Since it’s booking season and I have the entire year of 2014 to reflect on, I wanted to write a blog for 2015′s brides and let you know something very very very important: Wedding Photography is a Partnership.
I know you’re probably puzzled right now, so let me give you a little background. In 2014, my goal was to work. I actually revamped my pricing and collections, to broaden my horizons, experience and grow. In March 2014, I announced new collections and by golly, that shit worked. Since then, I can count on one hand how many times in the past 9 months that I wasn’t working 3-4 times a week at least. My goal was to photograph 25 weddings and instead, I shot almost 40. Some were small one hour weddings, others were more than 9 hours. Some had three guests, others had almost 300. I would like to think I’m now well versed on different situations, types of clients and variations of weddings. So please believe me when I tell you that when you hire your wedding photographer, it’s a 50/50 partnership.
Some of you may scoff, saying, “I’m hiring a company, not starting a relationship” yet that is where you’re completely and utterly wrong. Providing that you’re picking a photographer based on their merits, artwork and personality, you ARE starting a relationship and you’re obligated to treat it as such. Would you start a relationship and then ignore your new friend? Would you start a relationship and throw all of their advice out of the window? Maybe. I know some people that have. If you think you might, please continue reading and heed my warnings.
Reasons Wedding Photography is a partnership:
1. We are human. When you hire a personable wedding photography company, such as “Jane Doe Photography” or “Creatrix Photography”, you’re hiring a PERSON. Not a company, not a massive conglomerate, a PERSON. We bleed, sweat and cry just like you. Yes, we cry. Sometimes, clients make us cry. I’ve had clients be so mean, I’ve doubted myself as a human and as a business owner. When you decide you want a Pinterest style wedding without a Pinterest style budget, then lambaste us for not making your paper-streamer lined wedding look like a six figure wedding, that hurts us. We are artists and we do our absolute best, but we are limited by our mortal bodies. Please take that into consideration.
2. We are as creative as you let us be. Do you love gorgeous rain shots lit by flash, taken in the dark? What about sparkler exits when people are excited and happy?? I bet you just turn into a pile of goo when you see images like this one:
Did you know the above image was taken at 6am, on a windy beach? I’m going to tell you what I tell all of my clients: art takes time. If you give us only 30 minutes to photograph you and your spouse, your family of 50 people AND the wedding party, it ain’t gonna happen. You will receive gorgeous images, but they will be simple and easy poses and photos, like the one below:
Just kidding…this isn’t gorgeous, simple or nice. And it is NOT MY PHOTO. EWW.
Pin found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/182606959865494446/
I can’t tell you how many times I will send a minimum 2 questionnaires, 10 emails (MINIMUM) and lots of guidance, only to have a client ignore me and act like I can take gorgeous images regardless of situation. I recently had a wedding where there wasn’t a set dance floor, but the catering manager told me it would be over here. Then the couple decided to begin dancing over there, where NONE of my equipment was set up. I scrambled with my team to set up, but the hotel turned down the lights, so my camera refused to focus and then the images lost at least 60% of their quality. I was forced to make them redo their first dance, because they changed their minds last minute without telling me. I’m 100% good on my feet, if you COMMUNICATE. Hence the partnership of this whole thing.
3. We are limited by the information you don’t share. Any good photographer will ask you about important moments not to be missed during the big day. Don’t be condescending and say, “I need the first kiss captured,” because if you think your photographer might miss that, you shouldn’t have hired them. Communication is vital to any partnership, so let them know if you’re doing a petal toss after the first kiss, a sparkler exit, giving your mother a wonderful gift during the ceremony. I once saw a person (not my client) bitch and moan because her photographer missed her dad giving her away, yet admitted that she didn’t tell the photographer how important that moment was to her. Some moments will be missed, because we’re focused on getting the must-haves, like the ring exchange, your mom crying, etc. If there is something you need, COMMUNICATE.
Shots like the above are missed if you give us a specific shotlist, by the way.
Communicating about your needs are vital. Do NOT hand us a new timeline on the day of the wedding. DO NOT ignore us for weeks before your wedding. We WANT to help you, so let us! Fill out all questionnaires, answer all emails within 72 hours, make sure we can do the job you hired us for!
4. We want your images to be gorgeous too. You won’t survive in this wedding industry if you weren’t passionate about it, because photographing weddings can suck. It’s long hours, detail oriented and CUSTOMER SERVICE DRIVEN. We answer emails at 1am, we edit for hours on end, we will make conversation with your Aunt Juniper because if we don’t, she’ll tell you we are assholes. We put out fires, proverbially and sometimes literally, and usually you won’t ever know. I once had a guest step on me, on purpose, because she thought her Canon Powershot Camera would take better photos than me and she needed my spot. The client, to this day, has no idea what her friend did to me. I will never tell her. It’s none of her business, because sometimes the money I receive is “hush money.”
At the end of the day, I want your images to be gorgeous too, because I pour my soul into your pictures. I will email you repeatedly about timelines and shotlists, because I need them to give 100%. When you don’t communicate and the images are what I know they could be, I get so beyond frustrated, I begin to mutter expletives to my camera, demanding it to somehow fix the situation. But cameras are innately stupid and they can’t help me. You can though! You can communicate, help me out, give me the time I need to create stunning breathtaking imagery for you to keep forever.
5. Photoshop is NOT a cure-all. I grit my teeth anytime I have a client or guest say, “oh she can just fix it in Photoshop!” and I partially blame Adobe for creating this idea that Photoshop is the go-to fix for any picture not perfect in camera. Don’t get me wrong, for clients that are kind to me, I’ll remove half naked tourists out of their beach shots, but did you know that can take up to 15 minutes per photo, JUST to remove maybe 5 people? “oh, it’s dark but you can fix that in Photoshop, right?” Nope, if your reception is pitch black, my camera is stupid…remember? It doesn’t see light and color like your naked eye, so no, Photoshop will not save that moment. “Can you just take 50 pounds off of me in Photoshop?” No, no I can’t. Sorry. I don’t support that kind of mentality. “Can you remove my Aunt Lilikoi out of my family images? She’s pissed us off and we don’t like her anymore!” Sure, let me send you the invoice for the edits.
The magic of it all, is that Photoshop won’t be needed if you communicate enough. For the most part. Half naked tourists are everywhere.
This is my best friend and this is what she thinks of Photoshop.
You have a big day coming up and trust me, I know how much you have on your plate. The florist wants to know how many and which kinds of flowers you want. You have to narrow down your cake flavor from 15 delicious options. Your mother is demanding you wear her wedding dress, regardless of how big the sleeves are. And your grandmother? Wants you to invite 25 people you’ve never even met before. I get it. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, the flowers die, the cake gets eaten, but your photography will last through the years. Your photographer will be the BIGGEST decision you make, outside of who your spouse will be, and don’t take that decision lightly. Ask for full wedding galleries, reviews, how long it will take to get your images (I have a 30 day guarantee!).
If you’re looking for your own gorgeous wedding photography, head on over to my website. I travel the world, so don’t limit yourself to just Hawaii.
p.s. congrats on the engagement. It’ll be a wonderful journey from here.