It wasn’t that long ago that I noticed that my business had shifted gears, it was the day when I realized I was consistently creating the images that I had visualized prior to a wedding. With digital photography so popular, the market is flooded with new photographers and those that can simply click photographs seem to be a dime a dozen. So what separates an amateur wedding photographer who can snap off hundreds of pictures and ‘spray and pray’ from a professional wedding photographer who can consistently produce quality images?
Many well known and successful photographers have used visualization to see a moment in their mind before actually taking the photo. By projecting their sights on where and how the images will be viewed, used, and shared, many of them seem to magically conceptualize a final image before the camera is even taken out of the bag. This folks, is what separates the novice photographers from the experienced ones. It is a big reason why so many photographers seem to never grow past the ‘reactive’ phase of their business and most seem to be stuck in capturing stock moments as they are happening at a wedding. Here are two tips on moving past being a reactive photographer into a successful photographer.
Tip #1 Get information about your clients:
Start by gaining information before the wedding, this is a really important step to visualizing your end product. The more information you have from your clients the better you will be at visualizing what you want to create for them. Make it a priority to speak with your clients either over the phone or in person and ask questions about what type of coverage they might want. You can also ask questions like, “Other than the ceremony, do you have anything unique or special that you are planning on your wedding day?”, “What attracted them to your style of photography?”, or “Is there a certain look/style you are envisioning for your wedding pictures, etc”. This will ultimately help how you photograph their wedding day while maintaining your personal photography style. Once you get a clear idea of what a client is looking for, you can let the visualizing begin. The days leading up to a wedding, go over the venue details, locations, and shot lists in your head. Try to visualize what the clients will look like getting married, the emotions from their parents, their guests’ faces as they are laughing and toasting the Bride and Groom, and most importantly visualize your clients with huge smiles on their faces when they are looking at your end product after their wedding.
Tip #2 Know how your clients will use their images:
Determining how your clients will use their images is very important. In the client meeting before the wedding, ask if they will be ordering an album, prints, canvases or any other product you might offer. This is a great time to get a client involved in thinking about how their images are going to be displayed to family and friends. Don’t be surprised if many clients aren’t yet able to give you these answers and if they aren’t, this is a great opportunity for you to help jump start their vision and excitement for their wedding images. Follow up with them in a couple of weeks and see what they have decided, as well as, put in your two cents with your ideas for their images. They will appreciate your knowledge and suggestions. Knowing how the images will be used before the wedding will assist you in your visualization to capture those important shots for your client.
With such a clear focus of your clients through visualizing and obtaining important information before their wedding day, you will begin to separate yourself from the literally hundreds of photographers who are simply just reacting and clicking pictures and hoping for the best. You won’t be hoping for the best…you will be certain that you will be delivering the best.
Written by: Mike Adrian
Mike Adrian is a Destination Wedding Photographer based in Hawaii. He continues to work and travel for his clients and personal work around the globe. He is the PUG leader for the state of Hawaii, teaches photography workshops at the University of Hawaii and puts on workshops throughout the year to help inspire and educate wedding photographers.