Note: This blog was originally published in March of 2014. People really seemed to take to it. A few months ago I moved my website over to Squarespace and lost 8 years of blog posts (tear). So, I've been slowly moving the ones I did have saved over to the new site. Since this one was so popular, I thought I'd resurrect it for the year 2016. Enjoy!
I’m all about being an open book. I’ve had SO many conversations with folks about what we WISH we could tell clients but don’t….out of fear mostly. We want to give our clients the world, but at the same time I don’t know too many other people who attend as many weddings as we do….so we learn a few things.
So, I decided to lay it all out there. 25 things we WISH we could tell you……just consider this your little bit of insider information :)
1. Pinterest is Not Real Life.
I blogged about Pinterest at length last year, but it’s kind of become the best and worst thing that’s happened to the wedding industry in the past few years. It’s WONDERFUL for organizational purposes, for seeing where your head is as far as what you like and what you don’t…..but if you’ve printed out a 5 page booklet of Pinterest derived images for your photographer to replicate……oy. We’re gonna think you’re crazy. Be forewarned.
Your wedding is YOUR wedding, not some pre-designed Pinterest event. Let it happen naturally.
2. Don’t Let People Walk All Over You
This is YOUR wedding….so don’t let a pushy friend force you into some cheesetastic posing that they did at her wedding 10 years ago….and don’t let your mom try to take over church portrait time. Weddings are a perfect time to try on those big girl panties for the first time.
3. Strapless Dresses Are Not For Everyone.
Nope. They’re not. Ain’t nuttin’ wrong with sleeves. Just ask Kate Middleton.
4. Your Dress is PROBABLY Going to Get Dirty.
So just “Let it Go” (yep, that’s SO stuck in your head now, isn’t it?)
5. If Your Groom Hates Pictures, Have the Come to Jesus Talk With Him PRE-WEDDING
This is the day for Groomy to suck it up. No amount of whining or “I don’t wanna do this anymore” is helpful…..and it just leads to “why aren’t there more pictures of my groom?!?!” afterwards. It ain’t gonna kill him to just smile and make it work.
6. I Can’t Tell You if Your Hair or Makeup Looks Ridic.
Dude, have you SEEN my hair? Seriously? And I rarely even WEAR makeup (I will wear some to your wedding though, so people don’t think your photographer has the flu). So, if your chosen hairstylist gives you some jacked up “do”….I am probably not going to say anything. I’m going to assume it looks the way it’s supposed to look. Because I am not a hairstylist.
(PS: If your makeup is smeared all over your face or your hairstyle is falling OUT…I will say something. I’m not completely inept in the ways of beauty. I read Cosmo.)
7. Certain “Traditions” Kinda Give People the Willies
This can certainly vary by region…..but I know the general consensus is that the Dollar Dance is pretty passe, the bride should probably refrain from keg stands, and smashing cake in your beloved’s face isn’t as cute as you think it is.
8. Glitter Doesn’t Make You Glow-y
In fact, on camera, it kind of looks like dandruff. Just sayin’.
9. We Don’t Know Your Family
Yes, I know. You gave us a list with people’s names on it. I should know that you need a picture with Uncle Kenny from Arkansas. Problem is, I have no freakin’ idea who Uncle Kenny from Arkansas is among the 200 guests at your wedding. I shoot many many weddings a year, with many Uncle Kenny’s. I try very hard to find out who people are, but if this is a must-take image…than just take a minute or two, hunt down Uncle Kenny for me (or designate a friendly Uncle Kenny finder), and let’s make it happen : )
10. I Can’t Make 4 Hours of Pictures Happen in 30 Minutes
Because I’m not a Time Lord.
(I am, however, a huge nerd. That doesn’t really help me timing wise either.)
11. Food Is Fundamental
Every photographer is different. Some require a meal be provided to them. Some do not. Some bring their meal. But, we needs to eat. A fed photographer is a happy photographer. And it's actually beneficial to you, the client, if we are fed when you are….not after everyone else. Typically we have to stop eating to capture the speeches….(and more often than not return to our little nook to find someone took our untouched plate). If we can slam some grub before dinner is fully served, we’ll be ready and rarin’ to go when the festivities begin in earnest….not scrounging for leftover salads and bread or getting ready to pass out in the corner because all we’ve eaten all night are cocktail cherries (true story).
12. No You Cannot Have Every Picture We Took
We don’t do this to be big mean jerkfaces. Even as professionals, not every picture we take is a winner. Some are downright unflattering. Some have bad light. Sometimes the flash hasn’t recycled yet and didn’t fire. So, this is why we edit. We go through and we customize your collection. Believe me, we didn’t get rid of anything that is integral to your day.
13. Forewarn Your Shooter
If the church lady at your chosen venue is completely scary and mean…..if there is familial strife that is going to cause odd issues the day of…..if your Grandma is blind and needs extra assistance... We need to know these things. If anything to simply avoid awkward situations.
