5 Things Brides Wish Their Wedding Photographers Knew

5 Things Brides Wish Their Wedding Photographers Knew

Guest Writer's and Dale and Jill Lempa of Lempa Creative are a husband and wife team of photographers from Cary, NC who specialize in wedding and engagement photography. If you're a wedding photographer, then you can understand how stressful or hectic weddings are. Sometimes it might not occur that the bride is just as, if not more stressed out than we are. Dale and Jill have taken the time to share these helpful insights in just what the bride is thinking and how you as the photographer can help!

1) “I have no idea what to do with my body when you are taking pictures. I am not the photographer—you are. I cannot see how I look— you can. Unless you instruct me exactly how to place every limb, finger, and tilt of my head, I will nervously stand there with a less than convincing smile because I am not confident in my pose. I am going into this with the assumption that you will tell me how to do everything.”

The best thing to do is keep the bride’s mind occupied on anything other than how uncomfortable she feels. Keep her relaxed. It will show in the photographs if the bride enjoys herself. Talk her through it and constantly direct her. If she is perfectly posed and doesn’t require any more adjusting, then tell her that too!

2) “Please tell me the photos are looking great. If you spend an hour straight shooting me and never once tell me that these photos are turning out, I will begin to lose confidence in you.”

The bride has no idea what is running through your mind. You must constantly reassure her that you are in control and that you love the look of the photos and that you are enjoying coming up with ideas. You don’t need to tell her that you used the same poses last week. Assure her that you are giving her your full ability, ingenuity, and attention, and that you are loving every minute of your work.

3) “Your pre-rehearsed jokes are not funny and it would be better if you didn’t say them at all. All you are doing is making me feel even more awkward than I already feel. Please be original and genuine and if you aren’t funny— that’s fine, just don’t try to be funny.”

Pre-rehearsed jokes are abominable. Even if you think you can make them sound genuine, you can’t. Do not use them. Instead, work out of the moment and try to have a goofy mind when you are socializing with the couple. Without becoming unprofessional, you have to be willing to make a slight fool of yourself; this will put the bride at ease and it will result in better facial expressions and body language, which of course results in better photos.

4) “I do not feel comfortable posing pictures in front of everyone. Please find a quiet, private place to take my photos—especially if you are shooting just me, or just my groom and me together. I definitely do not feel comfortable posing a kiss in front of other people.”

This is absolutely necessary! The bride and groom already feel a little awkward about all the fuss over them (most do), so you must whisk them away for their couple’s photos. This will also be a much needed breather for the two and probably the only time that they have together away from all of their guests and wedding party. Ideally, when shooting formals, work from the largest group and then whittle it down to just the bride and groom. As you are finished with each group, send them away. We typically begin with the family, then move to the wedding party, and then to just the couple. Be clear but polite that you want everyone to leave as they are finished. You may have to put your foot down with some people, but remember that you are working for the couple, not the family, wedding party, or guests. Your couple will appreciate it—but only if you deliver high quality photos!

5) “I want some candid shots and I want them to look natural. There are a few things that I have seen online that I want and I expect you to know exactly what I am talking about and I expect you to be able to recreate it beautifully.”

You need to know the current trends even if you don’t like them. I personally prefer coming up with my own ideas, but your bride almost certainly has seen something somewhere that she wants you to duplicate. You need to know what she’s talking about and you need to be able to deliver. You don’t have to use it in your own marketing, but you do need to be able to perform that for your client.

See more of Dale and Jill's work at Lempa Creative.

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46 Comments

Simply put, it's these kinds of things that separates a professional from the "friend with a good camera".

Not neccessarily. A friend with a camera, and the knowledge and aesthetic, that knows both the bride and groom would probably fair better, and that is the point I think the author is trying to make. You have to come off as a good friend who just happens to be taking pictures. It puts everyone at ease, and the day goes by so smoothly that the couple won't feel like they're being photographed.

Well said! Two thumbs up! I share the same thoughts… xoxo:D
<a href="http://www.rahelmenigphotography.com/" rel="nofollow">RahelMenigPhotography.com</a>

Like@facebook-100004364947211:disqus , I agree with her assessment @facebook-12706346:disqus .  I have been able to develop a working friendship with couples by first getting to know them and as much as possible seeing the day through their eyes first and then adding all that I see around them that they miss by just being the focus of everyone else. It's important for us as professionals to remember that it's not our day but theirs and the moment only happens once. @profimagephoto:disqus

True, yet what percentage of people have that friend? Very few, I bet.

Thats 'simply put' soooooo not true.
Friends with a good camera and great talent do exist!
Ive seen too many 'professional' wedding series that were uninspired, non creative and clinical.
'Professional' doesnt guarantee that the results are great.You choose a photographer because you like their style, and if that's your talented photographer friend with a good camera, why not.

Sure friends exist that do - and sure they make great photos too, but the point of paying for a professional is that you are paying for results. Be it a plumber, photographer, or civil engineer, you are paying for their experience and ability to problem solve and deliver. Bad plumbers exist just as bad photographers, and it's up to the client to sort that out. I don't shoot weddings professionally, so i'll bring my gear to friends' weddings sometimes and take some fun shots - but it's exactly that: me taking the shots I want to take that will look good to me. I'm not responsible for, nor do i feel the pressure to capture the kiss, the cake cut, and everything else on the "must have" list. I'm just there to snap the moments that inspire my eye.

