If you’ve been reading my Bridal Business series over the past few years, you’ll notice I tend to like to discuss answers to questions that could usually be summed up with a simple “yes” or “no”! But, there’s a reason for that! The answers to these questions come from years of learning on the job as a Washington, DC wedding photographer and are things I’ve experienced over and over again…. whereas, clients who asking these questions, are generally doing this for the first time! I simply want to explain the “why” behind the answer so they can gain a little bit of perspective and hopefully feel at ease with the answer!
So this week, I wanted to chat about participating in venue/site visits as a photographer! Honestly, I always feel so grateful when my clients are thoughtful enough to even think to ask about including me! It shows me how much they clearly care about photography and ensuring their photos turn out absolutely perfect! Yet, in spite of this, I do always turn down the offer and… you guess it!… here’s why!
There is so much about photography that revolves around LIGHT. You can take the most beautiful background/room/landscape in the world and if the light is terrible, the photo will be equally as bad. This is why, as photographers, we tend to hold all of our “controlled” sessions (aka not weddings or births) at sunrise or sunset so we are shooting in the best light. That being said, obviously, an entire wedding day cannot take place at sunrise or sunset, so an experienced photographer will know how to work with the available light to take the best photos possible in each setting. Sometimes, that doesn’t mean you get the pretty background at that moment, but trust me, we will come back to that spot at sunset!
Alright, Alicia, what’s this have to do with a venue visit, you ask? Well, the purpose behind having a photographer along for a venue visit is so that they can identify portrait locations for the wedding day… but here’s the thing! The light will NEVER be exactly as it is on your wedding day! It’s constantly changing based on the weather and time of year, so from a photographer’s perspective, the best time to select portrait locations is actually on the day of your wedding! A professional photographer comes equipped to handle whatever light is thrown at them that day and to ensure I’m fully focused on shooting when my contracted start time rolls around, I like to arrive 30-60 minutes early to walk the property. This is my version of a “venue tour” and I’ve found it to be very beneficial based on past experience!