Let’s face it, when it comes to the biggest day of your life, your day job matters little. Engaging in holy matrimony is supposed to be one of the most special days of your life. The problem with such a pinnacle event as a wedding is that brides and grooms have a tendency to fly by in a blur of emotion. Luckily for us, that is why people hire wedding photographers. But what exactly do prospective lovebirds look for in a photographer? In a world where wedding photographers are seemingly as common as lawyers, how do you stand out from the crowd?
Ask lots of questions
Question the client on venue and itinerary. Obviously they will have enough to worry about without you harassing them for every little detail, but it’s imperative to know exactly what they expect from you. After all, there really are no second chances. Find out what style of photos they want. They may not be aware of the options they have, black and white? How about color or sepia? Have they thought about whether they want either staged or spontaneous photos?It’s also a good idea to discuss the packages you offer. Do they require your services for the entire day, including the reception? Who is responsible for storing the photos long-term? When and where should you arrive?
Try to avoid jargon
Try and avoid using too much jargon when meeting your clients, and be sure to look out for that bemused face as a sign of when you’ve gone too far. Try to avoid explaining how you’re going to use a telephoto lens to capture intimate moments from afar, or how they could use candid pictures to capture the apparent naturalness of the day. Make sure clients understand what a model release is if you’d like them to sign one, explain what it means when they get a license but not full rights to the images, etc. They don’t know unless you tell them.
Reassure your client
Sounds obvious, but make sure you reassure your client of your experience in wedding photography, and convince them you truly are the best person for the job. Champion your work by showing them your portfolio or website. Be sure to meet them before the day of the actual event. They will want to ensure they feel completely comfortable around you, and similarly be sure to convince them you can go unnoticed.
It’s all about personality (as well as talent)
OK, so obviously this is not something you can change to fit requirements. However, any blushing bride will be aware of the fact that a photographer’s personality can make or break a wedding. It takes a special kind of person to be able to intrude on such a special occasion, and be able to utilize their photographic skills without being intrusive. Also, when it comes to winning new clients, never underestimate the importance of referrals. Your next jobs might come as a result of previously making a good impression at a client’s friends, family or co-workers wedding.
So long as you are careful, and know who you want to target, advertising can be a great help in generating new business. Try putting signs on your car and leaving business cards in selective cafes and venues which would make suitable wedding venues. Similarly, do not be afraid to get out there and promote yourself via networking events and bridal features.
Just remember that this is most probably the biggest and most important day of your clients lives (certainly the bride anyway!). Whilst weddings can be stressful and wedding photography challenging, they can also be very rewarding. It can be a real privilege to be asked into such a close group of family and friends, and so long as you carry out the job you are paid to do you will receive a real sense of gratification.