Now when I show up to a client's shoot, they could care less about my whims. They have a product they want glorified, and they are spending their marketing budget on you to make it happen. FF vs APS-C? Canon L vs Zeiss ZE? they could care less, but you'd better not have finger prints on the product, distracting reflections, etc. You are a professional, and your ability to sort those details out is assumed.

I have nothing against "friends with fancy cameras", but it would be easy to make think that they are just as good as a pro by looking only at gear. Where we - as professionals - need to hang our hat is on delivering results. That is what separates you from them - yes, they can make a flare+bokeh+VSCO'd good looking picture that awesome, but you MUST deliver that AND (for weddings) the cake cut, the kiss, the walk down the isle, etc., AND they should be properly exposed, white balanced, composed, and archived in case of harddrive failure. That is why you get paid.

Thank you for your explanation. I understand what you mean:)
There is no room for error on a wedding day. I understand this. 

Still, i'm totally not impressed by most modern professional wedding photography. Proper exposure, sure. Technical correct sure.  But character and soul? No guarantee. Ofcourse there are A LOT great wedding photographers if you look for them.

That's where you define your competitive advantage as a pro  - technically correct, requirement satisfying, AND artistically substantial photos. Bad wedding photogs should just make the good ones look even better.

James's picture

Examples of abominable Pre-rehearsed jokes?

Anthony Riordan's picture

The worst I've heard when second shooting were:
1. Now place your hand on top of hers...but don't get used to it, that's the last time you'll have the upper hand
2. Smile, it's a wedding not a funeral
3. You know, this is the most violent career in the world; wedding photography. First I shoot you, then I frame you and finally I hang you.

The key is as soon as they say it they erupt in the biggest laugh you've ever heard even though the bride and groom have a mortified look on their face. When I shoot I try more to make small talk just so people feel more comfortable. If something funny is happening, then I'll make a joke(they don't always go well though)

James's picture

You obviously don't know how to use humor as a tool to connect with
your clients and so does the person who wrote
tip number 3.

Anthony Riordan's picture

Just spotted this reply now. My goal is to make the shoot fun not funny. And I'm actually pretty funny. So :P

Mihnea's picture

Your Friends Dale and Jill  I think they are retarded. Number (3) is so not real.

It's true that not every photographer uses lame jokes, but that image is a stereotype in our culture that unfortunately some people feel obligated to fulfill--we have even had clients ask us to tell them jokes while we were shooting.  We are mostly referring to the jokes that are thought up beforehand with the hope that it will appear spontaneous.  Things like "Kiss now while you're still in love" or anything referring to the honeymoon.  These things are not only awkward but insulting to a couple.

James's picture

Nonsense ! you are confusing 'bad jokes'  with 'bad timing'

"Kiss now while you're still in love" IS funny if used at the right
time with the right person.

You really seem to be desperately wanting to prove the opposite. Only because you seem to be glorious exception that doesn't mean you have to prove everyone so.

Number 3 is very real, and I would suspect it an issue with new photographers who haven't gotten their persona down pat. Everyone does not have the ability to instantly engage people; it is a trait that some people may never get right, and others are just born with. It's like that scene in Wedding Crashers, when Rachel McAdams tries to give the sarcastic roast toast, and has to backpedal to the endearing, heartfelt toast instead. "Everybody ain't got the gift."

Mihnea's picture

Number 4, pardon.

Most brides (and grooms) are not experienced models, and they will not be completely comfortable posing a kiss in front of other people, especially their parents and in-laws.  At the very least it doesn't hurt to take them away from the wedding day crowds to eliminate distractions when you get their portraits.

I agree. Not to mention that in most cases, if you let family hang around in the background during formals, there's a HUGE chance that at least one aunt has a camera and is standing right next to you making it hard for the couple to know who to listen to. I've had this happen at every wedding I've done so far.

I know the feeling Nichole--that is why my contracts state explicitly that I am the exclusive commercial photographer and although others way take photos, anyone interfering with my work as a photog and I may "cease work until
such interference ends."

Don't let Uncle Pete eff up your session!!

Patryk M's picture

Great article. Also I see the image uses natural lens flare :) Not photoshop....

Yup! The sun was right behind them which adds that flare, and then we added some color via split toning in LR3.

Ellen Schmidt's picture

Oh great, f-stoppers is starting to follow the Buzzfeed model of reporting.  I can't wait to read the articles entitled "10 simple tricks to juice up your photos" or "Top 5 cameras you wish you could afford".   Ugh!

Lauren Jonas's picture

Hi Ellen, 

We want to give our guest writers the opportunity to be heard on Fstoppers. In the submission guidelines we write to submit a title with your article. Every post goes directly to twitter so we want the title to be concise and catchy. I chose to stick with his title because had it been anything else it probably wouldn't have worked. 

Patryk M's picture

I'm so glad I dont own a blog. Some of these comments are just crazy. Thanks for the GREAT POST Lauren.

I don't want to "know the current trends".  In fact I want to avoid them.  Hopefully they hired you for your style.  You don't go to a Ferrari dealership and ask to test drive a Honda.

Urban Safari Phtg's picture

THIS!  Thank you.  I definitely disagreed with #5.  

This gets into the issue of business versus art.  We prefer to be original but at the same time we are serving paying clients.  There are certainly some fads that we would refuse to do, even if requested, but as long as the fad is not distasteful we will fulfill our clients' desires in that regard.  Overall, we are convinced that the more we know about the industry, including the fads that we dislike, the better we can understand and market our own brand.

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