Florals: The Garage by Ivy
In celebration of the debut of my 3-hour online class Wedding Crashers: A Crash Course in Wedding Photography that’s presented by Creative Groove today, I thought this was the perfect time to post about wedding photography for brides and wedding photographers! If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s time and you can download it even days after to watch at your own time. You will see an entire wedding I’ve shot from beginning to end to make sure you nailed the day!
- WEDDING PRICING
Brides: Prices do not skyrocket just because it’s your wedding. Calling it a “wedding” doesn’t make photography cost more, what actually makes it costly is that there are only 52 Saturdays/weekends in a year but the time involved to shoot. For a full-time wedding photographer, there is a minimum amount that needs to be made yearly in order to make a living and nearly 35% made goes to the government. You are paying for your photographer’s time on site, equipment usage which is tens of thousands of dollars, a second shooter, and editing time and also the creativeness that took years of workshops, trial and error, conferences and time in experience to cultivate. If photography is most important to you (considering the amount of money you are paying for the big day) I always suggest finding a photographer you love first, then revolve your budget around them. Trust me, you can do it!
Photographers: Price appropriately and stick to your minimum in order to make a living (especially if it’s your full time gig). There are 52 Saturdays in a year – price accordingly. Whatever your hourly rate is for portrait sessions, make sure it’s consistent with what is in your wedding package. For example, if 1 hour of shooting for you is $500, then your rate for weddings should be somewhat similar. $500 x 8 hours = $4000. It’s ok to discount like a package deal, but you shouldn’t do a portrait for $250 and then say your wedding rate is $4000. That’s when brides wonder why.
- IMAGES INCLUDED + WHEN THEY WILL BE RECEIVED
Brides: Know how many images you will receive and when to expect them. Know the minimum amount you will receive for the package you purchased because you cannot request more after the fact. Also, trust me when I tell you that you do not need 1000+ images from your wedding (I kindly decline the offer to shoot those weddings). You will frame probably less than a dozen, and favorite maybe a handful. The remaining go in a beautiful album on the coffee table or Facebook. Documenting your wedding is definitely important, but be realistic that you don’t need a flip book of the day – if you want that, consider hiring a cinematography team – they shoot at like a thousand frames per second. And please ask your photographer or check your contact about when you can expect your images – it should be in there.
Photographers: Don’t over deliver images. If you deliver over 1,500 images, you might be nuts – unless it’s an Indian Wedding. Make it clear to your brides how many images they will receive. Putting it in your contract will help avoid any confusion later down the line. And stop giving couples over a thousand images. Not necessary! I average 50 final images per hour. There are 60 minutes in an hour. That’s one image per minute which for my businesses works. My brides understand this and are OK with this when they book me. Any more than that, I would imagine is basically narrating the day in a flip book. When you say goodbye to your couple, let them know when they can expect the blog post and disc so they can be aware of the time.
- TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Brides: Know what type of photography you want. There are photojournalist style like documentary, and there’s portrait. Know which ones you really want more of. If you know, then allot for the appropriate amount of time for that. If you are keen on portraits, then do a first look and make time for portraits before and after the ceremony. Tell your photographer, but don’t just tell them, help them out by going along with the suggested timeline and allowing appropriate time for those portraits. If you don’t, you can’t expect your photographer to suddenly deliver a massive amount of portraits when you opted out of a first look and your ceremony ran late and you had to rush off to the reception.
Photographers: Ask your brides what is most important to them. To avoid the unhappy bride, try to understand what they will want at the end of the wedding day – more portraits or an overall journalistic storytelling approach. Once you find that out, check the wedding timeline to make sure that you feel comfortable with it to deliver. If you aren’t, tell your couple and if they still decide to go as planned, they cannot blame you when you gave your expert opinion.
- THE DETAILS GONE BAD
Brides: Things that occur out of our hands can sometimes affect how we perform. In order for us to perform our job efficiently, we need your appropriate parties to be ready and arrive on time (it’s even written in our contract so you understand how important this is). And because it’s a wedding day, things just don’t go perfect. Time is usually the culprit for most problems, so remember, no shot is guaranteed. When things malfunction, weather is bad, or when there’s a surprise dip in a dance, your bridesmaid needs to be sewn in her dress or your Uncle Bob decides he needs to get that shot on his Flip cam and jumps in front, stuff like that seriously happens. Moments end in seconds. The appropriate preparation can help – tell guests to not take photos. Also hire a professional makeup artist and hair stylist for your day – it is so important that you feel gorgeous on your big day and it will reflect in the images.
