Know exactly what you want and what you’re looking for. Manage your expectations and find the photographer(s) you connect with and trust.
Hello there friends! There’s been something weighing on our minds lately, and it’s something we believe is important for couples and photographers alike to consider. I promise not to take up too much of your time here. Brevity, while not my strongest attribute, is the goal. So let’s begin this with a small anecdote relating to the history of our business.
Did you know that Whitney and I were once fired by a couple six months before shooting their wedding? It wasn’t out of malice. To this day, we still adore the couple and they adore us just the same.
They chose to terminate our partnership because they realized as we continued to put more of our work out there, that we weren’t the right photographers for them because our approach and our brand of art wasn’t what they really wanted for their own wedding day. They wanted traditional and that’s simply not what we do. To this day, we commend them for acknowledging the situation and taking the right steps that allowed the four of us to move forward happily – We even provided them with the referrals to replace our services. And that’s pretty dang awesome if you ask me.
This is important for couples, especially when inquiring and committing to booking: Always pay attention to all of the work your photographer(s) put out there. Follow their social media. Dive into their blogs. And, if the full completed galleries they deliver to their previous couples are available, then view those, too. Actually, when inquiring, always ask to view full galleries. Don’t assume that because a photographer chooses to keep them private, or password protected, that they’re not important for you to see. They are incredibly important for you to review because they show you exactly what to expect from us. They exemplify exactly what we deliver in terms of quality and quantity for any given wedding day.
You should also pay close attention to your photographer’s approach and personality. That doesn’t mean you have to love every single photo they create, or agree with their social and political stances – Not even close. But you need to appreciate your photographer’s overall body of work and be able to see yourself fitting into their dominant style.
When photographers make a point to get actual face time with you, do what you can to participate. In-person communication is so important and that’s where we begin the process of building a real relationship with our couples. And, trust me, relationships are paramount. When you have a relationship, you have trust. When you have trust, you have a level of comfort that cannot be replicated, and it’s that comfort that allows you to let go, thus permitting us to document the authenticity of you and your partner’s love for one another. It’s also another reason that engagement sessions can be so important. However, if you don’t want engagements, at least be receptive when we want to visit in person, or make the effort yourself to spend some time with your photographers in person by grabbing coffee, a drink, food, anything works.
Of course, there will always be scenarios where face-to-face communication simply isn’t feasible. It may be a destination couple, out of state, time constraints due to work, etc. But that doesn’t negate your ability to have a phone call, to check in via email, or stay up-to-date on the work your photographer creates.
Manage your expectations against reality – Be reasonable. Photographers are human beings and while we wish we were omnipotent, omnipresent superheroes who can magically be present for every single little nuance and moment of your wedding day, we simply can’t be. And that’s reality. Sometimes we miss a moment that you remember because we were documenting another moment you had no idea was even happening. You have the first-person memories stored in your mind, and short of strapping a GoPro to your head to document the day yourself, that’s how those memories have to remain. What we are giving you is the outside perspective of your day – The “Fly on the Wall” view, if you will. So, please, keep this in mind.
And remember: Comparison is the thief of joy. This is something that we photographers have to remind ourselves constantly. Just like it’s unhealthy for creatives to garner a diminished view of our own work because we look at someone we view as “better”, you shouldn’t compare your wedding to another and allow that to make you feel as if your day wasn’t as cool, as heartfelt, or as beautiful. The situations will always be different – Different people, different personalities, different venues, different details, different lighting, different weather, and even different time constraints. Your day was incredible and it stands entirely on its own. Never forget that.
You have to be your own best advocate and you have to understand the difference between traditional photography, photojournalistic and documentary styled photography, etc. Know the difference between a polished and a grittier film aesthetic. Know when your photographer isn’t willing to use lists outside of family photos, or visit your Pinterest board because we don’t believe in recreating someone else’s moments. And, if those are red flags for you, protect yourself and your photography by making the right choices that fit your personality and your vision. If something doesn’t feel right, then you have to be OK with moving on instead of moving forward.
Simply put: Be informed. Be informed. Be informed. That is really how we should all approach life in general.
Love to all!