Over the years I have heard some horror stories from guests and clients about other weddings. These tales of terror have in turn instilled certain universal fears of worst case wedding photography scenarios in the minds of couples. But fear not! In today’s blog, the top fears about wedding photographers, and some solutions to put your mind at ease.
Photographer won’t show up. By far, this is the number one concern I hear from couples. I’m not even sure how the urban myth of the runaway wedding photographer started. Caterers, DJs, and other vendors never seem to hear this from clients, but wedding photographers hear it all the time. Here’s the reality: I work alone, and yes, I could get hit by a bus on the way to your wedding. Barring any act of God or a major catastrophe, however, I am going to be at your wedding. Why? Simple: I am only as good as my last wedding. The wedding photography business is fueled by reviews and word-of-mouth advertising. If I were to not show up, or to even be late, you can be sure that word of this would spread via bad reviews and would affect my business down the road. Needless to say, this is motivation enough to get me to the church on time. I know lots of photographers, and none of them have ever, EVER missed a wedding.
And speaking of which, let’s say something does happen to me on the day of the wedding. I have a huge network of photographers to call upon to get you a replacement. In my own little hamlet of Kew Gardens alone I have five photographers on speed dial. Further, as a member of three professional photography organizations – PPA, WPPI, and WPJA – plus a number of photographer Facebook groups, my network is vast. Still, I am never going to need to call upon these other photographers because I will be at your wedding on time. So relax, and let’s say it together: I will be at your wedding.
Losing your wedding photos. This is an actual worst case scenario that I heard recently: the wedding photographer of the client’s sister had all of her images somehow erased by the wedding photographer. Yikes. Technical glitches can always happen, but there are ways to prevent them. For me, I shoot using low gigabyte cards. Most cameras now use cards that can hold up to 16GB and 32GB and even 64GB of data. This is great, but if something happens to the card, then all the data on the card can be lost. My solution is to shoot using 8GB cards. By having to switch cards more often, I limit the amount of damage to one card. Every photographer has a card that will go funky once in a blue moon, but with proper care this is a negligible issue.
More important is what happens to the images after the photo shoot. Every photographer should have a backup plan in place to save images. My own methodology is to save my photos immediately to a separate hard drive, as well as on to my computer. Until your images are fully edited and sent to you electronically, I keep all of your images on their original cards for safe keeping. Only after the delivery of the final images do I erase your cards. And you should know I always keep your images. In addition to saving every image from every client I have ever photographed (it’s a lot!) to separate hard drives, I also make DVD backups of every image and save the images to offline cloud storage. So that’s three copies of your images saved across three different mediums. Trust me, your images are safe.
Taking too long with family and bridal party portraits. We have all been in weddings where it felt like the portrait process took ages. I know you want to get to the bar cocktail party. The whole point of a wedding is to have a good time and celebrate the couple in love. As such, I limit my family portrait time to 30 minutes, and my bridal party portraits to 20 minutes. It really should never take any longer than this, barring any specific requests from the bride and groom like photos in a different location. My belief is that the best photos from any event come when the guests don’t know that the camera is even there. Portraits, while a wonderful way to record who was there and what they were wearing, are just that – a record. The energy and personality of your event can only be told through candid photography, and that’s what I want to concentrate my time on. To help make sure the portrait time goes as smoothly – and quickly – as possible, I always ask my clients for a list of who is to be photographed. Maybe you don’t need every family combination or a photo with each individual bridesmaid? If not, let’s save some time. Further, I also ask for a family ‘wrangler’ to be designated to help crack the whip. This wrangler knows all the major players, and to get the stragglers up to the front of the photo line.
Bonus: You won’t get the photos you want. Yep, I’ve heard this complaint a lot online. It seems that some photographers have in their mind one version of the wedding, while the bride had a completely separate perspective. Here’s how to fix that: communication. My whole motto is that these are YOUR photos, not pretty pictures for my portfolio. Within the parameters of my artistic vision and style, the photos I take should reflect what you – the client – want. I always send my clients a ‘homework’ sheet that has a long list of both people you want me to include in portraits (grandmother coming over from Sicily, etc.) as well as a list of details or DIY projects you want to make sure I photograph. I also work with my clients to create a visual mood board through Pinterest thus ensuring we are on the same page, artistically-speaking. This gets a bit tricky because my style is my style. I can never see the world through any other lens but my own. Conversely, you should never hire a photographer thinking you want to change their style in terms of lighting, action shots, or editing. But that said, what clients can suggest to me on Pinterest is a specific pose, feel, or location and then I can do my best to put my own spin on the photo. I never want to copy another photographer’s work, but I can definitely incorporate the sentiment of the work into my own. Bottom line: I want you to be happy.
So what about you? What are YOUR photography fears for your upcoming event? Do you have any horror stories you would like to share as a warning to others? Let me know in the comments!
The photos accompanying this article are from a sweet backyard wedding I photographed in my own backyard, here in Kew Gardens. The couple, Deidra and Adam, were surrounded by friends and family as they said ‘I do.’ Enjoy the pics!
If you would like to see more images from my portfolio, then please visit my website – www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com