Post Wedding Problems
Today we're going to learn about terrible, horrible post wedding problems and this is the one that nobody really wants to talk about right because nobody really wants to think I've shot the wedding the wedding went really great now I came home now bad things happen when we think about problems that occur as a wedding photographer usually think you know, this went about on the day of the wedding rite or like the schedule kind of went south or the mother of the bride was crazy or the light was terrible you don't think about once you shot those images and you've gone home that there's still other things that could go wrong on and part of it is the problems part of it is preventing the problems than part of it is how you handle those problems when they do happen that I thought this really warranted kind of an entire day on its own and bad things are going to happen to you right? Like we talked about this the stuff that happens out of nowhere like being sick or, you know, a flat tire on the...
way to the wedding those are things you can't really planned for you can't really see them coming and if you're sitting out there and you're thinking oh, I've been in business for, you know, two years or five years or ten years and nothing bad has ever happened to me right it will, and I'm not saying that to be like a major downer, but, you know, stuff happens, right? And stuff's happened to us and stuff will continue to happen to me and it's all in how you prepare for it, then all in how you handle it when it does that, I think makes the true professional clients are going to get upset with you. I cannot stand up here and tell you that I have a one hundred percent success rate with every single client that I've ever had that's impossible at fifty weddings a year, a forty to fifty weddings every single year, and other portrait clients here and there and been in business for thirteen years to have had one hundred percent of my clients happy all the time, just statistically is impossible sometimes it's because of things that I did wrong sometimes it's because they just throw a curveball at you that you don't see coming, you have a client and they're great and they're wonderful and you're getting along with them and everything is roses and sunshine and unicorns and glitter, and then you show up on the wedding and it's awesome, and you're like skipping and fields together and everyone's happy, and you're weaving friendship bracelets and then you deliver the pictures and they're like, I hate the pictures and I hate you you're like, whoa where did this come from? So we're gonna talk kind of about the site the psychology of figuring out when your clients are upset with you are they upset with you? Are they upset with something else? You're just the vendor that's falling on because as photographers were the last people to deliver to our clients you know that the catering happens on the day and then it's done the flowers are on the day of and it's done ah lot of times it's either us or the videographers that air the last point in contact so if there's any lingering issues with how the wedding went or how something happened, we're going to be the one that kind of get the short end of the stick on that and also if anything happened with their wedding that they didn't like or say they're florist displeased them or the hope of that was built for them to get married under they didn't like it they're not going to like how we shot it either. So when you talk about all of that managing expectations that's kind of been a theme for the entire thirty days that you will minimise the problems that you have after the wedding if you've managed their expectations all the entire way right? However, even when you manage their expectations perfectly the entire way sometimes you can't anticipate those curveballs that we'll talk about have a great contract I have a contract that you've had looked at by a lawyer in your state. They were really wonderful. Resource is to get wedding photography contracts out there. There is a woman who runs a side called the law dog and she's. Wonderful. She is probably the only person I know that understands law and photography equally. She's got a great, wonderful contract, but even she will tell you that you need to have it looked at locally. Because if I buy a contract in california and then I moved to new york, the laws are going to be different and their little subtle differences. So it helps to have whatever you have contract wise looked over by a local attorney who you can actually talk to and be like, oh, this is these are the unique things about my business. These were the problems that I'm worried about. These are common problems that photographer space help me make sure that my contract covers all of those things, and my contract is three pages long. It's not brief, but it's to put. And I tell my clients it's long because it's to protect me from you, but it's also to protect you from me so it's, really just so that we can enter into this legally binding relationship that supports both of us it's not one sided the law dog brilliant, brilliant, brilliant woman! And in doing these thirty days, I realized that there are so many resource is out there for photographers that I'd never seen before, like of the law dog she's kind of genius. She writes these wonderful articles, you should go see her she's cool, how great insurance if you're a photographer and you're out there working and I'm not just talking about insurance for your gear if you dont have liability insurance, if you're not protected in case something bad happens to you, I don't