Given that someone’s wedding is likely one of the most important days of their lives, it’s best that you go into the event very well informed so you can do your job as a wedding photographer to the very best of your abilities.
In a recent article, we outlined a few questions you need to ask your clients before the wedding day arrives. Now, we’ve got four more so you can be uber prepared.
What are the names of the people in the wedding party?
This is an important question to ask for a couple of reasons. First, it’s just nice to know people’s names. It helps you direct them as you take their photo, and makes the photo shoot that much more personal. Saying, “Hey Tim, can you move to your left a little?” sounds much better than “Hey you on the end...move left!”
But perhaps more importantly, the more names you know, the easier it is for you to get some help wrangling wandering wedding party members for the photo shoot. If Aunt Barb is missing, you need to be able to direct as many people as you can to go find her. Additionally, if you find that you have a question, having a few names to call upon will help you resolve your issue faster.
What is the venue and what are the expectations there?
Every venue is as different as every couple getting married. Some have very few restrictions regarding things like using a flash while others make your job incredibly difficult with all their rules and regulations. Although the person in charge of the venue should inform you of any expectations they have when you arrive on the wedding day, why not get those details ahead of time so you can more appropriately plan?
Part of the planning process should also include a visit to the venue. Talk with the person in charge about any restrictions, then tour the facility to get an idea of where you can set up for the day’s shots. If, for example, the couple is getting married in a church, where can you and your second shooter (if you have one) be positioned in the sanctuary? Where on the church grounds can you get formal, posed shots of the wedding party? Have all those details planned out and approved by the venue and the couple well in advance.
Do you provide food?
This might sound like an awfully forward question to ask, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Some couples include a meal for their vendors. Others do not. You don’t want to assume that you get fed, only to chow down and offend a client that hadn’t intended to foot the bill for your dinner. If dinner is included; great! Don’t argue and say that it’s not necessary because you will undoubtedly be tired and hungry and could probably use a break. But, when eating, don’t take your sweet time. Have your meal, then get back to work.
If a meal isn’t included, stipulate an arrangement wherein you have an opportunity to eat something you brought with you or leave the venue to get a meal elsewhere. You will not be able to do your job well if your stomach is growling and you’re lightheaded from not eating, so advocate for yourself and be sure that someway, somehow, you get a break to eat.
Who are the other vendors?
Although you won’t necessarily be working directly with the florist, the DJ, the bakery, and other parties involved in the wedding, having a list with their names and contact information will be beneficial to you as you plan for your photography needs on the day of the wedding. Getting their contact information allows you to introduce yourself ahead of time - via email, on the phone, or even in person - and develop at least a collegial relationship before the big day arrives.
When introducing yourself, give the other vendors an idea of what you’ll be doing, when, and where. By having your timeline, they can more appropriately plan for their needs, and you can work together to ensure a seamless experience for your shared client. What’s more, building relationships with other wedding vendors can easily lead to referrals for you in the future.
Remember, the more informed you are ahead of time, the better you will be able to plan your activities and the better you will be able to serve your clients. Take the time to ask these and other questions, and you will have an increased opportunity for success - and less stress too!