magazine | Weddings | Tips + Advice

16 Ways to Make Your Venue the Most Picture Perfect Version of Itself

Every venue owner wants to portray their space in the best possible light, right? There are countless beautiful and unique venues out there so why is it so hard to find a gorgeous venue when searching online? Photos. Or lack thereof. It may seem like a daunting task to get Instagram perfect images of your venue on your own, so we teamed up with some of our favorite wedding photographers to break down what makes a good venue photo and how to set your venue up for photo success.

From rethinking how your venue is laid out to the basics of working with a professional photographer, here are 16 tips on making your venue picture-perfect.
Photo: Vanessa Hicks
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Have Professional Venue Images

“I think one of the most important things that venues can do is to have current professional images of their grounds, especially if you are in a destination market. Hiring a photographer each season to capture your grounds does several things. It gives you content and current images per season (such as showing off your Christmas decorations, what the grounds look like in the fall, etc.). Being a destination wedding photographer, I have found that a lot of our couples do not get to tour the venue before their wedding day, and then when they arrive, they notice that the images that they seen online, the grounds on the day of their wedding is completely different! Having updated images year round will help prevent that!” - Vanessa Hicks, Vanessa Hicks Photography
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What to Look for in a Photographer: Skill

"Photography is a very intimate art form. Whether you are finding a photographer for your wedding, or for your business, you are letting someone in and asking them to see your vision and photograph in their light. I always stick to three key elements when searching for a photographer. First up is, skill. Do some research with the type of shoot you are wanting, and what equipment may be necessary. Next, do your research on the photographer. There are MANY great photographers out there and a lot of different ways to ensure that they are qualified. I would ask to see a full gallery of a similar project. What makes a good photograph? It all depends on the imagery you need. Ultimately, you want a gallery that is well rounded with everything from the little details to the wide spaces that your venue features." - Angelica Valiton, Angelica Marie Photography
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What to Look for in a Photographer: Personality

"Secondly, what is the personality like? I think we can all agree on the fact that we like to have fun while we work. I believe that personality is one of the most important things a photographer can bring to the table. You want someone who will roll with the punches, and do everything they can to bring your vision to life. Make sure to find someone who you can jive with and just have fun with." - Angelica Valiton, Angelica Marie Photography
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What to Look for in a Photographer: Style

"Lastly, their style. The photographer's style and your vision need to go hand in hand. You may want a refreshing, clean and minimal feel to your brand but have a dark, moody and bold photographer. The images will not represent your venue in the light you would like. This goes back into looking at their gallery and noticing how the images are edited, how the shots are composed, and the overall mood/feel the images are giving off.” - Angelica Valiton, Angelica Marie Photography
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Show Examples of Real Weddings

"Have photos available from a beautiful wedding or styled shoot so that clients can see how a wedding would be set up, the spots for pretty photos, and how much fun their guests will have." - Jenny Quicksall, Jenny Quicksall Photography
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Host a Styled Shoot

"This is mainly for newer venues, but if you are unsure of your venues strengths and weakness, host a styled shoot with vendors who you want to work with and a photographer who you feel best represents your vision of your venue. Be present on the day of the shoot so you can see what the light looks like at all times of the day and hear any concerns that and outsider looking in may have. On top of that, you'll walk away with great marketing material and relationships with new vendors who will hopefully refer your venue to their couples!” - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography
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Don't Discount Social Media

"With social media and the importance of imagery being ever so important in today’s age, how you choose to portray your venue online is crucial. This is your opportunity and platform to present your venue in the best way possible. To show all of the different ways to transform the space with a variety of different styles. If you’re a venue that is just starting out, I highly recommend planning a couple of styled shoots and finding vendors that speak to your vision and voice. Another great way to show your space, is creating a virtual tour via Instagram live or Instagram video! This would be a great resource to direct potential clients to, and also would help with potential clients who are very interested, and want to see more. This not only helps them, but also makes your job much easier! You only have to record the video once, and distribute it however you wish.” - Angelica Valiton, Angelica Marie Photography
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Provide Several Photo Locations

