5 Things Wedding Photographers Think About So You Don’t Have To
5 Things Wedding Photographers Think About so You Don’t Have To
I have a certain few privileges that are unique to me as a wedding photographer.
There’s a lot going on at any wedding, and it takes a fair few wedding suppliers to do great work at the right time to help make everything come together. Preparations before the wedding and all of the planning in the world are going to be the best platform for your wedding to go off in style, but there are movements and shifts through the actual day that have to be co-ordinated and sometimes nudged to keep things running smoothly.
The venue can provide a certain support with some of the most hands on and dedicated managers on hand, but some venues have co-ordinators that might even disappear during the run-time simply leaving the caterers to pick up the reigns.
Either can work well, depending on the venue, but there will be one person in the mix who is discreetly orchestrating and encouraging the party along. Your wedding photographer is likely the only supplier who is there from the beginning right through until the end and a good wedding photographer is doing this without fuss, and without needing thanks, but always with one thing in mind; “If things run smoothly, the Bride and Groom are happier, less stressed. If the Bride and Groom are not stressed, then their guests are not stressed. If everyone is relaxed, then I get better photographs!”
It’s not a secret agenda. It’s just something I’ve found that helps me deeply integrate into each and every wedding so I can get to a place where I can find real wedding photography GOLD!!! I’m linked, I’m involved.
The goal is always the same, and here are 5 things that help me get better photographs, and enjoy a smooth wedding experience while doing so.
1) Knows timings. Inside and out. This isn’t just what is happening when and where people have to be. It’s knowing how long things REALLY take. If you want to have a number of group shots of friends and family, I can either lie to you and say we’ll do it 5 minutes before the wedding breakfast or be upfront about how long that stuff CAN take. Sometimes our parent’s generation might expect a few more shots than you and I have planned. Sometimes, there’s a random brother/uncle/whomever in the loo/at the bar. It’s up to me to be realistic with you about how the timings work and what you can expect to fit in without it feeling like an endless photo shoot. It’s a wedding.
2) Knows different lighting. You’d expect this, right? Yet you’d be surprised at how many photographers will plonk a bride and groom outside in the middle of the day with the blazing sun burning out their retinas. Sometimes things can’t be avoided, sure, but it doesn’t take much to think things through.
Technically speaking, all of the time I’m at your wedding I’m checking the lighting, looking for the sun, anticipating clouds, looking for shade. If we’re inside I’m doing the same thing. Always evaluating light. Always using the right equipment at the right time.
3) Puzzles. Curiosity. I’m not the photographer to turn up at your wedding and take a few snaps before saying my good-byes and on to the next one. A good photographer is after something else, and it becomes obsessive.
I want to understand who I’m photographing. I want to see the shimmer of relationships dancing around each other. I’m after a real story that I can deeply connect with. I’m all about having a laugh, and I also want to see real and intimate connections. You know – the stuff that we can’t fake. How people are with each other. How people take up their private space with each other.
Having a pre-wedding photo shoot is almost essential to me. It sounds crazy but The ‘Together Shoot’ is almost more a way in than it is about the pictures at that stage! The more I can click together with the couples I shoot, the more elevated the wedding photographs might just be.
There are a ton of stories for me to go looking for. It might be the bride and groom, it might be the bride’s sister, the groom’s parents. The college friends. Bringing people together, as any wedding does, presents me with a kind of infinite puzzle that can be solved and completed in any number of ways. This is where your wedding really becomes unique. Finding these stories and shining a fleeting light on them is what makes your wedding so emotionally engaging when you look back over your pictures. The beauty of it is that often the photographs go on to have their own life and stories reveal themselves over time.
4) More timings! I don’t know a wedding that lasted only 6 hours or 8 hours and I’ve never charged for a set amount of attendance. It kills it, the moment you start negotiating your involvement in someone’s wedding day. You’re either there or you’re not.
5) Your photographer checks his ego in at the door.
When I’m at your wedding it’s all about you. I’m present and in the moment. I’m genuinely excited to see what’s happening in front of me, and I’m still humbled every time by the most important wedding I’m lucky enough to be at – this one! I’m not stuck on some hell bent prima donna artistic attitude that you must have it done my way and my way only.
I’m as much reactive as I have to be proactive. I like to adapt and thrive in a challenging environment. In fact, I’m often happy to not know the plans and timings down to the minute, or to the second, instead preferring to capture any surprise and theatre as it happens. This way there is always something new, no matter how big or small, and that lends a feeling of authenticity and excitement to the pictures. Likewise with the weather. If it rains I’m not going to throw a hissy fit. We might get a different kind of picture due to some restrictions, but then we’ll also have the chance to get some pictures that we weren’t expecting, perhaps with lighting, with umbrellas, or in the snow. I’ve never got the pictures I want by sulking, and I’m 100% sure that such behaviour would only get in the way of your day. Glass half full…
A lot of what I talk about here can’t really be picked up on until we’re really in to the planning, so please do get in touch if there’s something you want to get stuck in to.