Photographers: Write this in your contract and know what is in your contract. Cover yourself in your contract in detail. Make sure that if you are asked to stay past your contracted time by the couple that they pay you the final balance prior to receiving their remaining images. I offer little things like thank you photo cards in my packages, but not in my basic coverage. However, my contract was confusing because there was a blank that asked how many thank you cards would be needed. I didn’t realize this until a week prior to the wedding but I wasn’t going to drop the bomb on my couple, it was my fault so I sucked up the cost. Then, I modified my contract to be very clear. Also tell your couple if they hire a videography team or allow wannabe photographer friends to take photos that it may and will compromise certain shots. Every one wants their shot and every one thinks their job is important, the more you educate them, the more they can decide what they want to do.
- WEDDING TIMELINE
Brides: We give a suggested timeline for a reason. There’s a suggested timeline I give to my couples before wedding invitations are printed and it’s to benefit them. I look up their sunset time on their day and for the most part, my brides listen. Some couples want to see their out of town guests and spend time with them so they don’t want to spend time taking pictures all day. I was a bride, and I did a first look. I highly recommend it and doing portraits before the ceremony. You know what it’s like to work under stress or a packed day from one meeting stacked after another? That’s sort of what happens if you don’t have a lucrative timeline on your big day. If it’s too busy and you aren’t giving your photographer enough time to set up or shoot, you should consider adding on an additional hour or two. More portrait time = more portrait photos. Remember, your photographer has the wedding experience.
Photographers: Get involved in your couple’s timeline. Really get involved with your couple’s time line as soon as you can. I suggested the ceremony time the first time I meet with a couple then go into the first look benefits. Before they leave a meeting with me they have their suggested time line done and can now print their invitations and tell their wedding coordinator. If a couple decides to not follow, please educate them on the consequences.
- ORDERING PROFESSIONAL PRINTS
Brides: It’s not to get more money from you, it’s quality control. Spending thousands on wedding photography is a big deal, and the time you paid your photographer to cull, edit and process the images is exactly why you paid the rate you did. Don’t half quality it by taking your final images on disc to Costco or Walgreens to be printed. You might think the difference is subtle, it’s not. Look here for an example. Photographers don’t make much off the print orders, it’s more of an additional service provided that our clients can get the best and prettiest images with the intended colors. Go all the way with quality from your photographer to the final prints displayed – go with a print lab. I promise it’s worth it.
Photographers: Provide a print service for your clients, if not, at least direct them somewhere to print. Providing a source for a print lab to print the final images is so nice for your clients who value your work. If you prefer not to offer this service, include instructions of places of labs that can print, and make sure you have checked out their quality and you approve. I’m very particular about this.
- FRIENDS DON’T HIRE FRIENDS
Brides: Don’t hire your photographer friends. You want to give business to your friend, which is awesome. However, if you want your friend to enjoy your wedding, just have them as a guest. If you really want their talents and you love them, then please be understanding, graceful and appreciative of the service your friend is giving you as a professional. Depending on the relationship and type of person you might be, you might be too demanding, have high expectations and have such transparency that it actually hurts your friend’s feelings when they really tried so hard. Bottom line: If you want your friend to stay your friend, then find someone else to hire.
Photographers: Don’t shoot your friends. There is a very serious commitment to shooting your friends wedding. There is more stress, and more aim to please which is natural. If you do decide to shoot, proceed with all caution and awareness that your feelings may be hurt. They might ask for more because they feel comfortable with you. Criticism hurts more when it comes from a friend who may not know how much longer you stayed and had to pay your second shooter the additional hour, or how much quicker you edited for them. I would strongly advise not at all costs. I do become friends with my clients AFTER the wedding and that has worked out the best for me and my business.
- HIRING A VIDEO TEAM
Brides: Hire a videographer/cinematographer if you need every moment captured. You hire a photographer for portraits to frame. You hire a videographer to put voice with the motion. Don’t expect your photographer to have still frames of what your videographer captures. Your photographer and videographer are two different artists and will capture different angles, moments and details. If you still feel like you need more portraits of yourself, hire a day after session, that would be fun too!
Photographers: Work with the video crew to get shots and be aware of the ones who may get in your way. Introduce yourself to the video/cinema team and work together to get the shots you need. Be aware that there are some teams who take their job incredibly seriously that they will might be more in your way than others. You’ll just have to communicate that to them and also discuss with the bride and or planner which is more of a priority – the photos or the video which can ultimate determine the proximity of the video/cinema team.
If you are thinking about going into wedding photography, or brushing up on how you approach weddings, take my Wedding Crashers: A Crash Course in Wedding Photography today at 3 pm PST with downloadable recorded playback!
Diana Elizabeth says for brides and wedding photographers, connecting together is so important. Treating each other with respect and love is just as important but most of all, having the right perspective as a business owner and a bride can help put everything – the wedding day, life and expectations in general in a much better place.