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Wedding Advice – How to be an amazing client

I didn’t want to write this post in a negative way, and in no way want to come across as complaining or having a rant. There is so much I love about being a wedding photographer, a lot more positive than negative! 99% of my clients are amazing! I wanted to let you in on some (not-so-secret) wedding photographer pet-peeves and things you can do to be an amazing client. I think the vendor-client relationship goes both ways, and when everything goes smoothly and it is built on trust, it makes your wedding planning and day so much easier!


ASK US FOR ADVICE

As photographers/wedding vendors we have been to so many weddings and are more than happy to share our knowledge with you! Especially when it comes to your wedding timeline, I love to give my clients guidance around this. I can help make sure we factor in the ideal lighting for your ceremony and portraits, that we allow enough time for travel and for quality time with your guests. You may need to communicate with your venue and caterers about this too when it comes to mealtimes. If you can build your timeline in a way that is not too tight and prevents you from rushing around all day, not enjoying the moment then that is ideal.


PASS ON ADVICE TO YOUR GUESTS

Whether that means asking your guests (and bridal party) to put away their phones during the ceremony, asking them to stick around for group photos, or letting them know how long their speech needs to be, tell them! I’m quite calm when dealing with unexpected delays or hiccups on the day but if we can help avoid them beforehand that is great. It’s also a good idea to allocate a family member or the MC (someone who knows more of the guests) to help the photographer round up people needed for the group photos. A microphone always helps too!


DON’T ASK FOR A DISCOUNT

I understand weddings can be expensive. I’m not denying that. Of course, there are areas you will want to save in. You may have to prioritise certain things and compromise on others. A newer, inexperienced photographer may give a discount, and if you trust them to capture your day then great. For most professionals, we have come a long way to get to where we are today and have structured our pricing accordingly. There is a lot of work that goes into one wedding day, from all the communication and meetings leading up to the day, the actual photographing, travel, editing, and delivery. Not to mention the years of education and practice, expensive equipment, insurance, marketing, business costs, and the general livelihood of the photographer. I’m not saying this to make you feel bad but hope to show you that it’s not just “one day” of work. Wedding photography is a luxury service and one of the only investments from your day that will long outlive it- photographs you will cherish for years to come. Consider what that means to you and whether it’s worth investing in.


YOU CAN’T HAVE THE RAW FILES

I don’t know any photographer that would willingly hand over RAW files to their client. It is not normal practice. RAW files require special software to be viewed and processed and they are like the raw ingredients of a recipe. They are unfinished work. The editing and exporting a photographer does is all part of the recipe to create the finished product of our service. It is not that the RAWs are necessarily bad or completely different to what you receive, but there is a lot that goes into creating the unique style and story of your day. Rest assured that we won’t leave anything out, you will be given a complete collection of memories from your day.

On a similar note, it hurts my heart when I see filters or editing over my finished images pop up online. I know you may be used to whacking a filter over everything you post on Instagram but you are not doing great things for your photographer’s brand or reputation when you do this. If you take a look at your contract you will see that this image manipulation is not actually allowed. I know it’s usually a harmless mistake and we as photographers have to educate clients on this sometimes. Make sure you keep that in mind! I could go into a whole other chat about reading contracts + copyright and usage of wedding photos but maybe we’ll save that for another blog.


TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

We’ve talked about “pinspiration” a lot and I love a bit of Pinterest. However, I have to say, if I get handed a big list of specifically-posed photographs to recreate on the wedding day, it makes me cringe a little! I’m all about a funny/joke-photo (PG of course) on the day but if we’re staging every little thing… not my vibe. I would hope if you’ve booked me, you already love my style and portfolio of work and trust me to capture all the epic moments on your day. While sometimes well-intentioned, (and many wedding blogs encourage it) being given a list can seem like you don’t trust your photographer. Just a note here, I’m not talking about a list of family/group shots- that is super helpful! If you want something unusual then definitely let me know, I’ll usually be happy to help. Being trusted to take the lead when it comes to direction and posing for your wedding portraits helps our client-photographer relationship so much!

Another thing when it comes to building trust is communication. Just like any relationship, communication is key! I believe as a photographer we set the tone when it comes to this. If we take a week to reply to an email and then get annoyed when we don’t hear back straight away, well, what do you expect? That being said, if we are nailing quick replies and clear communication and feel like we’re being left in the dark by a client it can be a little tricky! I always think it’s great to meet up if possible, then there will be a bit of back-and-forth emailing. I like to call a week before the wedding day, just to check-in with clients, have a chat, and confirm any last-minute details too. Communicating well and keeping your vendors in the loop will definitely get you the amazing client award!


I hope these tips have helped! You are not expected to be perfect and most of the time you will have never hired a wedding photographer/vendor before so don’t be too hard on yourself. Kindness, communication, and trust is key! I truly believe it is up to us as photographers to educate our clients and give advice when it comes to the booking process, helping with the wedding timeline, and setting clear expectations. I might do another blog/video about contracts and things your photographer wants you to know, so let me know if you’d be interested in that!

