My husband and I just celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. But besides getting a super awesome husband and a shiny new ring out of the deal, my wedding taught me some very valuable lessons that have since helped shape my own wedding photography business.
There are so many factors that can stress out a bride leading up to and on her wedding day and you, as a photographer, certainly don't want to add to her stess.
To make sure that doesn't happen, here are 4 essential lessons I learned from my own wedding that have helped me become a great wedding photographer & consistently exceed my clients expectations!
1. Be Careful When You Use Date Ranges for Photo Delivery
When you go through your contract with a potential client, they will often ask the age-old question, “When will I see my photos?”
Often photographers will give a canned response, “4-6 weeks”, and move on.
What you may not realize is that 6 weeks doesn’t mean anything to the bride. All the she will hear is “4 weeks”, and 4 weeks is what she will mark on her calendar as the exact day she will want to see her photos.
Seem absurd? Perhaps. But whereas you see those two weeks as a nice leeway for yourself in case you are running behind schedule, your client will see each passing day beyond the 4 weeks as another opportunity for you to disappoint her.
I am not suggesting you eliminate your date range altogether… just that you try to beat it every single time. If you need to cross over into the date range, then you should at least send your bride an update about why her photos are taking so long, and exactly when she can expect them. Setting a new date will allow her to relax a little and lay off her inbox refresh button.
2. Photograph Everyone at the Wedding
I know from experience how much time goes into building the wedding guest list for a wedding. Each person that makes the cut is chosen over someone else for various reasons that are personal to the bride and groom.
What you may not realize when you are building your guest list is that you probably won’t even have time to greet everyone that comes. Even if you have a receiving line, there is no guarantee that everyone will stick around for it.
So when it’s two months later, and your bride is wondering if Great Uncle Jack was at her wedding, and whether or not he had a good time, she will look through her wedding photos. And if she doesn't see him in the photos, he might as well not even have been there at all.
The important point is, if you (or your second shooter) have the time, make sure to get a photo of each wedding guest. Cocktail hour is the best time for this, so you can photograph the guests hanging out with people they actually like, instead of those awkward table shots.
3. Be as Flexible as Possible on the Wedding Day
Weddings never go exactly as planned. Maybe there was road construction that delayed guests by 30 minutes. Maybe the wrong numbers were sent to the catering staff, so dinner took twice as long. As a hired professional in the service industry, you must be flexible.
After all, your number one priority is to make the wedding couple happy (well, that and get paid… but we’re assuming they have already done that). If things are running a bit behind, would it really kill you to stick around a bit longer? Just imagine that it might be the tipping point between your clients being happy with your service and being thrilled by it. Try to exceed expectations!
And along those lines… do not complain; do not cause trouble with other vendors; do not go to the bride with issues or questions. Just suck it up and figure it out yourself. That’s what you are getting paid (hopefully) the big bucks for.
4. Be Consistent with your Post-Wedding Social Media Workflow
Imagine you are a bride and 6 weeks after your wedding, you are just waiting and hoping to see a photo from your big day.
Just one photo! Anything...PLEASE!
Then suddenly, you see a blog post go up on your photographer’s site. It’s someone else’s wedding, and… what’s this? Their wedding took place 3 weeks after yours!
Sucks, doesn’t it?
DO NOT be that photographer. The minute you start picking and choosing who gets a teaser and who gets a blog post and who gets nothing, you are playing mind games with your couples… making some of them think their wedding was not good enough for your social media or that their photos didn’t turn out to your liking.
If you are going to tease or blog your client's wedding photos, then you have to do it for everyone. No exceptions!
These things actually happened at my wedding and they taught me a valuable lesson about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and how important it is for a photographer to go the extra mile for their clients.
Hopefully these tips have made you think about how you can better serve your wedding clients now and in the future!
Do you have any questions or comments about our Tips for Being a Great Wedding Photographer? Leave us a comment below - We would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)!