Six Atlanta wedding venues we love

We cover weddings in lots of places: churches, farms, islands, beaches, wineries, state parks, botanical gardens and on private properties.

Occasionally, we find ourselves in a place that makes us wonder what compelled our clients to say, “This is it!!” And sometimes we find ourselves in a venue that’s a standout mix of character, spaciousness, flow, and light — a combination that screams great photos! Maybe it’s because we’re photographers, but it would seem to be that a big driver in venue choice has to be the photos it’ll render. Because the human memory is a faulty thing, and that makes photos so important. So this blog tackles the venue question from that perspective. We’ve selected a short list of Atlanta venues that worked particularly well for photography. As we highlight each, we’ll explain what made them so great not just for photography but for the wedding, and we’ll also point out any downsides that stood out for us.

Primrose Cottage, Roswell, GA

  • beautiful inside and out
  • an abundance of windows bring natural light into the bridal suite, groom’s quarters and reception area
  • the large bridal suite features a red claw-foot tub that makes for artsy photo-moments for a saucy bride
  • ceremonies are performed outdoors in a lush, shaded amphitheater-like setting.
  • a large reception hall offers high, white ceilings that are great for the bounced light that we like for candid dance and guest photos.
  • a beautifully lit garden shed on the property makes for wonderfully romantic photos

Dekalb History Center, Decatur, GA

  • situated on the square in downtown Decatur with lots of photo spots in the surrounding area.
  • the center’s second-floor ceremony and reception space is all white plaster and marble with a 16-foot ceiling and massive windows on side walls. Beautiful and super-great for photography!
  • the building is accessed via massive sets of stairs on the east and west sides of the building.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Atlanta, GA

  • while restrictive in what photographers are allowed to do and shoot in the sanctuary during a wedding mass, and quite challenging from a lighting perspective, the Basilica is one of our favorite ceremony venues because of its majestic beauty.
  • from the high-ceiling nave (the central section of the sanctuary) to the ornate apse (the dome-like space behind the pulpit), from the organ loft to the stained glass windows lining the aisles, the Basilica is a regal setting for any wedding.

Flint Hill, Norcross, GA

  • hands-down one of the most elegant wedding venues in Greater Atlanta
  • every aspect of the white-trimmed property evokes antebellum aristocracy. If that’s vibe you want, this is the place.
  • the layout is designed for a romantic outdoor wedding with up to 275 guests, with the reception ballroom being the rain-plan alternative.
  • the bridal suite is roomy, well-lit and elegant — great for prep photos.
  • the north-facing front lawn is perfect for a romantic first look and for formal photos after the ceremony.

Trolley Barn, Atlanta, GA

  • a former garage-of-sorts for the electric streetcars that roamed Atlanta in the late 1800s, the Trolley Barn since has served a variety of purposes, and now is a wedding and event center.
  • its expansive main floor with 20-plus-foot ceilings and factory-style windows create a spacious, airy atmosphere for a reception, and all that’s a plus for photos, too.
  • a mezzanine affords photographers a great bird’s-eye perspective of your reception.
  • a brick courtyard, garden and lush lawn at the rear of the building form a wonderful backdrop for an outdoor ceremony, formals and couple photos.

Fendley Farmstead, Canton, GA

  • new-ish venue with a great back-story: owner Dena Milner was raised across the street and bought the property from her childhood best friend with an eye toward creating a wedding venue. Dena’s daughter Brannigan was the first bride to marry there, in 2009.
  • it’s a rustic and large property featuring an open-sided ceremony barn, a large reception hall finished in knotty pine, a bridal cottage, a groom’s hangout, and an active pasture.
  • the ceremony barn is conducive to great photos thanks to ample natural light and a layout that permits the photographer to move about quickly and easily
  • the reception space is large with high ceilings, which is great for photos
  • the property has a variety of photo-op spots, including a white wrought-iron Cinderella carriage, vineyard, and a chandelier hanging from a tree in the pasture.

Seven steps to the right wedding photographer

When you hire a professional photographer for your wedding, they’ll typically have you sign an agreement that states not only when, where, and how long they’ll be snapping away, but also what deliverables are included.

Unfortunately for consumers, photography packages vary wildly and without any strong correlation to price or quality. This is because both the artistry and business acumen of photographers as a group also vary wildly.

So we’re going to take off our photographer hats and put on our tiaras and give you some tips on choosing the right pro.

1) Do I even need professional photos?

Ask yourself whether photos are even important enough to pay money for. If you don’t take photos when you travel or hang with friends, if you don’t post pics on social media, if you don’t surf Pinterest or IG, you might not be the kind of person who needs pictures to remember life by. Instead of hiring a photographer, save your money and let your guests crowd-source your memories. If this doesn’t apply to you, read on.

2) What style of photos do I like?

Spend some time browsing pics on Pinterest and IG. Look at your own social media photo posts. Figuring out and being aware of what you like and don’t like will help tons when you start talking to photographers.

3) Where do I find photographers?

There’s no good single registry. You can find them through their posts on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and many have profiles posted on a variety of online wedding sites. Of course, you should also Google “wedding photographer” for the location where you’re needing them. All this goes without saying that if you’re reading this, you’ve already found one team 🙂

4) Quality before cost.

Make the photographer’s artistry and reputation your top priorities and worry about cost second. You can always find a cheap photographer, and if you’re reading this far, photo quality probably ranks for you. So create your short list of favorite photographers, and write down what you like about each.

5) Read their reviews.

It’s good to know what others have to say about the pros on your short list. Browse for reviews, and ask for references. Follow through on this. If others have had issues with a photographer whose work you really like, you can either move on or use that as a basis for conversation to get the pro’s side of the story, If the pro is defensive, red flag. If the pro owns the issue, then you’ll have something to think about.

6) Decide what coverage and deliverables you want.

When you’re comfortable that you’ve found three pros with a style you like and a reputation you trust, it’s almost time to start talking money. But money for what? You could ask for their packages, but those will be varied and hard to compare. Instead, tell your pros what coverage and deliverables you’re interested in, and ask them to price that out. Now you can compare apples-to-apples. To help you know what you want, here are some common options:

  • a second photographer for all or part of the day
  • a simple album, an heirloom-quality album, or no album at all.
  • digital images with permission to print or digitals for online sharing (cheaper)
  • physical prints, and if so, what sizes (8×10, 5×7, 4×6, etc.)
  • how many hours of coverage you’ll need
  • how many coverage locations and how far apart

7) Understand what you’re offered.

Photographers can be pretty geeky and have their own language when it comes to digital and print products and digital image format and usage. Here are seven questions to ask:

  • On average, how many photos do you deliver for a booking such as mine? Not looking for a promise, just a level-set.
  • What editing or adjusting do you do to the images I’ll receive?
  • Can I share them on social media or with friends and family?
  • Can I print them?
  • Do I have to get prints through you?
  • Can I edit them myself — adding filters or cropping them? (Usually, that’s a “no”)
  • Do you keep backups or an archive in case I need more prints or lose my copy?

Okay, our photographer hats are back on! Hopefully, this little blog post will give you some confidence as you shop for the right pro.

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