think I need thio illustrate out what could happen to you. The insurance that I have is not only, um, gear, but I also liability if I get hurt if I hurt someone, if I lose my images, it's, why I'm still a pee pee a member for their errors and omissions that comes with my twenty three dollars and ninety five cents a month in membership fees. If something were to happen to me and someone were to sue me, I pay my deductible and people helps me with the legal side of things. Now I hope that never happens. I hope nobody ever sues me, but because you're dealing with clients who are human and you can't predict human nature, you just never know and it's not personal, it's, just business so if you go into these things if you go into these problems even if they were your fault even if it's the client's fault even if it's a vendors fault none of this is personal if your clients get mad at you because they hate their images they're not mad at you it's not you so the first thing that I would recommend when you have a problem is to take your personal feelings out of it and I'm not telling you not to care I care very much if anybody is ever unhappy with me for any reason but you have to divorce your personal feelings for it or else you won't be able to make clear business decisions so let's talk about all the bad things that can happen to you let's start with the big one you lost a card right now when I shoot weddings I shoot with two cards I have backup cards in my d for andy three us just got a d for s that happened to me in the last thirty days I'm super psyched I haven't shot it yet mostly I just sit at home and stroke it and whisper to it I haven't taken it to a wedding yet but that will happen it's so shiny and it's clean and it has like three shutter clicks on it but it's beautiful and I'm super excited about it but I do shoot with one card to cover the images of the day so in my d for s I'll have a backup card. We've talked about this that has my back of j pegs on it and I also put a sixty four gig card in there so that I don't have to change a card it all all wedding day now a lot of people will say, listen, are you putting all your eggs in one basket? Like what happens if something happens to that card? Well, in thirteen years of watching what's happened to wedding photographers, I have had tons of people say I lost a card because I had to change it during a wedding I had to change in the middle of a ceremony and I put in my pocket instead of my bag I gave it to my husband who is helping me for the day and he put it in a wrong spot and we lost it. I've never heard anyone sorry I had to just not going to chance this at all. I've never had anybody say both of my cards and my camera went corrupt have a main card in the backup card in both cameras that I shoot I am more likely to lose an image that I am now have lose a card that I am to have something happen to those cards so that's why I try very hard to not change cards at all during the wedding day but it breaks my heart when I'm on the internet and I see people who oh my god I lost a card it's gone what do you do well first of all I do shoot two cards in the camera just in case if for some reason I have to change one card and I lose it I've got my backup and yes it's only j pegs but it sure is better than nothing and I don't take that backup card out of the camera ever when I come home and I download I take out the main card in the back of cards days and it stays in there until I shoot that next wedding and I know that I've looked at all of my raw files I've cold through them everything is good then I raised the backup card you never know so I don't want to chance it but if you do happen to lose a card if you shoot with a camera that doesn't have a backup slot if if the unthinkable happens to you check your car check your clothes check your bag I've seen people on the internet be like oh my god I found it in my pocket I found it in my washing machine I found it in the hymn of my pants I found it in the bottom of my bag people have found it under their seats call the venue go back to the venue sometimes you you dropped something the venues like oh this is something from the photographer maybe it's the bride's or it was just something left over and they take it they might not even know it's yours that's why if you do have a card wallet you should really label it label everything my name and my phone number and my e mail address are written on the back of every single compact flash card I have just in case but calling and visiting the venue maybe it went under a table maybe it's still in the parking lot when I get home from every single wedding if I have changed a card the day off I put my hands on those cards before I go to bed at night I don't wanna wake up the next morning and find that I'm missing something look in the parking lots one time in my earlier more naive days I would change cards I thought you know a bunch of eighteen cards because anything happens I've got tons and tons of cards which was awful because at the end of the day I was managing tons and tons of cards shot a wedding at the beach everything was in my think tank card while it was awesome and I got in the car and I started to drive away and I was like where's my pardon wallet I'm not sure where that is so I look in my purse and I was like, it's not my purse I was shooting and even you I wasn't familiar with I was kind of doing a drive home that I wasn't familiar with then I had this horrible feeling of oh my god, didn't I just set it on the roof of my car when I was putting everything right like you put a cup of coffee on the top of