Navigating the wedding industrial complex can be tricky. That’s why our new series, Lifting the Veil, aims to set the record straight on some common beliefs held by engaged couples. We want you to be an informed consumer and a savvy wedding planner, so without further ado, let the myth busting begin…
One of the first questions I almost always get from brides and grooms-to-be is, “Have you photographed at our venue before?”
Obviously, they’re looking for someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of the venue. Someone who knows exactly where all the best shots will be. Someone who’s friendly with the staff and well-versed in the logistics of the location.
However, photographing the same venue over and over can be a hindrance as well. In any job, doing the same thing repetitively becomes a routine, and routine can make you complacent. Complacency is kryptonite for wedding photographers. If you shoot the same thing over and over, your photographs can begin to feel stale.
Sometimes, the best remedy is a fresh pair of eyes. When Moira and I are hired to shoot a wedding at a venue we’ve never worked in before, we take a road trip to see it in person. We don’t look at photos on the venue’s website or Facebook page. We don’t Google other photographers’ photos of the location to get ideas. We just drive there and walk around and talk about how we want to shoot it. This gives us a fresh perspective. A clean slate. It allows us to come up with our own ideas that will be unique to us and our style.
There’s a great quote by one of my favorite travel writers, Paul Theroux, who speaks of the benefits of solitary travel: “…to see, to examine, to assess, you have to be alone and unencumbered. Other people can mislead you; they crowd your meandering impressions with their own.” The same goes for wedding photography. When we dive into a shoot without any preconceived notions, we’re able to get shots that nobody else would have come up with.
I know what you’re thinking here: “Aren’t there venues you work in regularly?” Well, yes. Yes, there are. But we almost never do the same shot twice, unless it’s specifically requested by the bride and groom. We are constantly generating new ideas, whether it’s for a venue we’ve never photographed or for a venue we’ve shot ten times. Our business model revolves around the fact that our work is different and our personal goal as artists is to be truly unique.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to hire a photographer who’s never worked your venue before. Not by a long shot. I’m simply urging you to not write off these individuals solely for that fact.
If you want to create something unique – something singular to your wedding – and you hire a photographer who shares this ambition, you can’t go wrong either way.