How To Ensure That You Have Enough Time To Get The Shots A Couple Will Love | Dear Devlin

Dear Devlin.

I’ve had enough of weddings going so so hectic and not being able to get the shots myself and the couple would love. The venue timelines are often organised very poorly, and the getting ready part is always late. How on earth are expectations set, I see all these photographers’ work and just wonder how on earth they had so much time to create magic? Little Squeak

Dear Little Squeak

I hear you! I’m sad to say that it’s my experience from 22 years of doing this job that it is often exactly like this. What’s new though is that we now have the Comparison Monster that is Social Media.

First of all, I want you to think about what you post yourself. Do you ever write a caption explaining what it was really like? Or do you gloss over the crazy reality that shots were achieved in and focus on the good bits instead? So if you are doing it, chances are that those photographers that you think are ‘creating magic’ are often doing the same.

Recently I had a conversation with our Thrive mentor Rebecca Carpenter and she said something very insightful. ‘It’s not magic, it’s mindset’. I love this so much that we’ve decided it should be the topic of her talk at our Thrive conference in March. I think it will be incredibly helpful to hear from her, about the reality of running her business.

As a photographer, you are a key supplier on the wedding day and you have a certain amount of power. Chances are high that you’ve been to way more weddings than your clients so you have knowledge that’s very valuable on what can make the day flow better for everyone involved. The venue might have set ways of doing things but the couple is the paying clients and if they would like an extra 30 minutes here and there then that is usually well within reason.

Nobody wants a stressed wedding day but sadly yes – they often end up that way. Expectations might be much above reality and I do wonder sometimes if couples think they can somehow bend time on a wedding day! They simply don’t factor in things like it takes time to get 100 people out of a ceremony.

Yes, if you don’t mention anything about getting ready, then they will take guidance from whoever is helping them. Of course, an MUA is going to want as much time as possible and they might also want content for their own social media. You can point out that they don’t want to be ready exactly at the time that they need to leave. They need time to get themselves together and gather up what they need to take with them, plus hopefully have some lovely portraits done. So if they need to leave by 2pm, suggest they are fully ready by 1.15pm.

With a little communication ahead of a wedding day, you can gently guide them to avoid common mistakes and suggest that they account for simple logistics in their timeline like moving numerous people from one place to another or leaving plenty of time for photos.

You could use the power of a Studio Management System like Studio Ninja* to automatically send out an email or two after a couple has booked you, passing on your valuable tips. For ideas on how these might look, we have a module in The Barn from one photographer who created an entire series of emails that drip-fed to her clients between the time that a couple booked her and the wedding day. She did this precisely to make her job as the photographer much easier on the day, sending everything from YouTube videos on tying cravats to links on the best confetti canons to buy (hello affiliate income!)

You might not go quite this far but at least one email is manageable and can make a huge difference in how it feels to do your job. Don’t leave any of this to the last minute or just turn up on the day hoping that you will get enough time. Use your influence early in the process and then yes, you should find it less hectic.

*Get 50% off your first year of Studio Ninja when you use the code FARM at signup