It happens to me all too often: a bride or groom sees our wedding work work in a bridal magazine or blog and tells me that it's been a dream of theirs to be featured and can't wait for me to submit the wedding. Often, this happens far before her wedding has been shot; I'm talking first meeting and boom, "I can't wait to be in a magazine." As professional photographers, obviously, we know there is much more to getting featured than the desire itself. At this moment, when my client gushes about their dreams of being published, I see this as an opportunity to educate them and help get their wedding that much closer to being featured.
I establish with the couple what their vendor list looks like right off the bat. I don't sit and ask the names of each hired pro so I can stalk them, more so just to get a conversation started with her in regards to the other pros who will come together with us to see if this is even a possibility. I can enlighten her as to what magazines and blogs are seeking so she realizes the amount of effort and the level of work it's going to take. At this point, I like to make a suggestion if she decides that this task is over her limit; I pass along a few vendors that I've personally worked with that I know truly do an excellent job and deliver a great experience. This is also great to build a team you know can help you get to show off your work.
Talk details. Does your client have a clear vision of what their day looks like? Are they including unique out-of-the-box touches? I'm talking tabletops that would inspire a bride if she stumbled upon your photos on Pinterest or Instagram, a vintage pair of shoes, or handmade handkerchief for dad — things that are out of the ordinary and create a story just in a solo portrait alone. See this example here of an arbor backdrop along with the couple's favorite cocktail recipes hung on a string! That's some cool stuff, and it inspires others to get their creative juices flowing and do something epic on their day!
Give your input as a professional on the importance of the timeline. You've done this before; your client has not. Therefore, things will seem more or less important as far as timing goes, so they need us to clarify what time really flows like on the day of. Not only does this help the other vendors see the flow, it can also help clear the ceremony site in an orderly time so the photography and videography team can come in and get clean photos of the space.
Day-of coordination is so important; if things get off track, be sure to stay clear on your coverage of all the important moments, details, etc. When I'm going into a wedding that I know without a shadow of a doubt can be featured, I approach it with my creativity as my sidekick and my organization at its best. Say the bride is running late and wants to arrive in her dress; I let her know that without dress details and fun shots of her shoes, this will likely lessen her chances of being picked up. Here, you could suggest she maybe rush family portraits a bit as to squeeze out more time for her arrival and getting ready photos. Obviously, be selective with what portion of the day you recommend rushing as certain parts of the day are more or less important to each and every bride or groom.
Shoot, shoot, and then, shoot some more. Bridal magaziness and blogs love details, love to see the tables, the fonts, the color schemes, and of course, your clients' unique touches that made their day the dream for them that it was. Make sure your photographs clearly capture this; getting featured is really big for you as well! Make sure to demand an empty room shot so you can grab the reception space without staff lingering around. They can take a two-minute walk and resume their jobs as soon as you're done.
The Submission Process
Know the publication you are submitting to; they all have a certain style or theme they are looking for. Also, be mindful of the season or time of year. It doesn't hurt if you can find out their print schedule. This will help you be prepared for future issues. Lastly, make sure you add in some of your favorite portraits of the bride and groom that really showcase your signature style.
In final, I've had the amazing opportunity to capture some pretty epic backyard weddings and did one last weekend that I'm 100% sure will make the cut for a featured wedding. Educating your clients to help you get the absolute best coverage for them is key. I've never had a client be anything but thrilled that I took the time to walk them through some helpful tips towards making their day a little easier!