When you are hired to be the photographer for someone’s wedding, it is quite an honor. For a professional photographer, we can sometimes just see it as another “gig”. But it pays to look at the event through the eyes of the wedding party, the parents, the siblings, the groom and above all the bride. For the bride especially, there is nothing routine about this day. Everything is personal and getting the best possible photos of this important day could not be more personal and important to her and her family and her groom as well.
So if you are expanding into or setting out on building your photography business to include wedding photography, you should plan to approach this task much differently than any other form of photography. You are doing a lot more than taking a few snapshots of an event. You are as much an integral part of the ceremony and the significance of that day for this bride and this groom as the minister or perhaps even many of the wedding guests.
So what can you do to make sure the wedding albums you create capture not only the events of this day but the emotions and the spiritual importance of it as well? The key is to know the hearts and minds of the people who are involved in the event. That means, get involved early and be involved often.
For most weddings, the planning begins as early as a year before the ceremony. If you get hired to be the wedding photographer, it is not too early to meet the wedding party and family that early also. To be a skilled wedding photographer, you should also have a bit of the investigative journalist, the amateur psychologist and the psychic in you as well.
Your photographs will capture not only the images of the event but also the spirit of the people who attend. So get to know each of the key players individually. This certainly includes the bride and groom but a similar level of familiarity is appropriate for the wedding party, the parents of the bride and groom and their best friends too.
There are some subtle ways you can learn the hearts of these people so you can plan to get photographs that will be ones the each person will say, “I am saving that one forever.” Here are some suggestions…
. Get to know the colors of the wedding. But more than that, find out how the bride and significant decisions makers view colors. Watch how they dress and show them examples of wedding photographs and listen to their reactions. You can plan the how to stage your pictures accordingly.
. Every bride has that perfect romantic setting in their heart. If you can discover that hidden treasure, you may be able to frame a special wedding photo just to fit that dream. Perhaps she there is a public gardens in the city that has a fountain that she has loved since she was a child. If so you can make arrangements to have the wedding party meet out there when the lighting is just right in full dress and get some wedding photos that will be in her heart forever.
. Don’t forget the groom. Maybe he would love to have a fun photo showing him and the bride on his Harley. Or if he is a big sports fan, getting a photo dressed out in team regalia at some other time than the wedding can be a fun addition to the portfolio. And it will mean a lot to him too.
Knowing the people, their personalities and what makes them tick makes you a better photographer. Don’t miss a chance to be with the wedding party at every stage of planning. The key players will not only not resent your presence but they will see that you have the same commitment to making this day as special as it can be. And they will love the outcome and you will remain as much a part of this big day as the flowers and the chapel itself.