What to do before the big day?
There’s one thing we can certainly agree on: Planning a wedding isn’t easy.
No matter how simple or complex the plan is, there are always many things to take care of. The location, the dress, the suit, the guests, the tables, the music, the menu, the schedule, the photographer…
That’s right, imagine that you already have a photographer, or even if you’re still looking, imagine that you were able to navigate through the sea of many to find one that you really like, your island miraculously discovered in the middle of that ocean of possibility! You liked the images you saw on the site, you talked to him, you met him in person and you had a lovely chat, you saw some beautiful albums and you came to an agreement about what you wanted. Everything is on the right track for your big day, but all of a sudden that one thought goes through your head: “I know next to nothing about this person that will spend one of the most important days of my life close to me!”
Next thought: “How will I be comfortable with this person taking my pictures throughout the day?!”
Next thought: “It will show on my face and all the pictures will be horrible!”
Next thought: “Cancel everything! I don’t want it anymore…”
Take it easy! Let’s simmer down a bit.
A lot of people get this feeling because in fact they interact very few times with the photographer before the wedding. And if we don’t interact a lot with the person, how do we get to know the person? Right?
Now I’ll tell you as a photographer, so that you get to see the other side, and so you don’t feel all alone.
I as a photographer, share these doubts and hesitations, I am afraid of not knowing my bride and groom well enough and not being able to give them the photos they most like because of that. And that’s why I think it is extremely important and why I like to talk to my brides and grooms, and the same is probably true for your photographer, no matter who it is.
I know that the more I interact with my couples, the better I’ll get to know them, the quicker I’ll be able to realize what they like and it will be easier for me to provide the type of experience they so desire both on their wedding day and when it’s time to see the photographs on their album.
So what can we do to increase the photographer-bride&groom interaction?
There are many options, ranging from the simple email, to talk about how the planning is going (I personally tend to send a questionnaire to the couple about 3 months prior to ask some questions and help get the conversation started) to a phone call or getting together for coffee to ask “How’s it all going?” Personally I think that with the experience of attending so many weddings there are things in which I can be of assistance, when it comes to schedules and such.
Another good option is to make sure that you have the chance to do and engagement shoot with your photographer before the big day! And now you’re thinking “there he goes, trying to get his way…”, and I say, yes, but not exactly the way you’re probably thinking.
What’s the good thing about these shoots? No pressure. There isn’t a wedding day schedule to worry about. And this means that we have time for conversation in the middle of the photographs. Conversation is the best thing for people to get to know each other and also to relax and I see this in portrait sessions in the studio too. As we talk and we find out who likes dogs and who likes cats, who prefers to work out in the morning or in the evening, that the place where you met is just around the corner (yes, the subjects for conversation can vary a lot), we get a bit closer to the person we are talking to, and that makes us more comfortable and therefore calmer and more confident that the results on the wedding day will be just as good. All this and the fact that it can be an afternoon or a morning that is a lot more fun than doing seating arrangements! ;)
So, I was in fact trying to get my way, but not so I have one more shoot to do, rather to ensure that the photographs on your wedding day will be even better, because I had the chance to get to know you better too.
Even if there isn’t a shoot, even if it is just going to get coffee, to chat a bit, no pressure, before the wedding, that will no doubt lead to better pictures, which is really what a wedding photographer wants to give to his bride and groom.
So here’s the question: Have you planned your engagement shoot yet?