your car while you're filling your putting kids in the car in the morning then you drive off and there goes the coffee I was certain that was what happened was two o'clock in the morning I drive back to the venue I'm crying I've got the flashlight on my phone on I'm looking all over it's in my pocket, right? So you can never be too careful the second you deviate from your routine you're lost but look everywhere chances are it's going to turn up? Chances are somebody picked it up and they just don't know what it is, so label your cards, label your card wallet consider shooting with bigger card so you don't have to change out but if it does happen if the absolute unthinkable happens, tell the truth, tell your clients what happened own up to it I think that honesty is the absolute best thing that you can do in a situation where you screw up it's the hardest thing to dio I've never had to pick up the phone and tell a client that I've lost a card but I would rather pick up the phone and tell the client what happened then lie about it or try to not tell them or ignore them or anything like that I'm so sorry this is what happened what can I do to make it right and then whatever it takes do it, just do it because otherwise you're toast now that's a pretty extreme example losing a card now if I lost a card tomorrow I'd be ok x I've got the backups in there however now we have the even scarier one of I lost my images on my card is corrupt that one makes me vomit because every once in a while every couple of years I have a card that won't read just just won't read so I do you know your standard thing I shut the computer down I take the card off and pull the pull the old atari trick of blowing on the card blowing in the card reader right? Weird god, I just dated myself to everybody but I like your blowing in the zelda cartridge and then you put it back in it doesn't work but I just feel like I'm doing something but I shut it down I wait fifteen minutes I drink a glass of wine and come back and play it back again nine times on attendant fires right back up right away. However, every once in a while and this is I haven't had this happened in a very long time. I use exclusively sand discards the problems that I usedto have or with non san discards of multiple different types, but you plug a card in you start to move images over and then there's a problem? What do you d'oh the second? There is a problem, I just stop, I stopped trying to transfer anything. I stopped trying to do it over and over and over again, and I immediately go to the card rescue software that comes with the sand desk card go to their website. I can't remember the exact name of the recovery software, but they do have something that you can use to go look at the car and see what you can pull off of it. That's worked for me every single time the few times that I've had a corrupt card that is helped if there is a true problem and I've had it happen to friends of mine, where the card is completely un recoverable, there are companies drivesavers that will go and get the card, get the data off of the card in a way that you can't, but if for some ungodly reason they can't access your images, either tell your clients the truth this is what happened I'm terribly sorry I know that there is nothing that I can say that will make this better what can I do to make it better for you if I lost a card I lost their images and they asked for all their money back they can have it my contract says I'm covered my contract says if if I could lose all your images and I don't have to give you your money back that's not the right thing to do and if I'm looking down the face of the client getting furious and getting on the internet and losing their mind about me versus saying I'm wrong, what can I do to make this right if they say I want you to pay to recreate the entire wedding so that we can do it all over again now that's a little, but if if something like this happened they asked for a full refund that would give it to them that sinking feeling when you realise that they never read the contract they signed you know what happens the day after the wedding? The client's email you and they're like, oh my god, we're so psyched to see the images are they ready yet? No, no I haven't even looked at them I downloaded them and know it's going to be six weeks what do you mean six weeks set it in the contract that contract that you initial the contract that you did not even read awesome or they read it they read eighteen months ago when they forgot and this happens all the time what do you mean we don't get the raw files? Well, it's in your contract that we talked way talked about this no we didn't it's in your contract I didn't see that it's all my fault like theirs I hate having to pull the guys it's in the contract and then rescinding their contract to them move but I'm not going to get pushed around by a client who signed something without reading it and now wants me to give them something because they didn't read the fine print you don't get your raw files if you didn't read that in the contract that is not my problem and I will tell them no I'm sorry no you can't have the black and whites and color that's actually in the contract yes, I traveled to your wedding you do have to reimburse me for my travel that's in your contract if you didn't read it, god bless you, I can't help you like I'm not going to be caved into doing something against my principles or against my rules or against the way my businesses run just because a client stones their foot and said but I didn't read that fine print the bride sign the contract and filled