On the long-winded list of to-dos for your big day, you will be appreciative of every single thing you get to check-off as "done." After all, no one said planning a wedding would be easy, they just said it would be worth it! While the bigger, more important action item on your list is choosing your photographer, there are a few bullet point to-dos that fall under that category itself. One of those is meeting with said photographer to go over your preferences and style, and another is talking about your venue and the list of other vendors. It's important that your photographer not only knows what your venue looks like, but also knows his or her way around it and any important areas nearby. But can this important discussion happen over a meeting at his or her office or a coffee shop, or should you and your pro walk through the ceremony and reception spaces together?
The decision is really up to you and your photographer.
It depends on his or her work style and whether or not he or she already knows his or her way around your venue and location. Joanna Moss, wedding photographer and owner of Joanna Moss Photographer in Vancouver, will do a site visit on her own to scout portrait locations if she hasn't been to a certain venue in the last three months. This gives her a good idea of where she's going to bring her couples and bridal parties for their photos and alerts her to any changes in design or construction. "I did one site visit this year with a couple and this was because I knew the venue had completely renovated their ceremony location and I wanted to see the changes," she says.
As a destination fine art photographer, Judy Pak, wedding photographer and founder of Judy Pak Studio, does a walk-through with her team of photographers whenever possible. "While traveling around the world, we've worked at a variety of venues—every one uniquely special in its own right," she says. "Whether it's a familiar venue or a completely new property, it's important that we as photographers spend time in the space without the distractions that come along with the wedding day."
What goes down during a venue walk-through?
"As a professional, your photographer will look at the space with a discerning eye so that your photos reflect their entire celebration, not just the traditional scenes," says Pak. "Then, we're able to capture stolen moments between two, sentimental family scenes, and candid joy." She encourages other photographers to explore and take time to identify areas that they're naturally drawn to artistically. "Those will be the spots that you'll most look forward to relieving through your wedding photos," she adds.
If you can't coordinate a walk-through with your photographer, what are your other options?
Modern day technology is a beautiful gift for couples marrying today, notes Pak. "Skype and video chat has made it possible to show your photographer or planner the ins and outs of a venue if an on-site visit is not possible." You should still make time to have a conversation with your photographer and discuss all the important details including the wedding timeline, desired locations you'd like your photographer to shoot, and any specific photos that hold meaning for you.