Professional Wedding Photography
An interview with a Professional Wedding Photographer about the Wedding Photography business.
1. Many of the Wedding Photographers will be wanting to start their own business doing wedding photography. What advice would you give to other Wedding Photographers as far as starting the business and making it profitable?
I know that starting out, you are going to be hired often times because you are cheap. And that is great, work is work so take it. Take everything you get offered and then photograph every event like it is the only event. I smile big, I have fun with the brides maids, I look for every interesting angle and shot I can come up with, I make sure the bride knows how stunning she looks, I make sure the mother of the bride knows every effort at making her daughters day special is appreciated. In short, I try to be as genuine and useful as I can at every wedding, no matter who it is or what I am getting paid. Brides talk, bridesmaids get married down the road, mothers of the bride have friends with daughters, word will get out about how indispensable you are, and soon you will be getting hired doing weddings because they have to have you, not because you are cheap, and that is when you can raise your pricing accordingly.
2. Do you have a style? Posed and formal, relaxed, photo journalistic, creative, artistic, candid, traditional? Do you suggest that other Wedding Photographers have a style or remain open to various styles?
I have been trying to decide what my “style” is this whole year, and I can’t pin it down. I tried to go strictly photo journalistic, it didn’t work well for me, most of my clients aren’t used to being in front of a camera and want a little guidance from me, so I try to do that: set up shots, pose up couples, and then let the moment happen. I try to do Wedding Photography as creative and artistic as possible and I keep my eyes peeled for emotion, and try to be ready to capture it. I think that over time my style will become more and more defined, and I think that is the same for most wedding photographers. Over time you learn the things you like to do, the things that definitely do not work for you, and go accordingly.
3. What do you think about the Mother of the Wedding? Tolerable? How can other wedding photographers deal with the mother and bride?
Ok, this is a tricky question, I have been asked a lot about dealing with “bridezilla” and honestly, I don’t know if I have just been lucky or what, but I have never encountered one. Maybe I just have amazing clients. As for the mothers, well, I think I learned a great lesson this year about mothers and brides.., not all mother/daughter relationships are equal and I think it is my responsibility to gauge that and act accordingly. I try and put myself in the position of the mother, or the bride, which is easy for me as a woman, and I try and make sure that everyone feels validated. A LOT of emotions are going on at a wedding and sometimes it is as much my job to listen as it is to photograph. I could probably write a whole segment on this topic though, it is one of my favorite aspects of the wedding day, as weird as that sounds.
4. Do you recommend having an assistant for Wedding Photography? What do you look for in a wedding photography assistant and what is their role?
Absolutely, get an assistant if you can!!! I have the worlds best assistant for Wedding Photography, she is perfect. We work well together, she knows instinctively what I need when I need it. She does not mind carrying my stuff all over kingdom come, she knows I am flighty and forgetful and that when I photograph I get into a zone where I can’t remember my own name, let alone my flash cover. She is also my second pair of eyes, she is very good at seeing details that are out of place and letting me know. I say, if you can get a “Linda Clone” you are all set to go in the assistant department. I should also mention that I have an enormous ego sometimes and not only does she help me keep that in check when it is appropriate, but she helps inflate it when I need it most. Can you tell I feel strongly about this? I LOVE my assistant. Get one just like her.
5. What Photography equipment would you bring with you to the Wedding?
I have my 5D, my back up camera, my 24-70 lens, and my 50 mm. I usually rent a couple of lenses for weddings, such as a 70-200 and a wide angle. I have a 480 ex flash, a reflector, a tripod, a wireless remote trigger for the flash, and a myriad of memory cards. My sweet hubby also always packs me a snack, a bottle of water, gum and some form of caffeine. (I love him)
6. How do you manage photography copyrights? How would you recommend managing copyrights?
Copyrights… I include a CD with my package so I generally just give them a letter allowing them to print the pictures where they choose. There are two reasons for this. Number one, they are going to do it anyway, and number two, I am a little lazy, I do not want to deal with making prints. I make strong suggestions on where to print the pictures, and I even show them samples of generic print labs verses great print labs, and that is that. I know other people do it differently but I am just not that organized.