Being a Bride Will Make Me a Better Photographer
So, I’ve been through it. I got married. And it was awesome. I have a newfound respect for brides and the many emotions that ebb and flow through them throughout the big day. Our day went pretty well, actually. No major mishaps and we didn’t run too behind on our timeline. I was super worried about being behind because I didn’t want my photographer, Michael Moss, to miss out on shooting all of the reception details that I spent so many months envisioning. I also didn’t want to feel rushed. (The photograph above was taken by Michael!)
Now that I am on the other side of the wedding, I’ve been thinking about how my experience has helped me better understand the needs and desires of a bride. I think about the images that I love the most from our photographer: candids that capture moments and emotions. I think about how nervous I was about running behind because it meant that important things wouldn’t be captured. I think about how much I treasure the photos of details because I was too focused on socializing to really absorb my surroundings. -I’ve heard from a few brides that if it weren’t for their wedding photos, they wouldn’t remember anything from their reception!
So, with all of that in mind, here are some things that will make any wedding photographer better at their job:
For any bride, it’s hard to experience their day when they are worried about their timeline. As a photographer, I had a hard time letting go of this aspect and did put on the director’s hat a few times. But, once all of the formal photos were done, I felt much more relaxed. A photographer who can rally the troops and keep everyone on schedule helps to keep that burden off of the bride. Going over the timeline ahead of time with the bride is a great way to get on the same page with the bride and to mitigate any potential problems.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled for the Decisive Moment:
There is this fantastic photo from our wedding of my 2 step sons together and Sammy is blowing bubbles in Max’s face. It’s a great moment and really captures their personalities. Now, it could very well be that my photographer set it up after seeing them playing. (I don’t actually know if that is true, just speculating.) But, nonetheless when you see people being authentically themselves, capture it. And when in doubt, ask them to do it again!
The Devil is in the Details:
Something like a locket attached to a bouquet is such a small detail and therefore so easy to overlook. But, sometimes the smallest things can be the most important. Asking your clients ahead of time what is most important to them is the best way to not miss anything significant. I listed a few things that I wanted my photographer to capture and it really made a difference. Family portraits, while not terribly interesting, are also extremely important. Making sure that everyone is visible and posed correctly is super important because those photos end up being a part of the family history. Take a deep breath and even if you feel rushed, do it right. Your client will thank you for it.
Make Sure the Couple Has Fun:
You are not there to just shoot portraits of a bride and groom. You are there to set the stage for the bride and groom to be themselves in front of the camera. They will spend the whole day in the spotlight and sometimes will not spend very much time together, funny enough. The couple’s session is a great time for the couple to soak in the occasion and enjoy some time together. Have fun with them, but above all, read your client. For instance, if your clients are on the serious side, don’t ask them to make goofy faces at the camera. Let them interact with each other and you will inevitably capture something that is uniquely “them.” It may take a bit of warming up for this to happen, so make sure that you joke around with your couple to get them to relax.
I think the key ingredient in being a good wedding photographer is being empathetic. Those that pull out all of the stops and commit to doing their absolute best work for every client do so because they FEEL the importance of the day. They pick up on their client’s emotional state and are able to respond in a way that is compassionate. It’s not just a job they are doing, they are creating life memories for people. Their job is an extremely important one and those that take it seriously and treat it with respect are often the best photographers.