15+ Things Your Wedding Photographer Won't Say, but Maybe Kinda Wishes You Knew...
#1. I’m really bummed when you go with someone else JUST because they are cheaper (or — my personal favorite — they are running a Black Friday deal)
I understand budgets, and I understand that there is a chance that I might not fit into yours. But, this is your wedding day we’re talking about!!! Whoever you entrust to capture your day, at least make sure you love their work long-term, and that you guys are a good fit. Once the day is a blur (which for some happens the next morning, accompanied by a killer hangover), all you will have left to remember it by is your photos and the experience you had. Choose wisely, so you don’t have any regrets down the road.
#2. When you say you have a Pinterest board with all kinds of photos you want me to get, it makes me want to run away screaming Ace Ventura style!!!
My goal is to capture you and your day beautifully, in a way that tugs on your heart strings, inspired by your unique connection. Being presented with other photographers' work for me to duplicate with you two is a creative buzz kill, not to mention often completely impossible (different locations, different dress size, different time of day, different season?). Pictures in gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany in the Summer are sure not going to look the same as our Minnesota in the Winter. If you booked me, chances are you love my work, and you love my style, so let me get to know the two of you, and try something fun and out of the box instead (i.e.: let me do the job you hired me for?). As long as you show up ready to enthusiastically participate in any play and shenanigans we come up with, we’ll create something awesome together! And, who knows - maybe it will be YOUR photos that end up on Pinterest’s most wanted next!
#3. You don’t have to have a 2nd Shooter, but keep in mind they give me an extra set of hands, and eyes, to take care of you better.
As the lead photog I have my hands full (literally, and figuratively speaking) - I’m generally focused on making sure the day is running smooth beyond trying to capture everything (occasionally you might find me pinning the boutonnieres as well). The 2nd Shooter is a helping hand when I’m short of extra appendages. All kinds of risks, like completely unexpected equipment malfunctions for example, are made less impactful when there are 2 people photographing and manning your day.
#4. It bums me out when you want to skip the Engagement session, or “just have a friend” take your photos.
An engagement session is somewhere between a dry run and a dress rehearsal for your wedding day. It gives all of us the feel for working together, and it helps me figure out how to capture you best. Some poses can feel a bit awkward, where others will come completely natural to you. Your e-sesh gives me a chance to test some ideas and see what works well with the two of you unique people, figure out your sense of humor, and let loose with some unscripted fun. Even more than building your confidence for being in front of the camera and being directed, it also helps us get to know each other, so you feel like you’re working with a friend rather than a stranger come the big day.
#5. Chances are I care WAAAAY too much.
I probably get way more nervous than you do before the engagement session and your wedding. Why? It’s because I REALLY CARE so much, and I want you to have THE BEST experience and LOVE your photos. That's a lot to live up to, with things rarely going exactly as planned (wedding gremlins, anyone?). Nerves aside, you can count on me to do my best, be there to help keep you calm, and do everything I can to help keep your day on track. With a great plan, shaking off any small hiccups, your day will be AWESOME, and as unique as the two of you. We’ll have a blast! I can’t wait!!!
#6. I REALLY hope that you come ready to play and completely ignore me, rather than just wanting to look at the camera.
You likely already have a gazillion selfies with your sweetheart, and mom and grandma will get some classics for their fridge during family portraits. So, no worries! We’ve got the basics covered! As for me, I want to create some beautiful moments for you two to share - from quiet snuggles and kisses to goofing off and flirting away. With some direction and sometimes just letting you be (possibly papa-razzing from behind a bush), I want to capture real emotions, so you remember exactly how you felt when these images still make you smile years from now. And, if we are really lucky, you’ll get lost in the moment, and completely forget I’m even there. That’s when real magic is born.
#7. I want you to do a First Look on your wedding day.
Though a First Look makes for a less complicated itinerary, it’s not the main reason why you should consider one. The First Look is a chance for you two to share a beautiful and intimate moment without an audience and without distractions. It also allows me to get MUCH BETTER PHOTOS of your reactions since there are no people to work around - we have the place to ourselves, and I can pick a spot where the light and background are MAGIC. If seeing his reaction as he sees you for the first time is something you really look forward to, and hope for me to document, I really hope you’ll do a First Look.
