Portraiture and wedding photography may seem a bit like alchemy – and that’s because of the artistic ingredients involved in the process. However, there’s also a lot of science behind taking great pictures of people in formal settings. We’ve covered a lot of the essentials of this part-art, part-science endeavor before, but today we’re going to approach the issue from a wholly different angle. You see, no matter how skilled you are as a professional wedding photographer, or how much you know about lighting and compositions, there’s one ingredient without which all your photos are going to seem less than genuine. That ingredient is collaboration and it has everything to do with how you prepare your clients for the photo shoot. Now, especially for beginners this may seem like a daunting task, since talking to people you barely now can be difficult – all the more so when there’s a lucrative connection at stake. But with our bare essentials list of tips and tricks, we’re going to try and figure out the secrets of the photographer-client collaboration, one step at a time.
#1 Know what to tell your clients
Let’s break this down: you’re a professional wedding photographer, while your clients are mere normal people. They are effectively paying you money in exchange for your expertise. That’s why it’s vital to have that expertise, your very own handbook of style, laid out very clearly in your head. In fact, it’s even more useful to write it down, in accessible, layman terms. Know how much information they’re going to need at each step of the process – you don’t want to overwhelm them. The goal here is to create very clear expectations about what it’s like to work with you and to make them want that.
#2 Know what you’re about
This essential point, which you need in order to prepare your clients for the photo shoot, is inextricably linked with the one above. In fact, it’s difficult to tell which one comes first. Regardless, the point is that your clients expect you to have a philosophy, a concept behind your work – and they will keep asking you about it, in various forms, each step of the way. Needless to say, as a professional, you need to have the answer to this question ready, even if a potential client were to wake you up in the dead of the night.
#3 Know where to shoot
Though for a photographer setting the precise location right away might not be the main priority, it always is for the client. If you want to best prepare your clients for the photo shoot, expect to be asked this question early on in the process and know that you get to have the final say. If you only work outdoors, or, conversely, in a studio, do stand your ground and explain this from the get-go. Explain how you select your wedding shoot locations and sample your arguments with illustrations from your previous work.
#4 Know how to handle fashion choices
It requires no explanation, since this is wedding photography we’re talking about, but we’re going to lay it out for you anyway. It is vital to prepare your clients for the photo shoot with tips on what to wear. Some wedding photographers actually choose their clients’ outfits, others join them in their quest for attire, while the more relaxed set simply comes with a set of handy guidelines. Decide which approach you’re more partial to and prepare to stick with it.
#5 Prepare your clients for the photo shoot per se
This final point on our list involves actually running them through a description of what’s going to happen during the actual photo session. Tell them what they’re going to do and explain what you’ll be doing to. Don’t limit yourself to descriptions – tell them about the whys, too. The more they’re comfortable with your reasons, the easier it will be for you to work with them.