You can watch my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

I didn’t want to write this post in a negative way, and in no way want to come across as complaining or having a rant. There is so much I love about being a wedding photographer, a lot more positive than negative! 99% of my clients are amazing! I wanted to let you in on some (not-so-secret) wedding photographer pet-peeves and things you can do to be an amazing client. I think the vendor-client relationship goes both ways, and when everything goes smoothly and it is built on trust, it makes your wedding planning and day so much easier!


ASK US FOR ADVICE

As photographers/wedding vendors we have been to so many weddings and are more than happy to share our knowledge with you! Especially when it comes to your wedding timeline, I love to give my clients guidance around this. I can help make sure we factor in the ideal lighting for your ceremony and portraits, that we allow enough time for travel and for quality time with your guests. You may need to communicate with your venue and caterers about this too when it comes to mealtimes. If you can build your timeline in a way that is not too tight and prevents you from rushing around all day, not enjoying the moment then that is ideal.


PASS ON ADVICE TO YOUR GUESTS

Whether that means asking your guests (and bridal party) to put away their phones during the ceremony, asking them to stick around for group photos, or letting them know how long their speech needs to be, tell them! I’m quite calm when dealing with unexpected delays or hiccups on the day but if we can help avoid them beforehand that is great. It’s also a good idea to allocate a family member or the MC (someone who knows more of the guests) to help the photographer round up people needed for the group photos. A microphone always helps too!


DON’T ASK FOR A DISCOUNT

I understand weddings can be expensive. I’m not denying that. Of course, there are areas you will want to save in. You may have to prioritise certain things and compromise on others. A newer, inexperienced photographer may give a discount, and if you trust them to capture your day then great. For most professionals, we have come a long way to get to where we are today and have structured our pricing accordingly. There is a lot of work that goes into one wedding day, from all the communication and meetings leading up to the day, the actual photographing, travel, editing, and delivery. Not to mention the years of education and practice, expensive equipment, insurance, marketing, business costs, and the general livelihood of the photographer. I’m not saying this to make you feel bad but hope to show you that it’s not just “one day” of work. Wedding photography is a luxury service and one of the only investments from your day that will long outlive it- photographs you will cherish for years to come. Consider what that means to you and whether it’s worth investing in.


YOU CAN’T HAVE THE RAW FILES

I don’t know any photographer that would willingly hand over RAW files to their client. It is not normal practice. RAW files require special software to be viewed and processed and they are like the raw ingredients of a recipe. They are unfinished work. The editing and exporting a photographer does is all part of the recipe to create the finished product of our service. It is not that the RAWs are necessarily bad or completely different to what you receive, but there is a lot that goes into creating the unique style and story of your day. Rest assured that we won’t leave anything out, you will be given a complete collection of memories from your day.

On a similar note, it hurts my heart when I see filters or editing over my finished images pop up online. I know you may be used to whacking a filter over everything you post on Instagram but you are not doing great things for your photographer’s brand or reputation when you do this. If you take a look at your contract you will see that this image manipulation is not actually allowed. I know it’s usually a harmless mistake and we as photographers have to educate clients on this sometimes. Make sure you keep that in mind! I could go into a whole other chat about reading contracts + copyright and usage of wedding photos but maybe we’ll save that for another blog.


TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

We’ve talked about “pinspiration” a lot and I love a bit of Pinterest. However, I have to say, if I get handed a big list of specifically-posed photographs to recreate on the wedding day, it makes me cringe a little! I’m all about a funny/joke-photo (PG of course) on the day but if we’re staging every little thing… not my vibe. I would hope if you’ve booked me, you already love my style and portfolio of work and trust me to capture all the epic moments on your day. While sometimes well-intentioned, (and many wedding blogs encourage it) being given a list can seem like you don’t trust your photographer. Just a note here, I’m not talking about a list of family/group shots- that is super helpful! If you want something unusual then definitely let me know, I’ll usually be happy to help. Being trusted to take the lead when it comes to direction and posing for your wedding portraits helps our client-photographer relationship so much!

Another thing when it comes to building trust is communication. Just like any relationship, communication is key! I believe as a photographer we set the tone when it comes to this. If we take a week to reply to an email and then get annoyed when we don’t hear back straight away, well, what do you expect? That being said, if we are nailing quick replies and clear communication and feel like we’re being left in the dark by a client it can be a little tricky! I always think it’s great to meet up if possible, then there will be a bit of back-and-forth emailing. I like to call a week before the wedding day, just to check-in with clients, have a chat, and confirm any last-minute details too. Communicating well and keeping your vendors in the loop will definitely get you the amazing client award!


I hope these tips have helped! You are not expected to be perfect and most of the time you will have never hired a wedding photographer/vendor before so don’t be too hard on yourself. Kindness, communication, and trust is key! I truly believe it is up to us as photographers to educate our clients and give advice when it comes to the booking process, helping with the wedding timeline, and setting clear expectations. I might do another blog/video about contracts and things your photographer wants you to know, so let me know if you’d be interested in that!

You can watch my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

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