BONUS! — You generally end up with way more images of the two of you when you do a First Look, because we can often knock out some fun photos of the two of you after the First Look AND also sneak away for sunset photos later in the day. Score, and hello variety!
#8. There is no such thing as a “perfect wedding day”, and your dress will get dirty. Fact.
When you combine the explosive anticipation, expectations, family dynamics, unpredictable weather, and the wedding gremlins, as much as I’d love for your day to go off without a hitch, things will probably go a bit sideways somewhere in there. The more chill you are about the small hiccups along the way, and the more you TRUST ME and allow me to be creative, the more PERFECT your day will be, and the better your photos will turn out. My advice? Have a good plan, but be flexible!!! Focus on what matters most (each other). Don’t sweat the small stuff!! Bring Shout on-the-go Wipes (for the dress, just in case). As long as you’re having fun, and let things roll off of you, you will remember the day as the unique and beautiful day it was. Not to mention, it’s much easier for me to get great photos if you’re enjoying yourselves than if you’re having a melt-down...
#9. The Photographer's Post-Wedding Day Hangover. It’s a thing.
With everyone and their grandma asking me questions, all kinds of decisions to be made on the spot, getting behind schedule and trying to catch up, working with crappy high noon lighting and figuring out how to make everyone look best, and many many more things that have me on my feet literally and figuratively, it’s a LOONG ASS DAY. Pardon my French. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and knowing that I create images for you to cherish the rest of your life is equal parts humbling and richly satisfying. Still, a wedding day is both emotionally and creatively draining for me, so if you see me sit down for a minute, don’t assume I’m lazy, just assume I’m quite possibly… tired, and I’m taking a minute to recharge and possibly grab a bite, or a sip of water, before the next set of events requires my full attention.
#10. It reeeeeally gets to me when you put an Instagram filter on my photos.
I spend COUNTLESS HOURS behind the scenes, editing each and every image to look beautiful for your gallery. I hope you share those images, swoon over them, and cherish them for years to come! When you take your own creative license and apply a filter to my photos (also known as a violation of my copyright), it just makes me feel like all my hard work is wasted since obviously you don’t appreciate it. Not to mention that my name is now attached to something that doesn’t look remotely like My Style, potentially costing me some awesome couples that would have otherwise hired me to capture their wedding. So, from the bottom of my heart, and EVERY SINGLE photographer in the world, I hope you use the photos as they were delivered (and list photo cred when sharing online).
#11. Nope, you can’t have every Black and White photo in Color.
Long story short, not every photo works in color, and some images only have SOUL in monochrome. I want to only give you the best images, edited to look their best, and that means that you will be getting an artful mix of color and black and whites in your wedding day portfolio. Working with very dim lighting, super tall ceilings and dark venues, mixed indoor/outdoor lighting, colorful distractions in the background, or plainly not having enough time to react and get the settings just right might be some of the ways a superb B&W will emerge where a color image would have otherwise be tossed. Since there are many reasons why and how a B&W is born, you can ask, but be prepared for me to say "sorry, no". Believe me, I obsess over this editing stuff way more than you will ever know.
#12. I do want to have input on your wedding day timeline (i.e.: review the final draft and make suggestions, NOT create the whole thing for you)
I get it, planning can be scary. That's why I've put LOTS of time and thought into creating an uber helpful Wedding Day Guide & Itinerary Template to help take the guess-work out of it all -- how much time to reserve for the first look, factoring in drive time, making sure mom's makeup is done in time for her helping you into the dress, remembering the cake cutting tools, etc. It's all in there!! I do need you to remember that I am your wedding photographer NOT your wedding coordinator, however, and you need to own the planning process for your day. Keep in mind, the wedding season is an absolutely crazy time for me -- with every waking moment spent either shooting or editing, and I likely also have 5+ brides planning their weddings at the same time, and asking me questions. It can get a bit much… So, as long as you use the tools I've provided, it should get you about 95+% of the way there. And, don't worry, it all tends to come together in the end! How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. :)
SIDE NOTE - The itinerary is NOT for me! It’s for all of us, but mainly it’s for you and ‘your people’. I really do expect you to share the final version with everyone and their grandma! (include DJ, videographer, florist, and whoever else needs to know!) If you’re not going to share it, we’ll likely be missing some details, wedding party won’t be ready when they are supposed to be, half the family won’t show up to the photos… The day will go so much smoother if everyone knows the plan! And, they’ll all help make your dream a reality! The wedding day goes so much smoother and more relaxing when more people help out :)
#13. It's really disappointing when you post my images on Instagram and Facebook and don’t give me photo credit.
