After a decent amount of time in the wedding industry, I have heard brides, family, and friends of the bride complain about all kinds of things that have gone wrong at weddings. One thing I dread hearing are the things their photographer did wrong. I dread it because I start to over-think every wedding and wonder what my past clients would say about my services.
These are the top 5 complaints I have heard about wedding photographers in the last few months. I am sure at some point I have managed to cause all of these, but I certainly don't do that anymore!
SO- Here are the top 5 complaints brides have about their wedding photographer:
1) "They didn't get any photos of my grandparents being seated"
What everyone needs to know is that the wedding processional begins with the parents and grandparents being seated. Their presence symbolizes the beginning of the wedding and the beginning of a new chapter for the bride and groom. Why anyone would think that moment was not worth photographing is beyond me. And know that if you don't get those photos, your brides (and their families) will talk about it later.
2)"They didn't even get shots of the wedding party walking down the Aisle"
I recently had a bride ask me if I was going to be photographing their wedding party walking down the aisle. I quickly realized that what she meant was "Will you be capturing their ascendance from the front (head on) or from behind (of their backs).
Brides want to see their wedding parties faces. Imagine that! Now to be fair, I have quite a few weddings in my portfolio where I was only able to photograph an angle where all I could see was their backs. Whether it be because I wasn't allowed past a certain point due to Chapel rules or because of my previous inexperience, I have done it.
"But what do you do when you can't get that angle or don't have a second shooter? "
For me, I always make it happen. However I can, I have learned that it is too crucial to be lazy about.
I typically will stand at the back rows of the seating and will photograph the processional, the bride entering with her father, turn and snap the grooms expression, then photograph the bride and her father walking the rest of the aisle from behind. This ensures that I can get both face and back shots AND the shot of the groom all from one general location.
3)"I wanted more photos of my guests"
I can't tell you how many times I have heard this. You guys, your bride wants to look back and remember who attended her wedding and she wants to see that everyone had a good time! I know people shoving food in their mouths may not be the most flattering or comfortable thing to shoot. Snap a few of those, go get some food for yourself, and then pick the camera up and focus on the mingling guests. If there are kids on the dance floor hopping around, photograph it. If there is a DJ or a band, photograph them.
In short- don't just snap those big moments (First Dances, Cutting the Cake, Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss, Exit...) but instead, make sure you get some of those real life in the moment photographs of the guests.
Plus- this opens up possibilities for more clients! If they see that you took a great shot of them at a friends wedding, they're more likely to use you for their own photography needs.
4) "The whole wedding felt like I was being pulled away from family and friends for another photo op"
Keeping a timeline is crucial to a wedding and ensuring that you get every shot your bride has asked for plus the impromptu moments only adds on the stress of getting things done in time. However, we need to pay attention to the body language of our clients. So many brides have told me that they felt like they weren't able to relax and enjoy their reception because their photographer would interrupt their conversations to pull them away from their guests for another photo opportunity.
If we know that there is a shot the bride has specified as a must have, then do what you've gotta do. However, pay attention to when, where, and how you go about setting up your shot. Make sure you leave your couple alone for a bit to destress, wind down, and spend time with their friends and family. Photograph from other angles, photograph details, go to the bathroom if you need to. Just pay attention to them! It is their day afterall!
5) "They didn't deliver on their selling points"
This is one that I find quite frustrating. If you promote yourself as being a film photographer but show up to a wedding with only your DSLR and don't provide any of the prints you've agreed to deliver, then you have a big problem on your hands. Word of mouth is EVERYTHING in this industry. If you don't deliver then you can guarantee that your clients will talk. Once word gets out that you're unreliable you will have to work ten times harder to rebuild your credit, if you can.
Instead of just not showing up with the right equipment or not being able to provide previously advertised material, be honest with your client. I have learned that being transparent gets you a lot further than just hoping they don't notice!