out the questionnaire without ever once sharing it with her parents who were the ones who paid for the wedding so the parents feel like they have a say so because they're the ones that wrote the chap but technically the bride has to say so because she's the one that signed the contract and it specifically says in my contract that I don't care who pays your parents the guy down the street, the entire internet it doesn't matter I answer to the person who signed the contract that's a very difficult thing to have to explain to parents especially parents who are older than I am you know, to stand up to somebody's incredibly wealthy father and be like listen hey, I'm really sorry you wanted all these things on the wedding day but the contract with you was with your daughter all of my communication was with your daughter your daughter told me what she wanted and I did what my client wanted and if you had wanted these things you should have conveyed them to your daughter who could have been conveyed them to me that's a really difficult thing to say and I don't like to disappoint anyone and it is crushing when the clients are happy but their parents were upset and it was just a matter of communication and it didn't happen but how am I supposed to know we spend all this time building this report with our clients, but the problem is is that we're not their friends we've got a great relationship I like you very much. I'm honored to shoot your wedding I thinkyou're awesome I don't know your family dynamics I don't know who's important to your parents I just don't know these things unless you tell them to me and if I ask you and you don't tell them to me and I don't know to document them later how was I supposed to know any questions so far about anything that we've talked about? We're just scratching the surface of all of the problems that could happen we're feeling good, okay let's talk about more problems I love problems what if you missed a moment and you catch it yourself and this happens? What if you get home after a wedding and you're downloading the cards and you're looking at the cards and you're like, oh my god, I didn't get the kiss the catholic ceremony they like to put the kisses in weird places every once in a while and my assistant I noticed this they'll throw a kiss in somewhere that you didn't see coming and you're like, oh my god, they just kissed like crab and then they don't kiss at the end of the ceremony like sometimes it's a sneak kiss are they kiss but it's for two seconds and even though you got like right before and right after you didn't get the second of listen accidents happen what do you do if you missed a moment like the kiss no if I missed something minor if I miss the kiss if I miss something little I'm not going to say anything it's not worth being like so here your images that I missed the kiss I'm really sorry it's a fleeting moment of an entire day full of moments I'm going to deliver it to the clients and if they did have any questions and come back and say hey we see right before we kissed in right after we kissed did you get when we kissed I didn't I'm really sorry it happened so fast and I missed it I'm sorry the end missing the kiss to me is not his major as I missed your whole parent dance because I was in the bathroom and nobody told me and by the time I came back it was done there is something that I will miss that I will then follow up with and what can I do to make it right then there's something that's so minor I'm really sorry I missed that you have other wonderful moments you have right before and right after the end so I sort of have to gauge the importance I've never missed a parent and I've never missed a first and I missed in introductions one time I am still sore about missing that introduction and I don't like to throw other vendors under the bus I've known other vendors under the bus exactly twice and my career and they both happened in the last two years the first instance wass I was shooting wedding this cocktail hour was kind of closing and I knew that the reception was coming the guests were sort of starting to come in they were starting to sit down so I go to the coordinator and I was like, listen, we're running a little bit late when are they going to do the intros there? Is it happening like soon or do I saw fifteen minutes because there are a few things I'd like to shoot and cocktail hour do I have time to go do that before they do the introductions? The coordinators like you've got tons of time, you got like fifteen minutes and I was like, great, so my assistant I walk into the cocktail hour room the minute we walk into the cocktail our room and I am not joking was thirty seconds after we had that conversation. Ladies and gentlemen, the new mr and mrs so and so and we're like, what do you even dio? I'm in another room completely there was nothing I could dio I was furious because either the coordinator had no idea what was happening she was an idiot to me on purpose or the band went rogue and decided now is the time and the band does that sometimes now is the time we're gonna do intros and were just like okay, what was that? And the client asked about it hey, why are there no pictures from our introduction? And I was like, I'm really sorry your coordinator told me that I still had fifteen minutes I went into the cocktail hour room the second I walked into the cocktail hour room she introduced you. I'm so sorry. What can I do about that? Well, my uncle bob took a picture with his iphone of it. Can you put that picture in our album? Of course I can. Sure. And in my head I stabbed the coordinator