Taking photos is not just a "sweet hobby" for me, I don’t do this on the side, it’s the way I help provide for my family. The way I can keep doing what I do easier is if lovely people like you help spread the word, and possibly help connect me with more lovely people that might hire me for their weddings, newborn sessions, and other events in their life. From the bottom of my heart - a huge thank you to everyone that’s given me photo credit and for every single sweet and kind word. Mua! You rock!!
#14. “You can just Photoshop that out, right?” —— No comment.
Don’t assume that everything is super easy and quick to edit out (or edit in), because a lot of things ARE NOT (quick or easy), and some things downright require graphic design expertise (subject to a per Image Design Fee). I try to fix as many things as I can while I"m shooting, so I don’t spend hours fixing things that could have been easily avoided. So, let’s tuck in your dress's hanger strap (or better yet, cut it off), make sure your bra isn’t showing, tidy up the groomsmen getting ready suite just a bit, and definitely make sure that Grandpa Gary makes it into the family photos.
#15. I’m not God
I can’t control the weather, I can’t read your mind, and I can’t be in more than one place at the same time. Thankfully, we can mitigate some of these shortcomings with good planning and communication. Though it might also not be humanly possible to catch every single moment you envision, I can promise you that I will capture some that you never knew you wanted that you absolutely FALL IN LOVE WITH at first sight!!! So, keep me in the loop about any surprises not on the itinerary, get some clear umbrellas just in case the day is as misty as your dad’s eyes during his speech, take a deep breath, and smile at your beau! If you just trust me, and you’re up for some windblown hair, your photos will come out great. Rain or shine! (Fun Fact! I’m probably wishing for an overcast day anyway… It’s better for photos ;)).
#16. (BONUS!!!!) - Things take longer than you think, so you need to make sure there is margin in your wedding day (for the unexpected). And yes, you might have to be selective, because as they say “You can’t have it all”. Sorry. I wish ;) - Yes, you heard me correctly — things take longer than you think they will, or should, take, and… you can’t have it all. I know. Don’t shoot the messenger.
There’s only so much time to work with on a wedding day (which, keep in mind is a long-ass day for me as it is ;)) And, though a photo is fairly simple to take, and it might look like a candid snap, it might take some setup time or cleanup or other prep. Not to mention, I need the right gear with me, the right settings, the right background, and so on. And, every 10-20 minutes of setup (or delays) adds up. If you try to squeeze every possible thing into the day, chances are at some point you’re going to hear me say “things are too tight” or “we don’t have time for that”. It’s not because I’m a mean droid trying to suck all the fun out of your day, I just know a tight itinerary when I see one (having done 100+ weddings at the time I write this). Think about it this way - if a recipe says the chicken takes 2 hours in the oven to bake, the chicken will not magically take 20 minutes just because you want it to. ;) You are welcome to test this one out of your next gathering, but I can tell you right now, you’ll be ordering a pizza. ;)
And, let’s also get on the same page about this one — I’m not a robot. Sure, at certain times of day I can (and do) bang out a checklist (ex. family photos I try to go pretty fast during), but you will not get the creative me if your day is nuts. And, you’re not doing me any favors by fixing your itinerary to be humanly possible to execute. We’ll either fix it ahead of your wedding day, and you might have to be selective on what makes it into the timeline, OR you will put all of us (you, me, your family, your wedding party) through an ordeal, and have to make nips and tucks on the go, which wastes more time. Trust me. The chicken does take the 2 hours! ;)
Lastly, things rarely go as planned on a wedding day. That ‘margin’ we’re talking about is to preserve all of our sanity so you don’t lose it when someone makes a human mistake and forgets something, or gets nervous poops at the wrong time (yes, I’ve seen it happen…) ;)