Prior shooting experience at a venue is a huge concern for couples when hiring a wedding photographer. However, they're unknowingly missing a very important detail to consider when hiring the right photographer for their big day.
Rather than asking if a photographer has captured a wedding at a venue before, couples need to take into consideration the timing of their event and what the lighting conditions will be like. Weddings at the same venue may be photographed very differently depending on the time of day and whether they are held indoors or outside. A photographer that has shot at your venue outdoors with natural light may capture images at your wedding very differently if it's held indoors or later in the day.
What you should ask to learn how the photographer will approach your wedding?
"Have you photographed a venue that is similar to ours with the same lighting conditions we're expecting to have?"
This allows you to view settings and samples that are similar to your venue (e.g., chapel, ballroom, barn, etc.) in similar lighting conditions. Viewing these photos gives you a look at what YOUR wedding photos could look like, not what your venue looked like in a different situation.
Take a look at these photos from Diana and Preston's Carnation Tree Farm wedding. The ceremony was held outside, while other events took place in a poorly lit barn loft. Had we only taken photos outside, a couple inquiring about my experience at this venue would not know if I was capable of working in the indoor space.
I want you to be confident with the photographer you've chosen, so be sure to ask about your photographer's experience in different lighting situations, rather than only valuing if they've photographed your venue before.
Of course, if your photographer hasn’t photographed your venue before, he or she will be sure to do plenty of research and location scouting before your wedding day. There is a great thrill in photographing a new place! For me personally, I feel like a kid on Christmas when I see all the new settings I’ll get to work with, and I'm always giddy for these shoots.
Have any venue or lighting questions for me? Let me know in the comments!