Sassafras Springs Vineyard wedding venue

5 Ways Venues Affect Your Wedding Photos

For most brides, there is a logical order of planning things for your wedding. Occasionally people will do things backwards, but usually the first thing to be picked is the wedding venue. I’ve heard of venues being booked up over a year out, so this is definitely a smart move. The real issue, though, is that your venue can impact everything else about your wedding, especially your photography. Most brides don’t stop to think about this because they aren’t photographers. So, to help out, I’ve put together 5 Ways Venues Affect Your Wedding Photos, so you can take a look a deeper look at your venue before booking.

5 Ways Venues Affect Your Wedding Photos

For those of you that don’t want to read it all, here’s the 5 main points or you can watch the video if your a video watching type of person. All options are good as long as it helps you and your wedding.

  1. Backgrounds
  2. Space
  3. Lighting
  4. house rules
  5. The Staff

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1. The Background for Photos

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to edit ugly stuff out of a background. Today I was editing a wedding and in half of the reception photos there was an ugly, bright red exit sign. I’m not saying the venue shouldn’t have them because they have to follow rules and keep people safe, but it definitely was annoying.


Most brides will choose a venue because of its natural beauty. This makes sense and I love working in venues that have a lot to work with. When choosing a venue, you have to think, what kind of backgrounds do I want? If you want greenery, then you have to pick a place with some kind of plant life. If you’re more into a modern look, then you need structures and buildings. This is pretty simple stuff, but it’s still something to consider.

I will say that great photographers can make great photos in any situation. If you’re creative enough, you can turn the ugliest room into something beautiful. It is possible, but it is also a lot easier when everything is already beautiful.

2. How much Space does the Venue have?

Imagine trying to get ready in a normal size bathroom with 3 other people. Now, imagine adding the photographer into that mess! You need space, and the amount of space is going to affect your wedding photos.

The amount of space is important in lots of different situations. You need space for getting ready photos, the ceremony, the reception, and also outside. It is very difficult to pull off great photos if you are squished into a corner or can only stand in one spot. There have been times at a ceremony where the church was so crowded, I literally had to squish in beside someone. It made my job pretty difficult.

Sassafras Springs Vineyard wedding venue

When looking at wedding venues, see all of the areas you will be using. Imagine doing all the things you would do in that area and how many people would be there. Then imagine if the photographer would be able to freely move around and capture it all. If not, you might miss out on some shots.

3. Lighting

So if your wedding venue has some cool backgrounds and plenty of space, you’re off to a good start. One thing that can really make things difficult, though, is bad lighting. This could be a lack of light, strange colored light, or maybe uneven lighting.

In most situations where there is bad lighting, it tends to be the lack of light. A lot of venues will be kind of dark to set the mood, but this makes taking photos difficult. We need light to make a photo. Often to fix this, photographers will use flash and make their own light. This works in most situations but if the venue has tall or black ceilings or a lot of dark wood, using flash is difficult.

bridal portrait in bridal suite at the Ravington

Big windows is always nice, but I’d also take light from bulbs as long as it’s relatively even and lights up the room. With all of that said, like I’ve said with the other situation, a good photographer can get past the bad lighting, but it requires more work.

4. House Rules

I am a rule follow, always have been. The thought of getting in trouble makes me sick, so if someone tells me I can’t do something at a wedding, I won’t do it. Rules are there for a reason, and I don’t want anyone getting hurt or the venue getting burned down, but some venues have way too many rules and are too restrictive.

I love churches, but lately they have made photographing ceremonies hard. Churches tend to have the most rules. They want the ceremony to be a special event, and I get this, but they will often handicap the photographer. It’s common for churches to not allow flash or to limit where the photographer can be. I’ve even heard of churches limiting the amount of photos that can be taken to under 10! This makes it almost impossible to deliver anything special.

glow stick exit at the Barn at the Springs

Other venues can have rules as well. Some limit where you can take photos on the grounds. Others will make you follow their timelines. Lately a few have been limiting the type of exits the couples do.

Please make sure you talk to your venue about their rules. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the venue is if you can’t get any good photos because of the rules.

5. The Staff

A business is only as good as the employees. It doesn’t matter how good your product is if your employees are always screwing things up. A venue can be great but bad employees can ruin a wedding day.

I won’t name names, but several years back, there was a wedding venue know for having a mean old lady running it. I even witness her make a bride cry once during the rehearsal. As you can imagine, she didn’t make my life easy.

First Dance at the Ravington in Black and white

On the other hand, there are plenty of places where the employees will bend over backwards for everyone. I’ve had them offer to help carrying equipment, adjust lighting, and even bring me a bottle of water. I love working on those places because I know we are on the same side, and they will do whatever they can to make my life easier.


I know those were a lot of things you might not have considered when picking a wedding venue, but honestly, all of that will affect your wedding photos and plenty of other things. Bad employees and lack of space don’t just ruin photos, they affect everyone. Picking your wedding venue is the first thing you’ll be doing and an important task. Please take into consideration the 5 Ways Venues Affect Your Wedding Photos before booking. If you’re looking around Fayetteville, check out our list of Top NWA wedding venues.

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