“Have at least 3 good locations for 'romantics.' Romantics are the portraits of the bride and groom on the wedding day and are usually the most important photos of the day, and also can be a deciding factor on whether or not a couple books your venue. These are the photos that your couple will print and hang on their wall, share on social media, and use for their 'thank you' cards (thus providing free marketing for your venue... Yay!). If the only location your venue has for romantics is a lone Oak tree or the single ceremony gazebo for example, you need to create more locations for photo ops around the venue. Install a wrought iron gate, a fence, a swing, a fountain, an archway, a gazebo, more trees etc., or anything that a couple can use as a statement piece or landscape to take photos by. Couples and photographers alike want a memorable photo experience with an abundance of great locations around the venue, this also makes it easier for the photographer as we don't have to go hunting and searching for different locations and can spend more time photographing, and less time scouting.” - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography
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Consider the Lighting for Your Ceremony Location

“Lighting is everything when it comes to photography and can make or break the photos of your venue. Starting with the ceremony space, the sun should be behind the couple, preferably at 10 or 2 o'clock. This allows for beautiful, even, and ethereal lighting that photographs stunningly. There is nothing worse than having a ceremony space where the lighting is harsh and uneven. If the sun is off to one side, then either the bride or grooms face will appear blown out and cause them to squint during the ceremony, while the others is dark. If the sun is to the photographers back, it will create harsh lighting and dark shadows for the entire ceremony, as well as be in the couples eyes during the recessional which is considered a "money" shot for most photographers and venues." - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography
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Provide Proper Reception Lighting

"The reception space should be well lit whether indoor or al fresco, at least long enough for the photographer to capture the tables and details during cocktail hour. Light and airy photographers like myself like to have well lit reception spaces to photograph and we try to avoid using flash and artificial light if possible. A piece of advice is to have an easily accessible light switch so the photographer can slide the lighting up to be more bright while photographing the space, and then dim them once they are done in order to set the mood for the incoming guests.” - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography

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11 / 16
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Ditch Rigid Schedules

“Having the ceremony at the right time is very important, and venues that require ceremonies to start at a certain time need to take into consideration the timing throughout the year depending on daylight savings. A ceremony at 5:30 pm during the summer months is perfect, but a ceremony at 5:30 pm after the first weekend of November will not work as it will already be dark. Ideally cocktail hour should be during the "golden hour," the hour before sunset, to allow for the best lighting for bridal party, family, romantics, reception detail, and cocktail hour photos. When creating wedding day timelines, figure out when the golden hour ends and work backward from there.” - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography
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Rethink Your Venue Layout

“There are still many couples who want to remain traditional and not do a first look, however more and more couples are wanting (and needing - considering how long the photo lists have gotten these days) to take as many photos as possible before the ceremony. There is nothing worse than needing to take the photos of the bride and bridesmaids, and the only good photo location on the ground is right next to the grooms suite. Little aspects of a poor layout like this can cause massive delays in the timeline, further ruining the lighting and photo outcome for the rest of the day. Having multiple photo ops available is imperative to a smooth running day that photographs well. If you've found that the only shaded area for photos is next to the grooms suite, plant some trees or add a covering near the bridal suite as well so each party can quickly and easily get their photos over and done with.” - Rebecca Theresa, Rebecca Theresa Photography
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Stick to Your Mission

"I think with any business, knowing the vision and mission behind your venue is first and foremost. This will only help you create and planned styled shoots that bring that vision to life.” - Angelica Valiton, Angelica Marie Photography
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Get the Aerial Shot

"Get an aerial photo of the venue if it’s possible so clients can see the layout of the property." - Jenny Quicksall, Jenny Quicksall Photography
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Don't Forget About the Scenery

"Take pictures of the scenery around your venue." - Jenny Quicksall, Jenny Quicksall Photography
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Photograph With Lots of Light

"Photograph your venue in optimal lighting, when there’s plenty of pretty light." - Jenny Quicksall, Jenny Quicksall Photography

Submit your Venue

Would you like to list your venue, hotel, restaurant, or home on The Venue Report?

learn more

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