Happy Sunday Everyone!
Who are ya'll rooting for in the super bowl today? I'm going to be totally honest and say that I legit had no idea the Super Bowl was today until my dad texted me asking me about my super bowl plans. Whoops!
Okay, back to business. Thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed my last post about directing your wedding party and getting unique images. Did anyone try anything that I talked about? If so, tell me in the comments! Show me your pics! I wanna give you a digital high five!
Today I wanted to talk about something I am pretty convinced changed the game for me in terms of the emotion of my work. I get asked consistently how I get couples to bust out these incredible smiles, contagious laughs, and tender moments. Well, I'm going to share with you my secret right now... I DO NOT pose my couples. Everything is completely organic and not forced, and that's the way I like it for a very specific reason.
Think about if you were getting married and you hired your favorite photographer to shoot your engagements and wedding. You are PUMPED, you can't wait to get those Instagram worthy pic of yourself. Then you get to the shoot and your favorite photographer is telling you to act certain ways that you and your fiance just don't. She/he is moving your heads a certain way you find awkward, they want you to laugh but you have nothing to laugh about. Everything feels uncomfortable, the photographer is getting frustrated because you're not a professional model and when they say to act a certain way you freeze. You have no idea what to do because that is not how your relationship works. Would you leave that session amped up to see your photo's? Or would you be sitting there in the days leading up to that photographer sending you your photos thinking about how awkward you felt and probably look?
If there is any piece of advice I could give to you, as a wedding photographer, it would be to invest time in your clients. Get to know them, their relationship, how they show affection towards each other. Understand that not every couple is going to be PDA central and give you every shot you want. Some couples are more reserved and you need to understand that THAT'S OKAY. Give yourself time to learn about who you are shooting so you can brainstorm and come up with new ways to tell their story.
You're probably sitting there thinking, "That is too much work and not part of my job description." I totally agree with you, it is not part of our job, but it is the difference between a bride and groom picking Joe Smo, whom they have a connection with, who is $1,000 over their budget over Jane Doe who is in their budget and treats them like any other client. If that is confusing in any way then think about it from your perspective. If you were looking for a wedding planner for your wedding, how would you choose between the two? Personally, I would choose the one that seemed invested in me, understanding me and my fiance, so she had the tools to give me everything I wanted.
Here is what I do from start to finish with my clients to give you a better understanding of what I mean...
When a bride inquires to me I always ask them how their day is, where they are from, if they have any weekend plans etc. I want to start a casual conversation instead of getting right to business. Call me cheesy or whatever, but I would much rather get an enthusiastic email back then a, "Hey Emma, Thanks for reaching out. Here is my pricing guide. Let me know if you have questions."
Instead maybe try:
I hope where ever you are the weather is nice because I am sitting on my back patio sulking in the sunshine! It's going to be a beautiful week in Kansas City, do you have any fun plans?
I am so happy that you were led in my direction. Photographing weddings is my passion and I am so excited that I get to share it with you! Tell me more about your wedding and your fiance. I want to know everything:)
I am attaching my style and pricing guide to this email. It'll give you a better idea of who I am, how I shoot, and how I price. Please if you have any questions or concerns about it I would love to help! "
Once a couple seems interested in booking me I have us meet for drinks so we can get to know each other. I'm so happy I started doing this because I'll end up having so much fun with some couples that I'll sit and talk with them for almost 2 to 3 hours.
Again, some of you might think that's a little extra that I do that. You do you, but this helps me learn more about the couple, how their relationship works, why they are attracted to each other, and other little things that are good knowing before we enter their engagement session or wedding.
Once a bride has booked me I make myself accessible to them for whatever they need. If they need help finding a florist, caterer, or just advice on where to buy bridesmaids dresses, help them out! It takes no more than 5 minutes to write a nice email with some suggestions.
I also correspond with them on a schedule of photos for their day. To me, I think it shows that I am organized and will bring my A-game to their wedding. It also helps couples understand what is going on the whole day.
The day of the wedding come a little early and scout the area for where to take wedding party and family pictures. Take pictures of these areas to show the couples in case they have any objections. Meet with your couples with confidence and enthusiasm. Most weddings are stressful so just offering to be an extra hand, telling the bridesmaids and the bride they look beautiful will really help lighten the mood. Bring a portable Bluetooth speaker and offer to put on some jams!
I have heard horror stories about photographers being aggressive to their couples or the wedding party on the day of someones wedding. I just wish I could shake those photographers and say " NOT YOUR DAY! GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER." Of course, some people are ass holes, I get that... but people are paying a lot of money for you to capture their wedding, don't create bad vibes because the groomsmen are being dicks. It happens, be light-hearted, be playful, and try and be their friend. If they see you are getting upset they will mess with you more and be even more annoying. That is something I have learned from being in the industry and it works wonders.
Be the bigger person, ignore the haters, and do your job well!
After every wedding, I send the couples some of my favorite edited images from their day and thank them for allowing me to be apart of their day. Couples don't expect you to have their photos done for a couple weeks, but it means a lot to them when you can send them 5-7 images for them to look at before their honeymoon. It also gets them hyped up and their enthusiasm will light a fire under your butt to finish their photos sooner.
Please don't feel like you have to take any of my advice! This is just what works for me and my business and my brand. I, as a human, value relationships and chose to incorporate that into how I run things. I believe in going the extra mile because that's what I think makes you stand out from the crowd and get booked more. If you have any questions about my post please ask! I would love to help you guys out!