Ask the top pro wedding shooters the secrets to their success and you might be surprised tp find that most of them won't have anything to do with photography skills. Yes, it's important to be more than moderately skilled with your photo gear. In the final analysis, though, there are hundreds of technically expert photographers out there who never become more than good at weddings. The reasons generally have to do with traits other than photo skills. So, what else do you need? I'm so glad you asked!
You're going to have to work one-on-one with all kinds of individuals and groups and you're going to have to keep a smile on your face. What's more, you're going to need to know how to put one on all of theirs. Your number one asset as a wedding photographer is the ability to connect with people and make them feel comfortable.
For all its awesomeness, a wedding day is still a very stressful day for many of the people involved, particularly the bride and groom and their parents. It's a very short step from pre-wedding jitters to panic and one of the easiest ways to push someone there is to be pushy. Keeping your cool will help everyone keep theirs.
Problem Solving Skills
You need to know how to think on your feet. The wedding planner got them this far, the officiate will get them through the ceremony. Guess who they're all going to be looking to when it comes to everything else? That's right, you're running the show. You'll have to make snap decisions when the weather changes, your equipment malfunctions and when no one can find Aunt Grace.
Once you've made the decisions and solved the problems, you have to get everyone to go along. That means gently but firmly controlling the crowd, whether it's the wedding party or the whole reception. A firm voice and good manners will go a long way.
A Sense of Humor
This will be an asset in almost everything you do. A little joke will ease the tension in the group shots. Gentle teasing will often get just the right expression from any of the more difficult photo subjects. Making fun of your own mistakes will keep your own frustration level down.
A Sense of Tact
Don't let your jokes and comments sink to the gutter level, no matter what anyone else does. You're a professional. Stay classy.
A Flair for Entertainment
From the beginning photo shoots to the reception shots, you're going to need to keep people of all types and ages entertained, even more so than the band or DJ. If you lose that, it will come out on your shots in insincere expressions and awkward poses. Relax, have a good time and bring your subjects into the good time with you.
There's a new tool out there to help with this one and it's a sure way to keep the party going and the guests from getting bored. Gifyyy, a new, portable platform, sets up at the reception and invites guests with the words "TOUCH ME" on a screen. When a guest complies, Gifyyy records a short sequence and plays it back as a GIF animation. The guests then have the option of recording a new one or sending the current one to their smart phone and sharing over the social networks. Within a few minutes, you'll have everyone in on the act and having a ball. What's more you'll be building a potential client list at the same time. Find out how and get the rest of the details on Gifyyy here.
A wedding shoot is a long day and a lot of hard work. Being the first to arrive and the last to leave will reward you with some special shots you won't get otherwise. You're not going to have breaks, even if there are more than one of you on the job. Start the day well rested and keep yourself hydrated and sober. Your clients will appreciate the efforts and when they refer their friends, it will be with a rating of "great", "amazing", "incredible" or "awesome", not simply "good".