The average wedding goes by in a flash. Just ask any bride or groom. It can be very quick for the photographer, too, even for the most experienced professionals, but there are some things you can do before the main event to make sure you get all the images you want with nothing forgotten.
Any list you write as a ‘template’ will be a guide. The idea is that it shapes the conversation you have with your clients and prompts them to think about what they actually want. Do not follow it to the letter, partly because not all weddings will have the ‘right’ personnel – you can’t take a picture of the flower girls if there aren’t any! – but use it instead as a talking point with each couple.
Once the conversation is taking place, make sure you hear about what they actually want, but manage their expectations. For example, most couples will opt for a photo with the bride’s parents, one with the groom’s, each family, the bridal party, and so on. The list goes on.
What is worth stressing to the couple is the time it takes for each of these shots. Add it up, and you will probably find quite quickly that rather than a formal shot outside the church with Great Aunt Sally, they’ll opt for an informal shot at the Reception. Time is so precious on the day, and few couples will want to keep their guests waiting any longer than necessary.
Elderly relatives like to have their photo taken with the couple, but the pictures are for themselves rather than something the couple will display in their home, so from a commercial point of view, it makes more sense to spend the time on images that your clients are likely to spend the big money on.
Explain the style you use and what they are after. Even couples who are adamant they want the fashionable reportage style will probably still want some formal group shots. Just as important is finding out what they don’t want, or any family nuances or situations to avoid; you don’t want to call the bride’s parents forward if they don’t speak! Someone like Az at lemontree-photography.co.uk, an experienced wedding photographer in Hampshire feels that being asked to photograph a wedding is an honour, and photographers owe it to their clients to spend time getting to know them and their tastes.
If you’ve spent time with your clients before the big day, perhaps done a successful engagement shoot with them, they are more likely to trust you to just get on with what you do best. Note down all the key names, and get a timeline for the day.
Ultimately though, remember the client is the customer and they are always right, so it doesn’t matter how creative and beautiful your images are if what they really want are the pictures of Aunt Sally.