My husband and I just celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary.
That was before our 1920’s craftsman home, before our second long-haired dachshund, and before my photography business had really taken off. And that was the very day I realized just how stressful getting married can be (seriously… I thought I was going to throw up walking down the aisle).
But besides getting a super awesome husband and a shiny new ring out of the deal, it taught me some lessons that have helped shape my own wedding photography business.
There are a lot of factors that can stress out a bride leading up to and on her wedding day. Here are 4 tips to ensure that you aren’t one of them!
1. Date Ranges Don’t Mean Anything
You’re going through your contract with a potential client and they ask the age-old question, “When will I see my photos?”
You give your canned response, “4-6 weeks”, and move on.
What you don’t realize is that 6 weeks doesn’t mean anything. All the bride heard was “4 weeks”, and 4 weeks is what she’ll mark on her calendar as the exact day she’ll see her photos.
Seem absurd? Perhaps. But whereas you see those 2 weeks as a nice leeway for yourself in case you’re running behind schedule, she sees each passing day as one more opportunity for you to disappoint her.
I’m not suggesting you eliminate your date range altogether… just that you try to beat it every single time. If you need to delve into that range, then you should at least send your bride an update about why her photos are taking so long, and exactly when she can expect them. Setting a new date will allow her to relax a little and lay off the inbox refresh button.
2. Photograph Everyone!
I know from experience how much time goes into building the guest list for your wedding. Each person that makes the cut is chosen over someone else for various reasons that are personal to the bride and groom.
What you don’t realize when you’re building this list is that you probably won’t even have time to greet everyone that comes. Even if you do a receiving line, there’s no guarantee that everyone will stick around for it.
So when it’s 2 months later, and your bride is wondering if Great Uncle Jack was as her wedding, and whether or not he had a good time, she’ll be looking through your photos. And if he’s not in the pictures, then he might as well have never been there at all.
Point is, if you (or your second shooter) have the time, make a point to try and get a photo of each guest. The cocktail hour is the best time for this, so you can photograph the guests hanging out with people they actually like, instead of those awkward table shots.
3. Be Flexible
Weddings never go exactly as planned. Maybe there was unaccounted-for road construction that delayed guests by 30 minutes. Maybe the wrong numbers were sent to the catering staff, so dinner took twice as long. As a hired professional in the service industry, you must be flexible.
After all, your number one ultimate priority is to make your couple happy (well, that and get paid… but we’re assuming they’ve already done that). If things are running a bit behind, would it really kill you to stick around? Just imagine that it might be the tipping point between your clients being happy with your service and being thrilled by it.
And along those lines… don’t complain; don’t cause trouble with other vendors; don’t come to the bride with issues or questions. Just suck it up and figure it out yourself. That’s what you’re getting paid the (hopefully) big bucks for.
4. Be Consistent with your Post-Wedding Workflow
Imagine you’re a bride, 6 weeks after your wedding, just waiting and hoping to see a photo from your big day.
Just one. Anything. Please.
Then suddenly, you see a blog post go up on your photographer’s site. It’s someone else’s wedding, and… what’s this? Their wedding took place 3 weeks after yours.
Sucks, doesn’t it?
Don’t be that photographer. The minute you start picking and choosing who gets a teaser and who gets a blog post and who gets nothing, you’re playing mind games with your couples… making some of them think their wedding wasn’t good enough or that their photos didn’t turn out to your liking.
If you’re going to tease or you’re going to blog, then you have to do it for everyone. No exceptions.
Whether these things actually happened to me or not is irrelevant. My wedding, along with each wedding I’ve photographed since then, has taught me valuable lessons about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and going the extra mile. Hopefully it got you thinking about how you can better serve your clients in the future!
Did you have any wedding disasters we could all learn from? Leave a comment below and spread the wealth!
*All Photos by Kelly Benton Photography
Kelly Benton lives with her husband and two adorable dachshunds in Northeast Indiana, where she works from home as a Wedding Photographer. When she’s not photographing over people’s love, she’s a wannabe-rockstar triathlete with a penchant for funny movies and craft beer. Check out her blog or connect with her on Facebook.