Something that comes up fairly often when speaking with people planning their wedding is the age old question ‘Have you shot at this venue before?’ I’m fairly sure it’s a staple on any ‘10 things you should ask your wedding photographer’ style lead magnets put out by all the big-wig wedding industry people at least once a year. Needless to say the short answer is pretty simple – but the long answer is probably more valid when looking at who you want to photograph your wedding. If this has come up in your planning read on to find out more about my take on why this does, and perhaps more importantly does NOT, matter as much as you may think.
It all starts with style – I always advise to aim for three things when choosing a photographer; style, budget and personality – there are SO many types of wedding photography and in case you’ve stumbled across this blog without seeing my work somehow, I mainly shoot documentary – this means unposed, undirected simply capturing the day as it unfolds. My clients want personal, relaxed and unique shots that tell the story of their day. I shoot in all different types of venues from dimly lit underground bars in Soho to great big festival style weddings in the glaring sunshine. I LOVE the diversity of the weddings I shoot and familiarity with a location doesn’t even cross my mind when I’m prepping for a shoot. Personal preference aside there is another reason that prior experience at a venue matters less than you might think – weather! As all Londoners know, the weather – and therefore light – can turn in a second here, it could be overcast and grey one minute then blazing sun the next. Sunset ranges from around 4pm in winter through to 9pm in summer – this changes the position of the sun at certain times as well as what time and where you need to rely on additional lighting.
This is where being a documentary photographer really pays off. So with all that experience from all different venues in all different weathers at all different times of year we can really make the most of YOUR wedding day, how it looked on that exact day in that exact place at that exact time. Sure there’s a market for identikit wedding photos where you are guaranteed the same shots as everyone else who got married at your venue but if you’re after something unique this question is really not one you should be too worried about.
Top Image – Waltham Forest Town Hall
Middle Image – Battersea Park Bandstand
Bottom Image – Stoke Newington Town Hall