about thirty two times and I feel better but it was that was was it my fault that I missed it? Yeah, yeah, wass but I asked I had my bases covered. I had made sure that I had time and then something happened like that the only other time I've ever tossed a vendor literally straight over the bus run over him backed up over him and then run over him again was I missed an exit recessional during a ceremony end of the ceremony bridegroom kiss they start to walk back down the aisle the videographer bolts down the aisle one and a half feet from the bride and groom and proceeds to go backwards down the aisle like this and it was a skinny I'll on I got up next to him and I was trying to get around him and he was literally doing like this to keep me from getting a shot who does that who does that was the weirdest power play of all time I have nothing of them walking back down the aisle f three shots of the back of videographers head so when the bride said why are there no pictures of us coming back down the aisle leah I am super sorry I tried my hardest to get it your videographer got right in there I could not get around him these are the images that I got however I'm sure if you talk to your videographer he'd be glad to pull some stills from you because I know he got excellent coverage of it what am I supposed to do like the guy blocked me on purpose like it was some like game to him and I missed it so all you can do is all you can do apologize if it's a major thing ask what you can do to make it better and then move on huh what is my wedding at a catering hall in jersey not look like that wedding you sean in france at one time you know what that castle with the fireworks I mean, we laugh, but this is awful like this is this is of all the things this is the one that breaks my heart the most, because and I'm not saying this because I'm appear in front of people in the whole internet is looking at me. I'm this isn't me being like hearts and flowers. I do think every wedding is beautiful. I think every wedding has something in it that makes it a little bit magical. I don't care if he spent five dollars, on it or five million dollars on it at the heart of it, there is a marriage and it is lovely, and I am honored to be there whether you have silk flowers on the table or your centerpiece cost more than it did to hire me there for the whole day I'm going to treat your wedding with respect to the ends of the earth. I really am. However, that said, we all know that weddings don't all look the same, and I have ah, difficult problems sometimes where someone will hire me and they'll say we're hiring you because we know that you could make anything look beautiful. Yes, I can, but I can't make it look like something that it's not your catering hall in new jersey is going to look fantastic, but it's still going to look like a catering hall in new jersey it's not going to look like that wedding that I actually shot that one time at a castle because it's not magic well, we know photography, right? Like we know that it can on ly look like what it is but the clients they really think that if you're a good enough photographer you khun transcend difficulties in a way that we know that we can't unless I brought in a full commercial team and additional lighting and turn the whole thing into a studio and still it's not going to look like anything other than what it isthe and a really difficult thing to tell a client is hey, listen I I know that you wanted this wedding toe look like that wedding or that what you saw on pinteresque but your wedding was beautiful in its own rights please stop comparing your wedding to other weddings and look at what makes yours beautiful and that's hard because you don't ever want to put it back on a client and say it's not me it's you even though it was you do you know what I mean? Like that's a really that's an awkward thing so my counter back on that is I know that you like this other wedding I know that there were things that drew you to it that it was beautiful that it was elaborate that it was emotional. But if you look at your own wedding it was beautiful and it was emotional and it was yours. So you know, all I understand that you had a desire for me to make it look like this. Please take some time with your images and realize that what makes these special is you it's, not the place and it's, not the centerpieces, it's, you guys and a lot of clients or like, yeah, I mean, I guess I just really wanted it to look fancier and as long as I can say but it was fancy, it was beautiful. Sometimes they just want you to re validate it for them. It there's a little psychology in what we do, especially on the flip side, when people don't like how they look, I look fat, I look old, I'm not gonna lie. When I saw my wedding pictures for the first time, the very first picture that popped up of myself, I did that thing where I was like, oh, my god, that's what I look like I was in hair and makeup, I had no makeup on my hair was on top of my head and I was like, I look old and then I was like, hey, this picture, when I was like, wait a minute, I don't hate this picture. I actually love this picture. I just had to get past the shock of how I feel like I look is not how I really look, so sometimes for clients, they just have to, especially if they had high hopes in a way that are not realistic. They just have to sit with their images and sort of absorb them first, and they just wanted. They just want to know that their wedding photographer, who saw all of these really cool things and shot all of these really cool weddings, thinks their wedding is really cool, too.