When I meet with potential wedding clients, this question usually comes up at some point during our time together. I am always honest about whether or not I've photographed a wedding at a specific venue. However, in my mind I'm thinking, "You know...it doesn't really matter."
As a professional wedding photographer, I'm very aware that every wedding blog, magazine, Instagram page and Pinterest post puts this question on their list of "20 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer." Honestly? Can I be totally honest with those of you reading this? I think it's a totally silly reason to not book a wedding photographer. Just because I may not have shot at your wedding venue doesn't make someone else better or more qualified than me. Hang with me on this concept for a few more minutes...don't get frustrated...I have a point to make...
My job as a professional wedding photographer is to work with light. That's basically it. Yes, having great gear and knowing how to use it matters too, but at the end of the day, it's the light & understanding how to use it that dictates the way my final images look.
The amazing thing about light is that it's everywhere! It's at the venue I've shot at 6 times and at the venue I've never been to until the day of your wedding (or maybe the day of your rehearsal) So, whether or not I've shot at a particular venue really doens't matter. If there is good light, I will find it. That's my job. That is why you are hiring me.
I often put an interesting spin on this question, "Have you shot at my wedding venue before?" when it's asked. Think about this: Most photographers and creative people love to travel to new & exciting locations. A new winery? Yes! A mountaintop? Yes, please! A country club with an amazing oak tree perfectly lit at sunset? OMG! Yes! If a photographer is always shooting at the same venue, it's easy for them to fall into a rut creatively. Maybe I've been to this venue a dozen times & shot in front of the same barn and same field for what feels like a million times. Yawn! (not that I don't love a good barn & field photo...I do...please don't get mad at me if you have booked those locations!) However, going to a new location, with fresh eyes & excitement, can often times lead to the best wedding images! If I've never seen a particular locations in real life, I probably also havent seen the other 287 blog posts featuring the location. I see your venue through fresh eyes, like a kid on Christmas morning, seeing her presents & going, "Wow!"
So, have I shot at your wedding venue before? Maybe. Maybe not. And you know what? Who cares? The more important thing I want my potential clients to ask is whether or not they like my photography. Yes? Great! Am I available on your wedding day? Yes? Fantastic! Can you afford my pricing? Yes? Woohoo! And the biggest one...do you like me as a person? (gulp!) This one actually freaks me out more than the others. I'm always hopeful that the answer is yes but I do realize that sometimes personalities don't mesh well for whatever reason. If that's the case, please be gentle with me when you inform me that I'm not your choice. However....assuming the answer to those above questions is "Yes!" then let me be your wedding photographer! We really will have an amazing time together & your wedding photos will bring a tear to your eye...I promise.
Guess what? All of the images featured in this blog post were shot at locations that I had never been to until that day. The light was there & I found it. Magical!