How to Get Great Photos Even When Your Wedding Venue Isn’t Super Beautiful

For some brides and grooms, cutting back on their wedding budget means choosing a less than awesome venue to get married in. That being said, if your venue isn’t super beautiful, there are still ways to get great photos on your big day. I’m going to give you lovers a couple of tips that should lead you to magazine worthy wedding photos no matter where you’re getting married. But first, I’ll share a testimonial from a bride who felt limited by her venue.

Here's what Joy had to say about her experience


I was really nervous during the planning process because of having to take our pictures before the ceremony, since we we're having a combined ceremony/reception with not enough time between for pictures. Added to this the logistics of having to take pictures on a rainy afternoon at a venue with only a parking lot as a background. But despite all these concerns Gernelle somehow found a backdrop that worked and a way to make the pictures look beautiful and professional. She got great shots of everything and everyone (cake, tables, family, friends, dancing) and was so incredibly organized and on top of things the entire time. Thank you, thank you a thousand times, I can't imagine anyone else shooting my wedding. Oh! Thank you as well for the amazing engagement photos. All of her ideas worked out great and we had a blast taking them.

Tip 1: Trust Me, I’m a Wedding Photographer

Even if you’re eloping in the backyard, I can help you create gorgeous images of your day. One of the things I’ll do before picking up my camera is walk around your venue and search for the best areas and ideal backdrops for your portraits. If you want to take photos in a particular area, I will be honest about the advantages and limitations of the space whether it be a lot of things in the background, non-ideal lighting or other factors. Of course, I’ll have a variety of tools at my disposal that can help us get the results you want but my number one goal is to make sure you have all of the facts. I’ve worked with over 50 brides at both large and intimate ceremonies, so if you say you want naturally lit images at 8pm in the winter, experience tells me to advise a session earlier in the day so you’ll have sunlight instead of relying on artificial lighting after sunset.

Tip 2: Clear the walls and the room of clutter

This is especially important for smaller spaces. The easiest way to take your photos from so-so to so lovely is to get rid of anything that doesn’t have to be in the room. Move all of your belongings to one side of the room or a closet. Take down wall art and signage so all of the focus will be on you. If the room can’t be modified, like a church library for instance, migrate to the lobby or hallway for staged getting ready images there. When it comes to photos in a decked out Sunday school classroom verses an empty hallway, the hallway wins! Trust me on this one!

Tip 3: Go Outside or somewhere else for formals

If choosing another room or area indoors won’t get you the results you want, go outside. It may be warm or cool outside that day so brace yourself for this in advance. If you’re willing to be uncomfortable for a brief 30 minutes of your day, you’re going get exactly what you want; incredible wedding photos to cherish for a lifetime. If the areas outside aren’t appealing, go to a separate location for your formal images. Yes, this may sound a bit extensive but its 100% worth it. Your formal portraits of the two of you together, with your bridal party and parents are some of the most important images of the day. They will likely be printed and posted all over the internet for years to come. You’ll never regret going a few miles up the road for a session at the local park instead of settling for photos in a dim cramped space in the basement of your church. I guarantee it!

We only have one chance to get this right!

One of the reasons wedding photography is such an investment is the fact that there is only ever going to be one day like this one. You can’t recreate the unique moments and memories once it’s all over. If you take a chance on a cheap freelancer or a family friend to take your photos, there’s no going back if the pictures end up looking bad. What you see is what you get and you get what you pay for my friend. Do yourselves a favor and make sure wedding photography is something you place as one of the higher priorities in your budget. That way you can hire someone with experience, education, reliable equipment, insight, and insurance that protects you and them.

I want you to get the absolute best quality images you can for your intimate wedding or elopement. I have access to the best equipment, best practices and an awesome lighting director who will make sure you will love your images and want to hang them in your home. If you’re in search of an experienced wedding photographer, schedule a consultation with me online. Or you can just reach out to me via phone call or text at 972-164-7815. I serve brides all over the U.S. and DFW cities (Plano, Frisco, Allen, Dallas, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Austin, Houston, Richardson, McKinney, and beyond).

Gernelle NelsonComment