Brandon and Katrina Wong are an award-winning husband and wife photography team who approach each wedding with an infectious joy that shines through in each moment and every beautiful photograph. Their work has been recognized by renowned associations such as the Wedding Photojournalist Association, Fearless Photographers and the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers, and we are more than pleased to partner with Brandon and Katrina in their guest blog post on how to communicate effectively with clients to create excellent relationships.
Many budding wedding photographers believe that the key to a great photo is having the right lighting, pose, focus, and other little camera details. While these are all important, of course, there is one tool that is practically essential in the field of wedding photography. Even better, it’s free, and you probably already have it.
What is it? Communication.
This may seem like an incredibly simple thing, but it’s something that’s absolutely required whenever you’re shooting for anyone else besides yourself. Talking to your couple and figuring out exactly what they want will make the process smoother for everyone and also immensely improve the quality of your shots.
So, we’re not going to go over camera or lighting tips in this article. Instead, here’s some tips on how to use communication to become the wedding photographer everyone’s talking about!
1. Meet with your couple!
This is an essential step, but it’s also the most difficult one to pull off since couples are usually incredibly busy planning for other things in their wedding. However, staying with constant contact with your soon to be husband and wife is great for not only getting more info about the wedding venue so you can plan your shots, but also learning more about the couple themselves. At the very least, try to have one big meeting so you can get as much information as possible.
The best way to meet with your bride and groom is face-to-face. After all, nothing beats talking with someone in-person. This isn’t always an option due to time and location concerns, of course, but there are plenty of other options these days thanks to the wonders of technology. For example, we usually use Skype to video call couples in another country since it’s free, easy to use, and gives us a way to see each other without actually having to be next to each other.
Again, constant contact is key.Don’t be one of those wedding photographers who vanishes off the face of the earth until the day of the actual wedding!
2. Plan out your meetings!
Since your couples are usually pressed for time, it’s best to figure out what exactly you should ask them beforehand so you can avoid wasting precious minutes. Commit a list of questions to memory if you can. You don’t want to spend half of your meeting fumbling through pages of notes, after all.
Also, when you’re preparing your questions, include the usual ones as such where the wedding is taking place, how many people you should expect, and so on. But you should also try to throw in some more personal ones that reveal more about the couple, their individual likes, their relationship so far, and so on. This might seem needlessly prying and irrelevant, but remember that you’re doing more with your photography than just creating pretty pictures. You’re capturing a story with each and every one of your shots, and it’ll be difficult for you to catch those stories if you don’t know the details behind them. What if that guy dancing next to the groom during the wedding is actually his childhood friend that he just reunited with after years of separation? What if the bride absolutely loves dancing and wants more than anything else to be photographed on the dance floor, surrounded by all her family and friends? You won’t know unless you find out by asking!
3. Be friendly!
Here’s another simple tip, but it really needs to be said. A wedding is an incredibly intimate occasion usually shared with the people you love the most, so you should do your best to become as connected with your couple as possible. You’re more or less a guest in their wedding, after all!
We treat every couple we meet as our close friends right from the start, and we always do our best to treat our couples like family even after their weddings are over. Not only does this make couples more open and willing to work with us, but it gives us something that’s practically invaluable in the world of wedding photography: Friendships that will last for a lifetime!