With thousands and thousands of weddings occurring every week around the globe, there are thousands and thousands of opportunities for wedding photographers to mess something up. There are the photographers that get a little too involved in the ceremony and somehow make the day more about them than the couple. There are other photographers that blurt out any and every problem they might be having, causing undue stress on their clients and others in the wedding party. Then again, there are plenty of photographers that do things the right way too!
Whether you’re about to shoot your very first wedding or have been doing it for decades, there is a long list of do’s and don’ts that will help you be more successful and a better wedding guest to boot. Here are four do’s and don’ts that should be at the top of your list.
DO Have Unique Products to Offer Your Clients
There are a lot of ways to set yourself apart from other wedding photographers, and one of the most effective methods is to offer unique products that knock the socks off clients. In this day and age when people are used to mass-produced books and albums from quick-print websites, a good choice is to offer premium printing on high-quality photo albums. Look for something that has a handcrafted exterior and offers heavy weight paper to give it a feeling of durability and luxury. Offer an album that comes in a variety of sizes to suit your clients’ needs. Better still, associate yourself with a company that creates albums that are more than something that just sits on a shelf, and instead manufactures products that can easily be the centerpiece of your clients’ wedding display in their home.
Of course, not any company can meet such lofty expectations. But with their Bon a’ Vie album, Zookbinder certainly fits the bill. This unique album opens like a set of French doors, giving customers a wide display of images that extend from one corner to the other. The pages lay flat for a better viewing experience, and with gloss-coated Kodak Endura paper filling the album, the images pop off the page and have potential clients grabbing a pen and asking “Where do I sign?”
DON’T Discuss Your Gear Problems
It is an inevitability that something will go wrong at some point at a wedding you’re shooting. And when that problem arises, the last thing the couple wants to hear is, “Uh oh!” coming out of your lips.
There are fewer things that give you a worse feeling of impending doom and dismay as a lens that locks up in the middle of a wedding ceremony. But it might just happen to you, and when it does, you need to be prepared. Have a second camera body with a lens pre-mounted, so if camera number one goes off the rails, you have a backup within reach. Additionally, bring extra memory cards and batteries, multiple flashes, and even a change of clothes - you never know what might go wrong, and you want to be prepared.
The point is that regardless of the problem that arises, it is your problem and yours alone. Don’t panic. Don’t get in a rush. Just solve the problem, go to your backup plan, and keep on shooting! The couple needn’t be informed, and the chances are that they won’t be the wiser that you encountered a problem in the first place.
DO Stay on Task and Pay Attention
You will arrive at the wedding well in advance, fully prepared, and with a shot list in hand. But that doesn’t mean you can mindlessly wander through the day taking only the photos you discussed with your clients. There will be ample opportunities before, during, and after the ceremony to go off script and take off-the-cuff photos of touching moments that occur throughout the day. The ring bearer and flower girl having a quick kiss, the happy tears rolling down the mother of the bride’s face, and the moment the couple bursts through the venue door to run through a processional of bubbles are all wonderful moments that you’re sure to want to capture. But these moments require you to pay attention to what’s going on and be prepared to document the moment with little warning.
DON’T Be the Life of the Party
If you’ve ever been to a wedding in which the photographer, the wedding planner, the DJ, or someone else not getting married that day is too much the center of attention, you know how annoying and inappropriate it is. It’s one thing to be a personable and fun photographer. It’s another thing to make the day about you or what you need to accomplish as the couple’s photographer. Be enthusiastic and friendly; don’t seek the spotlight and detract from the real stars of the day - the couple.