Take it from someone who once assumed someone’s Sister was their Grandma. Yeah. That was fun.
14. SLOW DOWN.
Dude, I can’t tell you how many bridal parties book down the aisle like it’s a race…..only to have the couple wonder later why I only managed 1 shot of each pairing during the processional. SLOW. DOWN. (and LOOK UP! and for God's Sake SMILE!)
15. Engagement Sessions Help Immensely!
It’s not just a sales tactic to say that Engagement Sessions are SUPER helpful. It’s the best time to have a relaxed, “getting to know you” session with your shooter. Find out how they direct and even maybe point out some issues BEFORE the big day that you didn’t realize would be there. They’re also helpful for me to see if one of you has a Chandler Smile that needs to be remedied before the wedding.
16. Control Your Uncle Bob
This is a toughy. It is. Everyone and their mom has a camera these days…..and everyone looks at your wedding as their chance to rock on with their bad selves and present you with pictures afterwards.
I cannot TELL you how many cellphones/iPads/cameras/flashes I have to contend with during processionals. It’s just par for the course, these days, but I no longer have a background of adoring faces watching the bride approach her husband to be. I have a bunch of devices.
Consider having a device-free ceremony (you’ll be cutting edge, I swear) or at the very least, try to control your overbearing shutterbug of a relative from jumping in the fray of family formals. It’s hugely distracting, especially if one is under a deadline.
17. Friends Do Not Make Good Vendors
Now, this is NOT necessarily a hard and fast rule….just one I’ve seen played out again and again. I’ve had couples contact me and say “We’ve decided to have a friend photograph our wedding as a gift”
There’s a few things that can go awry with this plan:
1. Often…Friend is not a wedding photographer….they’re a camera owner. There’s a big difference here.
2. If friend IS a professional wedding photographer, resentment can crop up if they’re not being fairly compensated for their work.
3. If friend has OTHER friends at the wedding, it can be tough to be in work mode 100% when others are in party mode.
4. If you wanna keep “Friend” a Friend…..let them come as a guest and hire a non-friend professional. However, as your friend, I can’t promise I won’t be watching your chosen shooter like a hawk. : )
18. Happy Brides = Great Pictures
Your attitude on your wedding day DIRECTLY relates to your images….I can’t capture blissful peace and overwhelming happiness if it isn’t there. So, I will vow to try my utmost to “capture the happy”, but it helps to “check yo self” and RELAX. Don’t let the day run you over. It’s a BIG day…an important one….but one you want to look back on fondly…not remember as the night you went crazy, had too much to drink and yelled at your best friend.
19. It Might Rain/Snow/Sleet/Be Cold/Be Hot/Be Windy On Your Day
Wish I could control the weather. REALLY wish I could. In my line of work it would be a massively kick-butt superpower. Alas, I cannot. So just roll with it. We’ll work it out.
20. Gigantic Drunk Bridal Parties Will Affect Your Images
TRUST ME on this one. I know it’s your big party day, but if you’ve planned 15 different stops in 1 hour with your 21 nearest and dearest….who are all partaking in the bubbly on the bus….I’m just little ole me…..have mercy. Maybe designate your bossiest and most sober pal as the Bridal Party Picture Manager….to keep everyone in check.
21. Hold that KISS
Remember when I said “slow down”? This applies to the kiss at the altar too. If you do some 1 second airy platonic peck….the chances of me catching it diminish by quite a bit, and then we have to awkwardly recreate it later.
Extra cool points to those couples who do 2-3 kisses in a row. : )
22. SMILE for Crying Out Loud!
I know you’re nervous….I know you feel like you’re gonna puke. But, SMILE. It’s a happy day. If I’m being all ninja stealthy and trying to capture candids and you’ve got bitchy resting face the entire time……meh, not good.
23. We Tend to Book Early
This is the God’s honest truth. People typically book their venue…then the photographer. In recent years we’ve been getting a lot of late bookers…which is totally weird…but not the norm.
Don’t chance it.
24. It Drives Us Nuts to Miss Perfect Photo Ops.
This MAY just be me….and a few friends I know. Type A and all that. But it actually makes me TWITCHY if there’s a GORGEOUS sunset and no one wants to utilize it. So, if your photographer runs up to you all out of breath and giddy and asks for 5 minutes…TAKE IT. It’ll be worth it.
25. We Cannot Read Minds
This would also be super cool and helpful, but alas…not to be. If you don’t have good, open communication with your chosen photographer…you can’t expect them to do everything you envision flawlessly. Chances are we’ve only met face to face a handful of times and I’m going on only what you tell me.
Remember, I WANT to rock it out for you. We all do. The great majority of us pride ourselves on kicking ass and taking names every weekend. But we need to work together to make that happen.
All in all, all most of us want are chill, easy-to-work-with folks who are happy on their day. Who have realistic expectations…..and don’t call us “hey you”. We all want to have an awesome time….and now you have a little insider info on how to make that happen!