Catchy title, right? I rolled around how to title this in my head for a while and I just couldn’t come up with anything as interesting as this. My go-to was to be a bit more demure but that’s simply no fun at all (insert proper British accent here).
I can’t tell you how many times we hear “Wow, you must see it all in your job.” Yes. Yes, we do. And that’s actually a good thing! We see all the love, hugs, tears, laughs….we also see all the drunken stumbles, the ring bearer picking his nose, the dirty looks from ex-husband to ex-wife, the oogling stares from groomsmen to bridesmaids, the “you wish” look from bridesmaids to groomsmen……ahhh yes…good times, good times. And we just love it.
Now let me say this too: it takes a lot to truly irritate us and to be outright honest there really is only one thing that will get me boiling and that’s if you’re mean to John or myself. We can handle absolutely anything else but that. Thankfully that’s a very very very rare thing and usually comes from someone at the wedding that has never had a conversation with us because if you spent even 2 minutes with either of us in a conversation you’d see we rock. This post just comes from a funny place so do try to take it lightly.
In this order:
10. Asking us to Photoshop…..absolutely anything. We get this a lot: “Can’t you just Photoshop Aunt Barb in the photo since she left early???” No. No we cannot. Photoshop is not a verb. We cannot Photoshop out the rain, Photoshop in a sunset, Photoshop in a person, Photoshop out a person….etc. What we can do is retouch your photos to make them look awesome.
9. Choose a billion locations for portraits in between your ceremony and reception. Listen, we know you want shots that rock. We get it and we are there for you. There is nothing we won’t do to get the shot but when you choose a bunch of different locations you’re limiting what we can do. We are inspired by our surroundings so if we’re jumping out of the vehicle for 3 to 5 minutes to hurry up and grab a few shots so we can speed to the next spot then we may miss something or you my forget something that you wanted. Slow down and enjoy your photo moments. They only come once!
8. Making the background of your photos more important than you are. This kind of goes along with #9. OK–you’re just going to have to trust me on this: Just because the flowers in Aunt Millie’s backyard are purple and your bridesmaids dresses are purple does not mean we need to get a photo of the bridesmaids standing in the flowers. This wedding is about you: the bride and the groom, not about the sign in the background, the river to your right, the city backdrop, the statue, tree, or building. Now don’t get me wrong…surroundings are inspiring, as I said above, but don’t get too caught up in what’s behind you in your photo…it’s not about that; it’s about you and your new husband and I guarantee we will focus on that.
7. Cutting and pasting the 100 questions from The Knot “List of things to ask your Photographer” AND/OR cutting and pasting the list of 100 photos to “Make sure your Photographer gets the shot”. I know you’ve never been married before. I know this is probably your first time going thru this and I know you’re nervous that you might forget a photograph you want us to take. I completely understand but at some point you just have to trust us. We know you want a photo of you and your new husband. We know you want a photo of your flowers. We’ve done this a time or two so what we really need to know is if there are any people at your wedding that you really want a photo with (like Aunt Millie from Seattle) or if there is anything really special that is at your wedding that you want a photo of (like the favors that Aunt Millie from Seattle made just for you). And the 100 questions? Wellll….I know you have questions but I recommend you use this list as a guide, not an absolute. Again-trust us. We are here for you and it does us no good to screw up your wedding photos. We want you to be as happy as you want to be…we’re all on the same team here.
6. Don’t notice or appreciate the little extras. Now, in all fairness here the reason the bride and groom don’t notice the little things is because, well, you know…they’re getting married and stuff. So we understand. But it makes us so happy when our couples take a moment to realize that there is an entire team of vendors behind the scenes all working together to make your day a special one. I wake up every Sunday sore and tired and I know you paid us well to wake up sore and tired but if you happen to notice that we showed up early to make sure we got your day started on time, paid for the hotel on our own to make sure we were there with no interruptions, gave Grandma a lift when she got left behind, helped sew the rip in your gown, stopped your stepmom from clubbing your mom, made sure the flower girl didn’t get trampled on the dance floor, teetered on that cliff to get that shot, and stayed late because you had a BIG send off planned for your night that you didn’t want us to miss but the band decided to do not one but THREE encores (which would have cost you around $350 extra to have had us stay that we didn’t charge you for) then a teensy Thank You just makes our day. And yes, we’ve done every single one of these things.
5. Bring printouts of other photographer’s photos for us to reenact. Yes, this one hurts a little. It’s important to us that you let us know what kind of photography you gravitate towards and what really grabs you. So if you want to add me to your Pinterest board please please please do. I love seeing what you like and it helps me build your day photographically when I can communicate visually with you. So yes, please show me what you like. But at the same time please don’t bring 10 pages of other photographer’s work and then ask me to mimic it. I’d like to think that John and I know what we’re doing and are creative enough to be able to deliver beautiful photography that was conjured from our own hearts and minds. I do approach your wedding day as a collaborative effort so I absolutely invite you to speak your mind and tell me and even show me where your eye goes but then trust us to deliver the POW factor.
