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.