April 30, 2012

Inside Scoop | 5 Lessons Wedding Edition

So... my monthly Inside Scoop took a back seat the last couple of months and I greatly apologize!  Seriously, uncle Sam had me worried and running crazy.  Whew, luckily, he wasn't too mean to me this year so whoot whoot!

Moving on...

1.  Make sure you've got experience, or things could end badly.

I was on Google+ recently and found this link to an article about a photographer duo who gave their clients blurry and out of focus photos.  All of the photos were the same.  And it destroyed the memory of the couple's wedding.  Which completely proves why this point is number one in this series.  You have to know what you are doing and have experience doing it. 

Know your camera.  Know your settings.  Know that you will get in focus, non blurry, and beautiful photos of the wedding and couple.  Make sure that you've had some experience being a photographer at a wedding.  When I first started, I was deathly afraid of photographing a wedding, why?  Because I didn't know what I was doing.  After interning for a year and continuing to second shoot for three years, I learned how to conduct myself at a wedding as a professional, vendor, and making sure that I get the shots that are important.  

When I made the leap to photograph weddings, I used the blueprint I had learned from other photographers that I had second shot for.  What to do and what not to do.  I did research online of what to expect.  I bought two wedding books from Barnes & Noble and highlighted almost every sentence.  But no matter how many books you read or wedding photography blogs you follow, you need to second shoot and get some experience under your belt.  

Get in there and begin second shooting and learning first hand how and what to do.  I still second shoot and I always learn something new.


2.  Never say no.

This statement can save you and your reputation.  Never say no, unless the bride wants to hang off a cliff.  Otherwise this word shouldn't be said. 

I know that some times as photographers we get requests that we raise our eye brows to, but never say no.  Instead say, " We can but it might cut into your time..."  Instead say, "I think it would be better if we..." 

Find alternative ways to suggest something else that will work for you and for the couple.  At my October wedding, the grooms men wanted to do a fun shot of them and we were running out of time.  They asked me and I said yes.  I shot it in two seconds and it made their day.  Later, one grooms men told me that usually other photographers would have said no and been rude about it, but that I had said yes, took two seconds, and got the shot for them.  What does this mean?  They are happy and impressed that I listed to what they wanted and still managed to stay on time.  

This kind of professionalism can resonate a lot with the couple, bridal party, and guests.  They see you conduct and handle situations with professionalism and knowing alternatives that will make the experience even better.  And not saying "No, we can't do that."


3.  You will be the coordinator, dress bustle-er, flower holder, and family wrangler.

If your couple does not have a coordinator, be sure that you will assume one of the many roles (or derivative of) listed above.  Because you are the one documenting the day for the time you're there, you become the time keeper.  You are in charge and as nerve whrecking as it sounds, this is a good thing.

Mainly because you become the one to guide the couple through out the day.  I have bustled a dress or two because I can do it faster and therefore, stay on time.  I have pinned the boutonni√®res because I can do it faster and know how (even though they're tricky sometimes).  I work with my bride before hand to create a timeline that covers the most important moments of the day.  It is my job to stick to it and make sure everything runs smoothly.

It's part of the job.  Just make sure that you do it with professionalism and keep the day light, fun, and happy.  When I wrangle the family for portraits, I never direct rudely or in a manner that will seem like I'm the spawn of Hitler.  

Which brings me to my next point....


4.  ALWAYS HAVE FUN.

I love weddings.  I love being at weddings, watching weddings in movies, and I cry at weddings.  I like to dance and have fun at weddings.  

And I love to create long lasting images for my clients as they embark on a new journey together.  If you aren't having fun, then I suggest you find something you do have fun photographing.   When you're not having fun, it will show.  And you never want your clients to feel like you're not as excited as they are on their big day.


5.  Make sure your contract covers your butt.

Make sure that you have a solid contract.  One that helps you convey the specifics of your wedding services.  Not all contracts are the same.  My contracts have changed over time and I have added and taken away things that apply to me now.  After some experience, I learned that contracts are important when dealing with such an important events.

Many photography companies now offer contracts for you to buy.  I know Design Aglow has one for weddings as portraits.  You can also make a solid one by consulting a lawyer and making sure you don't get sued or otherwise because you made an over sight on your contract.


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So there you have it!  This installment of Inside Scoop.  If you have questions you would like to have answered on Inside Scoop, put it in the comments below!  

Happy Friday!