Professional wedding photographers in Switzerland usually don’t work locally. Switzerland is a small country, you can easily get to every spot in the country within 2-3 hours. So why limit yourself to only work in your own city or area? And even more important: Why should the bride & groom limit their choices to only local wedding photographers? Their goal should be to find the best wedding photographer for their needs. The one that fits their personalities, the one that takes the kind of images they love.
Whenever I hear a prospective client say “Sorry, we decided for a local photographer” I’m thinking “Oh, that’s really a pity”. Not because I didn’t get the job, but because it looks like the “local factor” was more important for the bride & groom than anything else. Instead of being in the last place of the priority list it’s in the first place. Couples are still not really accustomed to “think Swiss”. It’s just in the people’s heads that Berne is far from Zurich. Although it’s actually only one hour away. Often the first question I get asked in a client conversation via phone is “Where are you based?” and my answer will be “I’m based in Switzerland”.
Later in the conversation with the couple this will lead to another question. If you will scout the locations of the wedding day. Yes of course I do location scouting. But that doesn’t mean that I have to drive everywhere before the wedding day. Sometimes it doesn’t really make sense as the wedding will take place in a really remote location or even in another country. Sometimes it’s not necessary as you already know the place. Being a professional wedding photographer with a couple of years experience you might have already photographed a wedding there before.
There is no absolute answer to this question, it all depends on the situation. I might photograph another job close to the church sometime before the wedding and go to actually see it on that occasion. Or I scout it in the internet (that’s the first thing I do in any case). If I can’t go to see the location myself I will also ask my friends that are all professional wedding photographers if they have already photographed at this place. That’s another advantage of hiring a professional and not an amateur to photograph your wedding. He has also a professional network and that can not only be helpful in case of an emergency.
What you can also do is to scout the location on the wedding day. As that’s the day that counts. I see the roadworks in front of the church that was not there two months ago. I see what the weather and the light looks like. WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get. And that brings me back to the above picture of Melissa & Alexander who married in Montreux on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Although I know Montreux and the area well as I have spent there quite some time enjoying the Montreux Jazz Festival or visiting my relatives I have never been before at the Château du Châtelard where the ceremony took place or seen the park where we wanted to photograph the couple shots. So I just arrived at the place 1-2 hours before they expected me and checked everything out. That’s my preferred way to do location scouting for a wedding. A positive side effect doing it this way is that if everything goes wrong with traffic on the wedding day, you probably have to skip the location scouting but will still be perfectly in time for the ceremony.
By Hochzeitsfotograf Daniel Zihlmann