Bride Vs Groom » Wedding Experiences & Guidance for the Bride & Groom

Masthead header

dom the tog bride finalone2One question we photographers are commonly asked by couples either before or after booking is this: “Have you worked at our venue before” or “Do you do a site visit to the venue before the day to look for good places to take photos?”

It may surprise some readers to learn that, for us at least, we always hope beyond hope that the answer to the first question is that no we’ve never been there before and can categorically say that no is always the answer to the second.

On the face of it this seems admittedly bizarre. Surely if it’s a venue that you’ve worked in before then you already know from experience what is and isn’t going to work, and if you have never visited before then it seems obvious that you would want to go and have a look so that you have plenty of ideas going into the day. Some photographers would certainly subscribe to both of those theories and every photographer works differently, but for me (and most other photographers we’ve spoken to lately) knowing the venue in advance of the day is at best an irrelevance and at worst a hindrance.

Now don’t get me wrong, I always make sure I have plenty of time on the day of the wedding itself to take a quick look around the venue and make sure I know where everything is, but beyond that it is not really the nooks and crannies of the venue that will define what’s going to make a good photo, it’s you: the bride and groom, your guests, and the available light in that exact place in that exact moment which no-one can predict ahead of time. Even what appears to be the most incredible of settings may look bland if it’s overcast and shadowy whilst, under the right light, the simplest of backgrounds can become something extraordinary. There’s literally no telling what will work until you’re there in the moment, and it’s not just the light that will affect the photographer’s decisions at that time.Bresson Quote

The photographer needs to know what you look like dressed up in your wedding outfits before choosing how to place you. They need to know how you interact, whether you’re elegant and regal or fun and easy-going, whether you’re a smiley, cheeky couple or cool and debonair. They need to see the emotion in your eyes, they need to match you with your surroundings. There are 1000 things that might turn a photograph from a nice but plain portrait to an extraordinary image from the way you smile to that bird that happened to fly overhead at just the right moment and the fact that you visited the venue a year before doesn’t even make the list. The best photography is spontaneous; as Henri Cartier-Bresson once said it’s about capturing the “Decisive Moment” and that moment can never be anticipated more than a few seconds before it happens.

For these very reasons knowing a venue too well can actually be disastrous. The fact that you’ve tried a shot in one location before and found it didn’t work is likely to mean you won’t even bother checking it the next time and that can be a fatal mistake. A shift of light or a different position might turn something terrible into something amazing and for me I’d rather have that freedom to let my imagination run wild than be restricted by the memories of what I’ve tried before. Every wedding and every couple is completely different, entirely unique and whilst we of course rightly learn from our past mistakes, we as photographers should never allow them to hold us back from taking a chance or find ourselves producing carbon copies of shots that “worked the last time. “

So worry not whether your photographer has visited your venue once, twice or never before, think only whether you connect with their images. On a wedding day YOU are the photograph right there, in that place in that moment, and no amount of scouting can ever prepare you for just how powerful, just how emotional that moment and that image is going to be. Live in the moment, enjoy your day and let your photographer worry about the rest.

Share Button
  • Jaye Cole | Tux & Tales Photography - December 4, 2014 - 10:48 am

    Hear hear!

    I often find that couples who ask for a venue visit don’t fully understand the spontaneous nature of light & creativity. Good photographs capture a moment – not manufacture one. We never know where the light will be or when the moment will happen – until it does. A good photographer just has to be fully ready for when it happens.

    Personally, I prefer not to work too often at the same venue and I really love when I get the opportunity to work at a new venue. It is easy when you go to the same venue over and over to get ‘stale’ or feel mental echos of weddings gone past. Every wedding I want to feel like it is the ‘first time’ and I am seeing the people, the place, etc. with new eyes.

    As a side note, I often find that photographers who sell themselves based on a venue visit (or previous work at a venue) are selling on an appearance of value rather than actual value. Given that light in any venue will change even within minutes on the same day (with a sunny/cloudy day it could even be seconds) visiting a venue even the day before is nearly worthless. The greatest value this generally has for the photographer is an opportunity to hobnob with the venue staff, chat, network, etc. But no real value to the couple.

    When people have asked me if I do venue visits this is what I say –

    “If I can’t walk into a room and tell you the best light and location for a photo within 15 seconds I have no business charging you money because I would not be a professional photographer. ”

    And I mean that 100%gReplyCancel

back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend


Well we’ve already opened several doors on the advent calendar and, as todays image was a Christmas Tree we thought we’d share ours! Ok technically there’s two but the fibre optic one’s much smaller than it looks… honest! Anyway as you can tell we really are a little Christmas crazy here at BvG and we’re looking forward to sharing some more of our Christmas adventures in the coming weeks!:)

Share Button
back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend

Today we’d like to share a few fascinating statistics about UK marriage trends researched by the good folk over at  The Wedding Secretfull of interesting little nuggets of information including an apparent correlation between Margaret Thatcher’s election and a steady decline in the number of weddings taking place! Who knew?! Anyway, we’ll let you mull over the rest of the information in here and see if we can figure out where the wonderful world of weddings will be heading in 2015 and beyond!


Share Button
back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend

matt-avatar WhitenedLast week I published a rather grumpy post about how we should all stop getting so excited because it wasn’t quite Christmas yet. Well guess what? IT ACTUALLY IS CHRISTMAS TIME NOW!!! You can open that first door on the advent calendar and everything!! Let the Sleigh bells ring, Jingle or whatever other varied sounds bells seem to make in the carols, raise that tree and start rockin’ around it and stop whatever you’re doing right now and build yourself a snowman. No, no excuses, just build one. No, I don’t care what the weather’s like I want to see Snowmen in every front garden right now because that’s what we do at Christmas time!

I will however allow you to forgo one Christmas song based demand, at least for the time being, as it’s always struck me as an odd combo: Mistletoe and Wine.

Now as separate entities both are certainly fine Christmas traditions. Mistletoe makes a lovely decoration and I daresay most of us will partake in a little (BIG) glass of mulled wine to celebrate the festive season. I am however slightly concerned about mixing the two as this combo seems to be in danger of either encouraging everyone to get drunk and kiss everyone in sight which seems to have potential for a vast array of arrests, or for mixing the two into some kind of cocktail which, given certain forms of mistletoe’s well known toxicity also seems likely to end up to being lonely this Christmas in a less than festive jail cell.

But I digress. The point is that, after more than a month of me bah humbugging my way through Christmas beginning too early, it’s finally time to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, and to help you get into the Christmas spirit here’s a little family video we made a while back that always gets us into the festive spirit!

The countdown to Christmas day has begun!

Share Button
back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend


Today’s story frame is definitely one of our favourite recent images from probably the craziest type of dance floor there is: a Jewish Wedding reception! This shot captures the moment our Groom Hernan jumped fearlessly onto the waiting hands of all the fellas at the reception and crowd surfed along the line in a simple game with the aim of getting from one side to the other. We’re pleased to say that unlike many of the groomsmen, Hernan was completely successful! SO much fun!
Share Button
back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend


Share Button
back to topcontact bride vs groomtweet this postshare on facebookemail post to friend