When I started second shooting at weddings, one thing became incredibly apparent. The well thought-out, fine-tuned, photography timeline often went south. The shooting environments, which could have been ideal, were often impossible to utilize for a variety of reasons. And I discovered that detailed consultations with the bride prior to the wedding were often not enough. Although my mentor handled these situations with grace and professionalism, I vowed to address these problems with my brides before their wedding day and develop a plan of action in case it not only went south, but blew out the window with hurricane force.
1. The Hotel Suite: I Can’t Find the Bed
Have you ever walked into a bridal suite to find beds covered in clothing, suitcases, shoes, you name it? The chairs, tables, and other furniture are also adorned with everything from cell phones to keys? I let my bride know that we often use beds, chairs, and tables for detail shots and encourage her to keep them free from clutter.
This is also a great way to let my bride know that if she would like a mini-boudoir session to surprise her husband, we could utilize the bed for some luscious pictures! This is a great way to upsell your services, please your client, and ensure that you have the space needed to create magic. I always arrive early to allow time for introductions and to find the best person in the wedding party to help us “straighten up” if our shooting areas are littered.
2. Guests in the Hotel Suite: A Full House
Who hasn’t walked into a hotel suite and found it packed with friends, family, and the bridal party? I encourage my bride to limit the number of people in the bridal suite to ensure that we have space to capture her getting ready. When getting “must-have” shots like the bride putting on her dress, I take a photojournalistic approach – unless there are too many people in the suite! I always lead the bride to the best available light, usually in front of a window, and then I select and arrange those in the room to assist her. I graciously request all others to stand in a specific area and I always have smile on my face while doing so. As a professional, you have to learn to take control in a manner that is fun and friendly but allows you to do your job. Your bride wants gorgeous photographs, her friends and family love taking them with their cameras and cell phones, but it’s up to you to deliver!
3. Bridal Portraits: Let’s Run Away Together
Literally, that is what I say. I let my bride know that I want to spend some one-on-one time with her before the ceremony. I find that they love this idea. It gives them time to relax, reflect, and have peace and quiet before walking down the aisle. If the hotel suite is full of bubbly people who are taking pictures with iPhones, I will whisk my bride away and into the lobby or, if weather allows, outside to have some quality time together.
4. Children: Oh, How We Love Them Until…
Hopefully, you love kids as much as I do and have taken some touching images of children at weddings, however, I’ve also seen DJ’s speakers crash to the floor, children running to “play” with the butterflies during a bride’s treasured butterfly release, and a dozen other scenarios where the little darling children (unintentionally) wreaked wedding havoc. My pre-planning stage includes asking the bride whether children will be allowed at her wedding, and if so, refer local vendors who offer child-sitting services specifically for weddings! This is a great service that keeps children entertained, happy, and safe. My brides have often never heard of this service and are delighted to learn about it. Everyone is happy!
5. Uncle Bob with his new Point-and-Shoot
Let’s face it, we often find ourselves competing with those who just want to capture the events of the wedding day and forget that you’re even there and getting paid to do your job. As a professional, I know that there are no excuses for not delivering amazing images to my clients. These people are easy to spot early and I take a mental note of them, and then set my plan of action to deal with them in a friendly manner. I’ve often made them laugh by wagging my finger at them with a smile and wink when they jumped in front of my camera during an important shot! Be mindful and professional, but don’t miss the bride and groom’s exit because you can’t see over other people taking pictures. There are additional measures you can take, like speaking with the wedding planner, but the most effective way to deal with this is simply to stay alert and mark those picture grabbers! During formals, I let the group take a few shots and then playfully let them know that it’s my turn and there are cold refreshments at the reception. Then, I whisk the happy couple away and spend some quality time with them – alone!
About the Author
Debra Kapustin started her wedding photography business in 2007 and built her brand around her style. Debra started hosting workshops last year in both wedding and fashion photography and is planning a tour in several states next year. Debra is the winner of the Bridal Choice Awards two years in a row and has been published in magazines and wedding blogs. She lives with her two dogs, Matt and Dylan, and is the organizer for the Clearwater Modeling and Photography group which assists aspiring models and photographers by giving workshops on both modeling and photography.