6 ways to make your wedding photographer love you!!! (even more!)
Odds are if you are reading this blog, you’ve already booked your wedding photographer! You love them for their style, their personality, their portfolio, you name it! You’ve developed a rapport, you’ve gone over your vision with them and you seem to have made the perfect connection! They understand you and you understand them! You love them so much, you want them to know how much you care! Here are 6 ways to make your wedding photographer love you (even more) !!!
Provide a timeline at least 1 week ahead of time
This one may sound easy enough but it is quite often one of the most overlooked and easily do-able things you can do not only for your wedding photographer but for other professional wedding vendors there as well. With regards to wedding photography, the timeline is important because it helps your wedding photographer plan their shots and how to set up what needs to be set up, how much time they have to work with, etc. Granted a reputable pro with a lot of experience is going to be able to adjust on the fly and make it happen, it is so much easier when you can plan accordingly. From the perspective of a wedding photographer, this is huge because it allows me to communicate with my clients not only from a standpoint of “Hey Mary, just a quick heads up, we still have 30 minutes until the first look do you want to do some bridals?” but it also helps us problem solve when let’s say the lighting is terrible but you may be able to adjust and take photos later in the evening closer to golden hour which may look like “Hey Mary, I know we have the couples photos scheduled in 15 minutes, but the light is looking pretty harsh right now for our location, how would you feel about us wrapping up early, getting you to the reception early, and we can flex this time later in the evening during dancing?”. A timeline allows us to do this with absolute confidence especially when working with a half a dozen other vendors like caterers, DJs, and planners. Having a timeline will also help keep things in check for the most part so if you’ve only booked your wedding photographer for part of the day vs the entire day, this will help to ensure that they capture everything you intended for them to in that short amount of time. Pro Tip: If you have a planner or day of coordinator, they will often create this timeline for you and communicate with the other vendors in advance to go over any concerns, etc. like lighting or weather.
Provide a list of people for formal group shots
The majority, if not all of our clients tell us that these photos are the ones they just want to “get done!” Having photographed over 100 weddings in the past 2 years alone, I can tell you that even with a two person team, sometimes formal group shots can be like herding cats (lol). Early on in our careers it was a bit more hectic but now we make this a part of our welcome packet and make it easier for our clients to generate this list by providing them a list of the most general combos that the majority of people want to do. From there, you can add to, takeaway, or modify. By taking the 15-20 minutes it takes to actually create this list now, you will save yourself at least 20-30 minutes on your wedding day not spent standing around waiting on Uncle Ralph (he can usually be found at the open bar). This also allows your photographer(s) to get one group on deck, while the other group is currently taking their photo thereby making the entire process so much more efficient. If you are working with a single photographer, it helps to have a trusted family member or wedding planner to help coordinate people being ready while the photographer shoots. Pro Tip: If you already know exactly who you want for the formal family photos whether before or after the ceremony, let those family members know before the day of the wedding. They are much more likely to stick around and be readily available for these photos vs if you didn’t tell them until it’s actually time to take the photo. Implement this tip and you can easily save yourself and additional 10-15 minutes on your wedding day.
Don’t give your wedding photographer a pinterest board full of hundreds of images you’ve been saving for the last 2 years or the generic shot list straight out of your 400 page bride guide
They will love you sooo much for this one! (lol) Odds are your wedding photographer caught your eye for their style and portfolio first and foremost. Odds also are, that you likely wouldn’t pay what it costs for a reputable professional wedding photographer unless you again, loved their overall style and portfolio. So trust that your instincts were correct from the get go and you hired them for their creativity, their vision, and overall competence when it comes to capturing the day the way you envisioned. One of the things we do with the couples we work with is go over all of this before the wedding day in order to have them rest assured that they are in good hands. Let’s start with the generic lists. In our experience receiving these lists from past clients (thankfully we don’t really get them anymore) the list usually contains over a couple hundred different shots of everything thing you want your wedding photographer to get. Here are a couple of things we noticed. Literally 98.999% of the shots on that list, we were already doing. What it also does is put your photographer in the mindset that they’ve been given this checklist and it’s all that matters. It’s not really something that lends itself to capturing organic moments and emotion, both of which in our experience are things you are going to cherish much more when you receive your photos then most of the items that go on these lists. So let’s address that last 1.1%. We always assure every client, we are not going to miss your father daughter dance, or your make up artist touching you up on the big day, or a cake cutting. Things like these are a given. That last 1.1% are what we call your ‘can’t live withouts’ and these should be things that are unique to you and how you want your wedding remembered. Examples of these shots might be something more like “instead of just getting the groom’s reaction, if possible could you get the groom’s reaction from between my head and my dad’s head from behind as he walks me down the aisle.” That is something that should be communicated beforehand where as a request on a shot list of “brides dress hanging up” is really just a waste of paper or email, it’s totally a given for most reputable pros.