4. Allowing a guest or bridesmaid to follow us around and tell us how to do our job. Notice I didn’t say groomsmen. Do I even need to explain that one? We know that you are surrounded by people who love you and want your wedding day to be the best it can be so we understand when folks want to make sure we get what they think you’ll want. And let me say this: we have photographed weddings where one person was designated the go-to guy/gal to point out the relatives and friends that were on the VIP list for photos and to you we say THANK YOU. That’s a huge help and we appreciate it when we get a heads up on those kinds of things. However, to the bridesmaid that got married last year and didn’t get the awesome photos from her photographer that she was expecting: this is not your second chance. We appreciate a bit of guidance with the whozits and whatzits but when you follow me around and tell me what photos to take it inhibits me, you get in the way and really irritate me. This isn’t my first rodeo sister and I know that the bride wants a photo of her flowers. I also know she wants a photo of her centerpieces, cake and shoes. I got this. Just sayin…
3. Giving your buddy from college that wants to get into photography permission to follow us around all day and ask us questions, bug us about our equipment, ask questions about how to work their camera and the best: stand behind us to grab every shot we shoot. Ohhhhhh….this is a no-no. I don’t know if you know this or not but wedding days are pret-ty busy for us. We’re on. the. go and the last thing you want on your wedding day is someone interrupting your photographer because that’s less attention for you. And listen, we know wedding photography isn’t exactly original but you paid us for our creativity, fast thinking and ideas so why in the world would you want your amateur buddy attempting to take a photo that we already nailed for you? It’s our work, our livelihood and it’s important to us that that be respected. It’s the little things that count.
2. Not making sure we’re fed, and fed well. Again–this one is a bit tricky because it’s your wedding day, you’re a bit busy and the last thing on your mind is if your vendors got a good meal. In addition to that, your caterer told you they’d take care of it and all you did was believe them. And for the most part, you can…however you have to remember that food costs money so anywhere costs can be cut they usually are….and that’s usually with the vendor meals. But checking in to make sure we got fed and fed well is something we really appreciate. We also very much appreciate when you don’t skimp out on us in the food because we’re with you allllll day and by the time we sit down for dinner, the only meal we’ve had is breakfast and that’s usually at least 10 hours previous to dinner. So we’re hungry…..actually we’re starving. We’re tired, thirsty and we just want a decent meal and little bit of time to recharge (and this typically happens when you and your guests are eating so we’re not even taking time away from you). After humping and bumping all day, sitting down to a cold, soggy sandwich with stale chips just doesn’t cut it. Or when you do order us a hot meal but skimp out on the little extras like a salad or bread. I once asked a server if I could have a piece of bread to go with the pasta meal we were given because the meal was so small I knew it wasn’t enough and he said no: the bride and groom didn’t pay for me to have a slice of bread. Oof. Really?? I know weddings are expensive but if you could take care of those that are taking care of you it is super-duper appreciated. I don’t need a lobster or steak….just a warm, fresh meal that is big enough to fill me up and get me ready to photograph the party for the rest of the night.
1. Uncle Bob. And the number one way to realllllly piss off your photographer is……….. allowing an Uncle Bob to ruin our shots with his brand-spankin-new thingamabob camera he just got for Christmas and just got out of the box special for your wedding day AND/OR (even more annoying) when you actually ASK an Uncle Bob to take a bazillion photos throughout the wedding day just in case the professional wedding photographers miss anything. Aye yai yai yai yai. Deep breath. Deep breath. OK. If you’re unsure why I call this an Uncle Bob it’s because that’s what my industry has adoringly named the guy or gal that gets in our shots to get his during a wedding day. He has no idea how to use his camera but it’s a fandancy of a thing and that means he’s entitled to his space and his right to walk all around us, in front of us and in our photographs so that he can use his fandancy camera. And worse is when they’re rude and could care less that they are ruining photos from the professional photographers you actually hired and paid to get that shot. This is happening more and more and more so we highly recommend you send out an email, message, text, Facebook or smoke signal that you planned your wedding day for your family and guests to enjoy. They are there to celebrate with you, be in the moment and make memories, not capture them. We got that. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Now, with that being said, we encourage your guests to get whatever photos they want. We know it’s a big day so we aren’t THAT photographer that stamps their feet and threatens to walk out when Aunt Millie asks if she can take a photo of the family on the altar with her own camera. We’re fine with that. But when you stand directly in our photograph and have no respect or regard for our work that’s when it goes overboard. And let me say this: you do not need anyone walking around and “getting the shots the professional photographer might miss”. I once had a mother of the bride ask a friend to do this and after ruining umpteen of our photos with her flash, tripping over me to get the same shot I got, being told (twice) to leave during the creative portraiture outside and then having me trip over her at the reception to get my shot John finally had to tell her if she didn’t stop we would. That’s not fun for us. You paid us a lot of money to create art for you….let us do that for you!
And in all fairness here is the #1 way you can make your wedding photographer happy: be happy on your wedding day. It makes our day when our couples are just exploding with joy on their wedding day. It sets the tone, it’s what your day is all about and it makes our job easy. You give us your unabashed happiness on your wedding day and we’ll make art out of it.