether it's natural or artificial, if your photographer knows how to work with light, they will know how to work in your venue.

Timber Creek event center wedding reception

2. Creativity stems from our first wedding

Let me tell you a story about a recent wedding of mine in a venue I have shot in close to a dozen times. I absolutely love this venue, but because I've been there so much, I'm set in my ways with how I go about getting certain shots. I know where to get the best sunset on the property and know where I station the couple for all the main events. At this wedding, I was having the couple cut the cake and my second shooter suggested I turn them around so the chandeliers will be in the background. I had honestly never thought of that before, but she was totally right. At my first wedding in this venue four years ago, the couple cut their cake in a certain way so I went with it. It never occurred to me that there may be a better way.

This isn't to say it's better to hire a photographer who has never shot at the venue, but we are our most creative when we are walking into a new and untouched space.

Excello Missouri wedding reception

3. We do our research

If I haven't shot at a venue before, I research like crazy. I look at past blogs from other photographers, Google map-stalk it and do a deep social media dive. Without having physically been to the venue before, I can tell you there's not a corner I'm unaware of. Often I'm asked to check out a venue in advance, but most of the time that isn't necessary. I've never once had any issues adjusting from their online presence to what I actually see on the wedding day. Plus, there is a big difference between seeing a bare venue on a walk-through vs seeing it all dolled up on a wedding day. So, visiting the venue in advance is never actually necessary.

Backwoods Venue 222 wedding reception

To conclude, it's never necessary to hire a photographer based on if they have shot at your venue before. Instead of asking this question, ask to see a gallery from a similar venue. If your venue has dark walls, ask to see another venue with dark walls. If you are getting married outside with a lake behind you, ask to see a wedding ceremony at a property with a lake. When you hire an experienced wedding photographer, the venue is only a small part of the overall equation.

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Elizabeth is a Kansas City wedding photographer who specializes in bright and airy images.

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