Is It Important for our Photographer to have worked at our venue before?

For all the years I have been a professional photographer, I have to say, I’ve heard a lot of brides express this fear. Is this something you should be worried about? When it comes down to it, is it important for a wedding photographer to have worked at your venue before? Here are my thoughts as a ten year wedding photographer!

At Water Works by Cescaphe in Philadelphia from the very first time I worked there. Literally obsessed with this image!

Should you worry?

I completely understand that your wedding is a HUGE investment, and more than just dollars attached to it. These photos are what you will be looking at for the rest of your life. They are what you will be passing down through generations. They are what will rekindle romantic moments. You want to look back and be completely grateful for your photos and your photographer. So I understand the thought of your photographer previously working at your wedding venue can give you a sense of security. But is it really?

Here’s my controversial opinion- nope! It doesn’t matter. I’m going to explain to you three reasons why this is totally not a big deal- and honestly why you should feel excited if they haven’t!

My very first time shooting at the Willows in Texas. Some of my most favorite images!

Here’s the Why

If you are hiring a photographer who not only has experience behind them, but has put the time in to really learn their skills, then WHERE you put them is irrelevant. If they’re experienced and skilled then they already have a strategy in their head of what they’re looking for during your day. They know what lighting works best and what doesn’t. This is our job. To know our tools, optimize the light and environment. To not only see the beauty, but create it. Ultimately to see its potential of how the camera sees it. If you trust your photographer, you will trust they will do a beautiful job. Whether they’ve been to your venue 30 times or 0.

A Practical Strategy

Number 2 is something practical that can be done. For me, every wedding that I work, it is my goal to arrive early. But when I have yet to work at a particular venue, my goal is to arrive extra early so as to get a lay of the land. This also allows the creative processes to begin! Because light changes all day long, nothing will be set in stone this early, but in general, taking this time to scout will help me feel more familiar of what is available. This is all part of the detail and preparation I like to give my brides.

From an engagement session, at a spot I have never been to before nor shot at, in a town in Texas I’m not even from!

But even before the day of, you know the first thing I do? It’s called internet venue stalking. The very first thing I do when someone mentions a venue I have yet to visit is to start searching for it! See what it looks like, what other photographers have done there, the vibe, the feel. Immediately I get to know my couples’ weddings better AND I start to get SUPER EXCITED to create something I’ve never had the opportunity to create!


Which leads me to my next point. I’m going to let you in on a little secret every single artist will agree with. We LOVE creating something N-E-W! If you ask your photographer if they are more excited to recreate something they’ve already shot or if they are more excited to create something new… I can almost guarantee you every time, something NEW will win. We THRIVE and jump through the roof when we are excited about this new beautiful piece of artwork that we got to create!

Should this be your deciding factor?

So should you hire your wedding photographer only if they have worked at your venue before? Now only you can decide this! But I will say this with confidence: if you are hiring someone you truly trust- you have nothing to worry about!

And actually you should be excited, your photographer is creating something totally unique and will most likely be obsessed with getting to photograph it! For me personally some of my most FAVORITE images of all time were in places I have never been before! So the real question is: what will you be missing out on by making this the deciding factor for choosing your wedding photographer?

Still looking for your wedding photographer? Lets chat!

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  5. So totally agree with you.
    I love shooting at new venues.
    And get so frustrated when couples think they need someone who has shot at their venue before. 🙂
    Thanks for explaining this for me.

    • Melissa Grissom says:

      Aww, well thank you for taking the time to comment with your appreciation 🙂 I think it’s really based out of fear and nothing they are doing purposely to discourage us as photographers. We just have to reassure them we will rock their day regardless!! I always do due diligence when I haven’t been to a venue before and I am always super excited to shoot somewhere for the first time!!

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