How to make the most of a large wedding venue in your photos

I’m such a lucky duck to have so many amazing country house wedding venues within a bouquet’s toss of home. Places like Boughton House, Fawsley Hall, Holdenby House, Kelmarsh Hall…  I love them all.

It’s a dream to photograph weddings at these venues. They’re bursting with amazing architecture, gorgeous gardens and sprawling grounds. Which means I’m never short of inspiration.

I won’t list the potential photos because I’m sure you’ve got that covered for both of us. So let’s just say it’s an insatiable list.

And the fact you just might have been in an unrealistic optimistic frame of mind when you thought about all the possible places you could have photos… well, that won’t stop you from having a jolly good go at ticking it all off.

Because this is your home for the day. You want to remember every tiny thing about it. You want photos taken everywhere.

But there’s just one problem…

Fitting it all in.

Because you don’t want to spend all day posing. There’s champagne to drink, bangers n’ mash canapes to eat, sack races to win…

So, how are you going to get the max out of your venue in your photos?

By following these six steps:

1/ Mix up your formal photo locations. Remember that I’ll show off your venue in your natural photos as well as your formal ones. That means we can cover more ground by doing your group photos and portraits in places that won’t make an appearance elsewhere in the day, like during your ceremony, drinks reception or dinner.

2/ Create drinks reception ‘zones’. Guests often naturally congregate in one spot, which makes it tricky to use a variety of backgrounds. But you can encourage everyone to move around and spread out by designating different areas for different things; like a games area, a drinks station, a music base, a snack corner…

3/ Transform the transitional areas. Even the alleys, corridors and walkways tend to be photogenic in country house wedding venues. So rather than just (literally) pass them by, why not allow them into your photos by throwing confetti, tossing your bouquet or greeting guests as you go?

4/ Give your photographer a break. While you’re enjoying dinner, I’ll take time out to go for a walk, explore your venue and photograph things that catch my eye along the way. It’s super special to have sprawling country house gardens to yourself, with no-one else around to disturb the peace – or get in my photos.

5/ Plan your portraits like a pro. You have two options. 1) Channel Anneka Rice, race from place to place and see how many locations you can unlock in under 30 minutes. Or 2) Plan two or three short sessions through the course of the day, each in a different location.

6/ Throw out the rule book. Who says you shouldn’t see each other before the ceremony? Or that portraits have to be done on the wedding day? If tradition isn’t important to you, open up even more possibilities with a parting portrait at night, a first look or a day-after photoshoot.

And of course, whatever you do, it’s important to stay within the realms of practicality. You don’t want to give your guests blisters by getting them to traipse miles for the group pics or cause chaos for your caterers by having dinner at the furthest point from the kitchen!

Lastly, as always, this is a general guide. Every couple, wedding and venue is different. The most important thing is that you do you… If you’ve only got eyes for one room at your venue, then we’ll take photos in there all day long. And if you want to spend an hour taking portraits, we’ll do it. It’s your day and they’re your photos.

Want to know more about my approach to showing off a wedding venue?

Check out this feature to find out how I’ll make sure your venue shines in your wedding photos.