Wedding Photography (My top 3 tips that have worked for me)

I wanted to go over some things to help some amateur (starting out) photographers.  I was asked by a friend (amateur photographer)  recently how I go about working with clients and some do’s and don’ts about wedding photography.   After talking with her I decided I wanted to share how I go about things and share them with anyone else that it might help.   These are some things that have helped me greatly in working with wedding clients and helping me grow as a wedding photographer.  These tips are just how I do things.  You do not have to follow these particular way’s but these techniques and ideas have worked for me.  You can create your own workflow or even just take an idea to help in you starting out.   You will also see the VIDEO below of me talking about the same things I wrote in this blog. 🙂

  1. Meet with your client:
    This is very important.   I believe you should meet with the client, build a relationship with them and talk about particulars that are important to your client.  When you meet with a client this allows you to see how the chemistry will work between you and the client.   Meeting the client also allows the client to see & for you to show first hand your photography work.  The client can then ask any questions dealing with your work.  Most photographers bring pieces of their portfolio either in book form or electronic form for the client to see.    The client can also let you know what she/he is looking for and what her/his thoughts are on how she/he wants the wedding photographed.
  2. Talking about & signing a wedding contract:
    This should be something that is talked about even before the meeting takes place.    The contract helps protect you as the photographer and protects the client as well.  The contract will help state the time, place, date and deposit plus the cost of the wedding.  When the client signs this you have proof that the client accepted the terms and conditions of your photographic services.  This also helps the client in making sure she/he has a copy of what she/he expects of you as the photographer.  You can find different styles of wedding contracts if you Google wedding contracts.  You can also go another route and talk to local lawyers in your area to help you create a wedding contract as well.  Either way it is smart to have a contract signed so that you the photographer and the client can have some piece of mind at the end of the day.
  3. Visit the location of the wedding:
    You should visit the location of the wedding at least 1 day before the wedding.  I would recommend earlier but that is your call.   I visit the location with the client, if I can’t with the client then I will call the client while I am at the location.  If there is a wedding planner taking care of the details then I would meet up with him/her and then call the client to verify the information the wedding planner gave to me.  I have had wedding planners give me false information and it caused major confusion.  So I now always talk with the wedding client even after I talk to the wedding planner.   I go over where the ceremony is taking place, how many guests are expected, what locations I am available to stand at (in case of professional video work being done also), how close does the client want us (my team) to be and most of all where is the family going to be seated.  I look for where the family is going to be seated so my assistant can get photographs of the family and their reaction to the ceremony while I focus on the ceremony itself.  I also get photographs of the family’s reaction during the ceremony but I put my main focus on the ceremony itself because I am there to capture that couples amazing moment.

Writing out a schedule of the WEDDING (IMPORTANT!):

I make a schedule list.  This schedule list helps remind me what time each event is going to be happening.  I will talk with the client and or wedding planner about the time frame of the wedding.  Some places where weddings are being held have a time restraint because the client might be renting out the location for the wedding.   So I get a play by-play from the client and wedding planner and type it out so I know exactly what is going on.   Now this will change.. no wedding ever goes according to the time schedule.. BUT and this is very important!!!.. if you do not have a list of times or a schedule to refer back to and you have to consistently ask the bride or wedding planner what is going on then you will look very unprofessional and not only will the bride and wedding planner see this, so will the guests.  I do believe that strongly because I have seen it happen.. (I did that when I first started).   The way you represent yourself will help your photography grow and they (the client) will pass on the word about your work and professionalism to other people.    Remember if you are starting your own photography studio you are the face and sales pitch for your photography.  Be professional and consistent and you will see your studio/photography grow,  not only because of your great work but also your professional attitude.  So don’t make the first mistake I did when I started… create a wedding schedule and keep it in your pocket and give one to your assistant also (if you have one) so you and or your assistant can refer to it.  This will save you a lot of headache and also show the couple and guests how awesomely professional you are!!! 🙂

This is just a sample of what I do with my Schedule List for my weddings:
(you should be able to click on the SAMPLE and it will pop up in a bigger page)

I hope this helps anyone out wanting to delve into wedding photography.  It can be a stressful thing when you are doing your first wedding shoot.  The only thing you need to do is trust in your work and make sure your client has seen your work!!! If the client has not seen your work then shame on them and most of all shame on you! 🙂  You need to show the client what you are able to do in your photography!  This will help you grow as a photographer and then if the client likes your work that client will share their experience with everyone they know.

I hope this helps anyone out just starting out in wedding photography.  Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts!  Thanks for reading, take care and I will talk to you soon.  Much Love.

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