Let’s talk Pinterest! We love pinterest (who doesn’t) we would be lying if we said we don’t. As professionals who are always looking to progress in any field, you look to other sources of inspiration. What are others in my field doing? How can I take that technique and make it my own? Oh that’s a cool idea! As photographers, one of those popular resources is pinterest and I may just speak for us, but I know we personally look at pinterest for new inspiration and ideas a couple times per week. Fun fact, it doesn’t change that much lol. In the past 2 years when we have received pinterest boards we always get that one couple where the dude looks like Adam Levine (you know exactly the couple I'm talking about). Had to throw in the side bar. But back to pinterest, it can serve as a good general guide for what you like or “things” you like if you want to give it to your photographer, hopefully their portfolio already did that. This being said we realized early in our careers is that pinterest unfortunately only tells part of the story about what a client likes about those photos they’ve pinned and the rest of that can remain untold. For instance, are you sending your photographer a particular pinterest image because A) you like the lighting? B) you like the feeling? C) you like the pose? D) you like the background or surroundings? E) you like the expression? F) you like the editing style? G) you like the color pop? I could keep going but I think you see where I am going with this and unfortunately by sending an entire pinterest board full of images it can be 1) unrealistic for a host of reasons (i.e. you sent 100 images of sunsets but you only booked 3 hours of wedding photography with none of those scheduled hours during sunset) and 2) it can send a lot of mixed messages. What we have found is the most helpful for clients and photographers alike, is to utilize a mood board. Pick your favorite 10-15 wedding inspiration type images and list just one word with each image why you like it and send this to your photographer. This cuts down on confusion, cuts down on unrealistic expectations and overall communicates to your photographer, exactly what you are wanting vs leaving open to interpretation.
Trust their judgement
On the day of, you will undoubtedly run into a situation where you may be thinking, “hmm I don’t know that spot doesn’t seem pretty,” or your photographer suggests something slightly counterintuitive to what you were thinking. This is where you run into a slight mental dilemma. Do I tell the photographer I don’t like this spot and risk losing out on potentially beautiful photos? Or do I request them to take the group photos here even though they informed me the lighting is not good for this spot? Trust me when I say, photographers have learned to look at the world differently. Just because there is something behind you doesn’t mean it’s in the frame at the angle they are taking it. Just because the spot they picked looks a little flat or dark, doesn’t mean they can’t give it that magical pop by manipulating light and creating something beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you pick a spot because it’s beautiful and it’s an obvious choice for a photo op of almost any kind. But there will be times where your photographer may suggest something where you just don’t see it. We are here to tell you, that is okay! Remember, you hired them because you love their work and creative vision. Trust in their process and you will likely be pleasantly surprised! (examples below, of the next 4 photos, the first and third one are what your phone and generally your eyes will see....photos 2 and 4, are what your photographer sees and ultimately creates ;) )
Tag them on social media
In today’s amazing world of digital photography, it’s not unheard of to receive a preview or sneak peek within a couple of days or even same day in some cases depending on the time of the year. If you are like many couples and people for that matter in today’s society, you likely cannot wait to share your awesome pictures on social media! Share away and if you remember, tag your photographer! I’m not really one to harp on ‘you should do it because it’s proper’, more so because even in today’s digital age, word of mouth is still king in the photography world and what better testimonial than sharing your beautiful images and tagging the source! In many cases, this is how a lot of couples discover their perfect wedding photographer when google or bing could not find them. Also, most wedding photographers offer gifts such as free future sessions and prints when you refer them new clients!
Have an unplugged ceremony
To this day, we still have yet to meet a client or couple that said “We loved our wedding ceremony photos BUT our friend’s cell phone shots were way better!” Truth be told, during your wedding ceremony, cell phones, Ipads, and other cameras are likely just going to get in the way of your professional photographer. As professionals, no one wants to be in the position to tell one of your family members or guests “hey could you please move out of the way” during the middle of the ceremony and no one wants to jockey for position because someone just couldn’t resist jumping into the aisle last minute. Having to adjust around the “everyone is a photographer craze” our society is currently going through can be one of the more difficult tasks during a wedding ceremony as it forces your professional photographer to have to likely adjust and get a shot that’s not ideal of a moment that will likely never happen again, and heaven forbid miss the moment all together so someone could get a mediocre phone shot (at best). I realize it may sound a little harsh, but as professional wedding photographers, we’ve seen plenty of shots and moments ruined, missed, or at least affected negatively by cell phones and other cameras, and have yet to see one saved by one. It’s something we recommend all of our clients consider because we believe in giving you the best moments possible. By letting your ceremony turn into a photographic free for all, you run the risk of less than ideal photos being delivered. Pro tip: Signs are cute and a fun way to work this unplugged theme into your décor, but the way we have seen this work most effectively is when you have your officiant make an announcement before the family and bridal party start walking down the aisle.
Your photographer is likely ecstatic about shooting your wedding! They’ve been reading over their notes, they’ve probably already researched or visited the venue. They’ve been visualizing the big day beforehand and they’ve been doing all this to make sure they deliver you the best memories they possibly can. Trying to work in some or all of these tips into your wedding day will not only make them feel more appreciated, but it will also yield less stress on your end, and better photos at the end of the day!
As always, thanks for following!
-Joe & Jenny