When wedding photographers get together, we’re known to discuss (or debate) the things that can be a challenge in our line of work. Whether it’s videographers who’ve never met a telephoto lens or an Uncle Bob getting in the way of a shot, rest assured that we’ll be talking about it.
But what about us? Do we ever stop to think what we might be doing to draw the ire of others in the event industry? I wanted to know when we were playing the role of the villain, so I asked a few prominent wedding planners - two in the U.S. and one from the U.K. - to give me the dirt.
For the sake of getting some honest answers, I agreed to grant them anonymity. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Not reading the timeline
This should go without saying, but our planners had this on their lists. You can’t expect to wing it, dictate the plans or ask for changes on the day of the wedding. Having the day mapped out in advance is critical, regardless of whether your client has a planner or not.
2. Trying to be the expert at everything
Sure, we go to a ton of weddings every year and we might even put in more hours on-site than any other vendor. But try not to correct, redirect or ridicule the other experts. They’re there for a reason too.
3. Messing with dinner
The meal is the biggest production of any wedding day. It has the most moving parts and feeding hundreds of people requires plans to stay in place. Don’t make the bridal party late to the reception if it’s at all within your power. Manipulating events leading up to the dinner (cake cutting, speeches, etc.) is also a big no-no.
4. Giving the video crew a hard time
This is a big one. Yes, it goes both ways, but dictating the pace of day without consulting the videographer is short-sighted and unfair to your clients. You’re both being paid to capture the day, so be sure to respect each other and - for goodness sake - communicate. I know every photographer I’ve ever met has a videographer rant and vice versa. Still, most of the planners I talked to agree we should find a way to always be sharing.
5. Neglecting the details
Forgetting to take detail shots is a huge let-down for all of the planners on my panel. Couples devote endless hours to picking out centerpieces, flowers, candy, favors and more. Don’t let a hectic timeline or a dark room stop you from squeezing these important flourishes into your to-do list. Good detail shots also lead to relationships with other vendors.
6. Being an evil dictator
Planners seem to agree that there’s a fine line between making sure you’re giving your clients a rich collection of portraits and pushing them to exhaustion. It’s a long whirlwind of a day for your bride and groom, and no day ever goes off without some adjustment and improvisation. Try to be in tune with when enough is enough for your couple. Remember, you’re much more acclimated to the grind of a wedding day than anyone in the bridal party.
7. Forcing a first look
One of our planners said some wedding photographers have been pushing couples into a first look before the ceremony when it’s not what the bride and groom really wanted. While it can be convenient, this planner says some clients later express regret about seeing each other before they meet in the aisle.
No doubt, a lot of you are consummate professionals and can justifiably deny being guilty of any of these planners’ pet peeves. Or maybe, you’re shocked by what made my list? What do you think wedding photographers should or shouldn’t be doing? Leave a comment below.