Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wedding Planning, as a Photographer

Recently I got the privelage of another photographer referring a wedding to me that they couldn't do. After meeting with the couple, I really enjoyed their enthusiasm, and their attention to detail which made me know that they were the right clients I was looking for, and I accepted to bring them on as clients.

The couple is full of laughs on a constant basis, and when I met with both of them. They had familiar faces that I just couldn't put my finger on where I had seen them before. (The wedding cake made me remember where I had seen them before, you guys will see this in a minute)

*****Disclosure Statement*****
Since 90% of my readers are aspiring photographers who look to turn pro, this information is aimed at them. The rest of you can skip to the pictures!
If you want to shoot weddings, GOOD LUCK if you are doing it because of the $$$$ and I'll leave it at that. For those of you who shoot weddings because you enjoy them, you like capturing the fun, the laughter, the tears, you are somewhat of an orchestra conductor, and you can be creative on the fly outside of what your shotplan was setup to do, the $$$$ will find you. TRUST ME!

Being here in Key West for only 8 months I have already seen ALLOT of people's weddings ruined because 1)They didn't research their photographer, or just trusted a "wedding planner" 2)Hired someone because of a VERY CHEAP RATE 3)Thought they were a good photographer because they were coming down from mainland Florida to do their wedding (which really goes back to #1)

Now those are just to mention a few, but I am writing about them today because I hope that each of you whether photographer, or fan of my blog can pass this on to someone you know who can learn from it. IT IS A LIFETIME EVENT. If YOU as a photographer can't get those important moments please do the couple justice and refere a photographer who can. You will gain so much credit in the industry amongst photographers, and it will come back to help you out one day! If you are family of a groom/bride to be please pass this on to them as well.

A Photographer/Client relationship has to work together. As a photographer you have to enjoy your clients, because THERE WILL BE A TIME when someone outside the relationship wants to decide to direct your clients event, and/or your photoshoot. You as a Photographer need to understand the stresses that your clients go through leading up to their event, and especially right before the event begins. You are going to have to be the one that reminds them to smile, you are going to have to be the buffer that gets in the way and gets their attention away from the people who are unknowingly taking the joy out of the event, and most importantly the smiles off the clients faces! This is why I mentioned earlier that when I sit down with a potential client, THE CLIENT MUST FIT ME, and MY STYLE. If not the $$ isn't worth doing the job, unless we get into a 6 Figure PayDay! For 6 figures, I will put up with the BS to make sure I get the shots I want!

Once I found out that the clients fit me, I began moving into the decision making process, and the planning of how I wanted to do their shoot. I showed interest in their needs, and their event. I planned a meeting with the bride at the private location so we can literally walk through everything. Where they were going to stand, where were people seated, how many people, etc... As a photographer you have to be able to imagine these people actually sitting there, to be able to see how you are going to move, what shots are going to work, what isn't, because YOU ARE NOT APART OF THE WEDDING. You want to be seen as little if any at all. If it is a small venue, well unfortunately you are going to become a part of the wedding, and that is just the nature of the beast per say.

I left that day knowing I had the event nailed to a "T". I even had the sunlight planned out as to how it was going to be coming through the trees, and where it coming through at in a worst case scenario since this was an outdoors wedding with scattered tree cover. I even went back a week prior to the wedding, with a stand in model to verify it and get my lighting nailed with 2 off camera strobes on radios.

The day of the event, and the entire setup that we did several weeks prior was changed as I found out about an hour before the event! All that planning down the drain, so here comes that "better be creative" on your feet that I mentioned. Because I had the right client relationship, it gave me the desire to quickly setup, and re-plan, as well as prepare for shooting in shadows, instead of the sunlight!

Now had I been a photographer who was just "chasing the $$" as some people put it. I would have had no desire to make sure the shots were anything that was going to stand out right? These clients fit me, and I enjoy having them as clients, therefore I was determined to beat the gremlins and get my shots!

Ok let's make the folks smile! As I said before, your clients are going to be going through ALLOT of stresses, and you have to be the buffer, and you have to get in and get them to pull off some grins that aren't faked. There is no way in the world, you can expect your clients to get images like this by faking a smile.
Joe Williams Photography

Plan your shoot to get them away from people, you need to get them where it is just them and hopefully you have a great surrounding to work with. It's their day, let your work show that!

When you get something that is unique to an event SHOOT IT. Don't spend allot of time on it as it is not your main focus, but put forth the effort to make sure you get the uniqueness of whatever it is!

Depending on your style, even the times when your clients aren't smiling can turn into some great shots that your clients will cherish.

Now remember when I said the first time I met my clients, that I knew I had seen them somewhere before, but I couldn't put my finger on it? Well, the wedding cake let me know where I had seen them before!

Thanks for reading, and please share this with any photographer that you know who "thinks" they are a wanting to become a wedding photographer. Or even a Bride/Groom who is about to be walking down the aisle. I feel by reading this, it can help both the photographer, and the future Brides/Grooms, and families as well.


1 comment:

  1. As a photographer, you have to be able to imagine that these humans are in fact sitting there, you can see how you move, what lens to work, what is not.
    Charleston Photographers