There is a lot about being a photographer that has nothing to do with actually taking pictures. In fact a big part (for me at least) involves staying up-to-date with other industry professionals, talking shop, and working through common dilemmas we all share. Some of this happens in person, via group chats, blogs and message boards, or even InstaStories but no matter the platform time and time again I see the same patterns of things showing up in conversations.
It is always the same song, different verse, and often comes with phrases like:
If my clients would just know [ this one thing ] - everything would be so much easier!
If my clients would just understand [ that other thing ] - they would be so much happier with their photos!
So without further adieu, here is a list of the top ten things I see hashed and rehashed in the wedding photosphere.
One of the worst feelings the world is to deliver a client's images and have them say something like "Oh. You didn't get that one picture of such and such."
Talk about a sucker punch. The last thing I want is for a client to be anything less than satisfied with my work - especially on a day as irreplaceable as a wedding. So if you are wearing your grandmother's antique bracelet that she wore on her wedding day or your aunt made your cake or your uncle hand carved the cuff links your groomsmen are wearing and that is important to you - let me know! What is important to you is important to me.
And more than just twenty minutes after the ceremony.
Even if your venue is the most wonderful, scenic villa on the coast of southern France - it will still take more than twenty minutes to create timeless images you will treasure forever. So if that is important to you - please allow time for it to happen. An hour is my minimum recommended amount of time, not including travel time if we have to go off site.
You didn't hire me to make you look silly, so I won't do that.
I know that when I tell you to put your chin a certain way or to look into the distance and picture that you are watching your favorite movie feels weird - but trust me. It is giving me what I need to give you what you want.
If I had a dollar for every shot I have with someone photographing the ceremony on their smartphone - I wouldn't have to photograph weddings any more
A tech-free ceremony is one of the best gifts you can give your photographer as well as yourself because when your guests stop watching their screens they start watching you - and that is how it should be.
And no. It is not to get rich.
Most wedding photographers are self-employed which means, from the get-go, anywhere from 30-45% of any fee we charge goes directly to taxes ($2,000 wedding fee? I'll only see about $1,200 of that and that is before overhead) . A modest kit of gear can easily cost ten grand and that does not cover the software or the computer on which we edit your images. That also does not cover the upkeep, maintenance, insurance, monthly expenses like the cloud we use to back up your wedding photos should the worse happen, the thousands of hours we have spent learning our craft, etc. Then we pay our bills.
We don't charge you thousands of dollars because we are jerks. We promise.
A good Best Man and Maid of Honor are worth their weight in gold.
Photographers typically do not know or have time to learn all the names and faces of everyone in the Bride's and Groom's families, but your Maid of Honor and Best Man totally have which is invaluable come group photo time and we cannot find Uncle Billy. The Best Man rushes off and before we know it - we have the whole family together for one big, happy, smiling shot!
The people you pick to stand up with you can really make or break your day and not just from a photography standpoint. Choose wisely.
No. Seriously. You wouldn't.
I take the time to go through and pick out all the blinks, and blurs, and yawns so you are left with the best of the best. It is part of what you pay me for.
If you tell me you want awesome sunset portraits together as husband and wife but you have an 10AM wedding - we are going to have a problem.
When it comes down to lighting and what is going to look best in pictures - your photographer should have that down but there are limits. Talk to me about what you want, show me images you have seen and liked from my portfolio, then I can do my best to advise you how the day should go to ensure that you get your dream shots.
No matter how awesome I seem, I am not clairvoyant (yet).
So if you see something or think of something or want to change something or want to re-shoot something - please let me know. I am never going to be offended if my clients have ideas. I love collaborating to make something beautiful!
And last but not least if you have a good time - you will have good pictures.
So take a deep breath, relax, and laugh. The people you love the most in the world are all around you to celebrate with you! Today is your day. Leave the worrying to the professionals.
Any other photographers out there have ones they would add? Let me know!