I started photographing weddings about 6 years ago, right about the time that my friends started to get married. So not only was I learning about weddings from a vendors perspective, I was learning from a bridesmaid’s perspective. But when we got engaged in the spring on 2019, I entered a whole new ballgame. Planning your own wedding is completely different than helping with someone else’s, or even photographing one. I learned a *lot* during that process, and I came out on the other side an even better photographer for it. So today, I’m going to tell you what I learned about being a photographer by being a bride.
Focus on the groom.
Y’all, it’s SO easy to make the bride the star of an engagement session or wedding day. But let me tell you, my absolute *favorite* photo from our engagement session is one where Nathan is smiling at the camera while I kissed his cheek. The focus is totally on him, and I LOVE that! It might be easy to focus solely on the bride, but remember…she adores the man that she’s marrying, and will more than likely REALLY appreciate having photos where he’s the main focus. (That photo I mentioned above was my phone’s background all the way until we received our wedding photo sneak peeks.)
Details are (really) important.
Most brides spend hours upon hours upon hours deciding on the details of their wedding. They have to decide what napkins to use and how the program should be worded, plus a million other little things! DO NOT overlook capturing this portion of their day. After all the hours I spent working out the details, the first time I really saw how our centerpieces turned out was when I saw them in our wedding blog post. (They turned out exactly like I imagined them, by the way.) Your brides may not realize how important it is to have those detail photos, but trust me, they’re going to want them.
You are not the only vendor.
Brides are communicating with their florist, their cake baker, their DJ, their officiant, their bridal party…the list goes on. If she doesn’t get back to you right away, it’s not because she doesn’t think you’re important or anything like that. She’s probably just trying to keep her head above water and communicate with everyone and their dog and she’s probably just a teensy bit stressed! Give her some grace.
They’re not getting married every weekend.
As wedding photographers, especially during wedding season, we’re probably shooting at least one wedding almost every single weekend. But for your couples, this is more than likely their one and only wedding day. Do what you need to do to make sure you’re bringing it every. single. wedding. that you shoot. If that means shooting less so that you can serve your couples better, then you sure as heck better make that happen. Don’t give your clients sub-par service just because it’s your 3rd wedding of the month. (This is one of the many things I really appreciated about Kalahan & Sean. They got in there on our wedding day and served us and loved on us so well, and really just made us feel like their #1 priority!)
Morning of the wedding texts are awesome.
The morning of our wedding, as I was heading to breakfast with my Dad, Kalahan texted me with an “Eeeek! Today’s the day!!” text, and reminded me that she was praying for us. It was such a great reminder that she and Sean were there to support and serve Nathan and I, even before they had arrived at the location.
Clients are not trying to ruin your reputation by screen shooting the blog post photos.
I see a lot posts from photographers feeling frustrated when clients take screenshots of the images in a blog post. The clients then post those photos on their Instagram or Facebook, tag the photographer, and comment something about how they love the photos. The reason the photographer is upset? Because to make a blog post load quickly, we have to make the photo size smaller…which in turn makes the photo not as high quality. So then you’ve got your beautiful photos looking not quite so beautiful because the quality has taken a hit, and you get worried that other people will think that’s the kind of work you produce. (When in reality, your photos are sharp and clear!) It’s something that has happened to me multiple times, and it’s something I’ve definitely been frustrated at before.
But here’s the thing…when Kalahan & Sean blogged our engagement session, I TOOK A SCREENSHOT OF A FEW PICTURES. Ya’ll. I’m a *photographer* and *I* even took screenshots!!!! I didn’t post them anywhere (but I did update my phone’s background with them), because I knew that they were lower quality. But if I hadn’t understood what happens on the back end of blog posts? I absolutely would’ve posted them! Why? Because I was so thrilled with the photos and so excited to marry Nathan that I could hardly contain myself!! Photographers, you are not being personally victimized by your clients when they take screenshots and share them. Clients, a better option to taking screenshots is to share the sneak peek post or blog link directly from your photographer’s Facebook or Instagram.
Drop your ego.
I don’t care if this wedding doesn’t fit into your grid, Karen. You still need to show up and serve the heck out of the day and shoot it like it’s a million dollar wedding!! Remember, this is their one and only wedding day, and they (specifically, the bride) has spent a LOT of time planning and preparing. So leave your ego at home and serve your clients even better than you’d want to be served yourself.
I learned a LOT about being a photographer while I was a bride. My hope is that other photographers can glean some of what I learned and become an even better photographer themselves…without having to go through the wedding planning process!