Prepping the Bride


Multiply Revenue with Bridal Sessions


Lesson Info

Prepping the Bride

Now we need to prep the bride she's getting the session, whether she got it for free as a gift is a complimentary gift from us or she purchased it. And so now we need a prep her so we can make sure did to have us in the right time onto the very first thing is we want to schedule the session as soon as her dress is ready. So she needs no this as soon as possible on the front end so she can make sure the altering or anything has done that she communicates that to the dress people, that hey, I need my dress down at least two months out to the wedding, and so we will schedule it as soon as the dress is ready and what's great about this is you need to make sure that you have enough time and flexibility to not only turn the images of brown, to be able to bring her in for a bridal session, but also to get the any products that she wants ordered improved in time for the wedding. So two months is a really great time frame to kind of plan for that another quick side benefit that I forgot to ment...

ion the bride gets to get the dress put it on. And move around in it quite a bit on the shoot so there's any issue with the dress at all she's going to figure out exactly what that is and have an opportunity to tweak it? And sometimes that happens where a bride looks back at the end of the day and goes the dress wasn't sitting right right here it didn't cater to me right here, whatever it may be and she could get that tweet by a seamstress really quick if your question, what about brides when they're on like a diet plan? So when they say you have to do it two months before they're like but I'm not going to be finished to my goal weight or you know they're like no, I have two more months and tanning how do you deal with someone who wants to wait too much closer to the wedding when they're at their best? That's a great question we've had people say stuff like that before, so we try to schedule as close as we can on dh that's. Why it's important to work with vendors? Whoever you're working with that delivers your products, they need to be awesome we can't be dilly dallying waiting for like a coffee table book or a canvas or something like that and if we need to make it happen so we I think we did this one time I'm pretty sure when it was like down to the wire and the session was like very very close to the wedding I remember exactly how close because of something like that the dress and it had to fit right and all that stuff she's losing weight like crazy all of a sudden we're over at costco you know, getting stand in before the big one comes from bay or whatever you know going we have to get this printed right now and we tell them hey, this is a temporary one we're just going to put up and then we're gonna order your main one and have it sent to drop shipped to your house you know and when people book you for their weddings you know they have a good timeframe you know, oftentimes I think brides you know they're like well my wedding is in a year so in that case you know, I've got a whole year till these wait in the kind of dilly dallied at the beginning but if they know ok, I have a deadline two months before my wedding and that's helpful another's site and start plotting the daylights out of themselves yeah, another side note on but we'll take your questions is how many times is the bride getting address and you're like I'm going as she's finally ready let's go out and shoot this is on the wedding day and I'm the exact we're coming out in three minutes and he doesn't hear on the radio I'm not standing right, zack is little me on my shoulder way have radios that we talk to you, so I tell him, hey, we're coming out in three minutes and then it's not for another twenty minutes until he sees us because she gets in her dress and she's like, oh, this is fitting funny, and then they're adjusting everything and I'm like, I'm on the inside like driving myself crazy, so what's great is they get those kings exacted mentioned, figured out, figured out sooner next one all right? And we send our bride a survey and we're gonna cover the things that we put in the survey, and then maybe we can break for a couple questions and then show the images of a shoot that we want to talk about. All right? So here the things that we communicate in the survey tio our bride, so the first one is location ideas, we want to know if they have anything that's memorable and important to them, and then we can take that and continue into consideration when we figure out where we want to shoot. So the bride's, the bridal session that we've been showing you taylor moon, it was her mom and their home that they wanted to shoot at so that's what we did now sometimes it may be I really want something organic and natural I want to be I grew up, you know, out on the farm and I want to shoot we had won bride that, um she raised horses and she wanted a photo with a horse like that's not the easiest thing to pull off the wedding date can you find out when we bring the horse queen? You know I mean, like so that's an opportunity for us to you know, find out what locations are important sometimes nothing is important she goes, I don't have a preference you do whatever you want then I go sweet now I can do whatever I want which I love most because that it's to me that's really creative but more than anything, we want to cater to our client and what's important to them because they come first location is on the survey. Another thing we asked them is we ask them with playing on your ipod right now we want to know what kind of music gets them excited, gets them going and that's for two fold one so we can play music on our shoot just keep the energy up is we're out on location and then too we will utilize that the sales session as well, which we'll talk about two and then later yeah, absolutely on lex is we can start talking about product ideas we can start mentioning, you know, and I we use that kind of language a lot when I shoot a photo and I'm showing it to the bride just like all this looks great, or maybe I shoot a panoramic shot, which we'll talk about later, this would look so amazing on a split panel canvas hang on your mom's wall or maybe you're, you know, soon to be husband would want a print of this or something like that. So talking about those ideas, what we have in our survey that we send in this circle, any of them below of the bolo, items that you may be interested in from your bridal session, and then we list out the items can this on display at reception, a coffee table book for the reception gets to look at cuff the table book for your groom to be discovered all the images for facebook and for personal use, so we're starting to put those ideas in their head of all these other things that I could do with this session. So another thing on there's reminders of what to bring with her, you know, we want to make sure she has standing bouquet we want to make sure that she's wearing a veil, she brings the veil with her so we can do shots like I don't know how many times like we've gone out to a bridal session and she doesn't have flowers with there and it's kind of an integral piece of you know like a nice portrait for bride is that ok and so we remind them hey don't forget to have flowers walking shoes very important sometimes I don't know why but where our brides know this very well we're known for going to very difficult to walk around and locations because it looks cool and I'm like this is gonna look so cool when you're standing in a field and it's up to here on she's like what is it like you know five jimmy choo shoes or whatever you know in your life she is not going to be able to walk over there she'll walk over there then put the shoes on and then we'll do the photo so that happens many times a session that we're going to show you later on we shot and sort of this like a construction zone s so there was like a big bold ary rocks everywhere and if she had walked out there in her wedding shoes it would have been one it would have destroyed him it would have been a disaster on too she would have fallen over and got hurt this answers your question everyone about how you keep the dress claim yes on items to bring we tell her to bring a fitted a bed sheet with the hole cut in the center and this was not our genius idea we actually had a bride show up and we're like oh my gosh this is amazing so essentially yeah she's sold and she she's got a bed sheets with the hole in the center of the stretch he won on the side you know it's just that steps in and she does need help pull it up all the way around and then she's walking around and she looks like you know california raising or whatever if you're from the eighties and remember those that's my genre there but it works like a charm so then we can walk out she sets it down steps out of it we pull it away they fluff the dress boom boom boom boom we do the show off the ground is money which martin you're just way just tuck it we actually just talk it right under her and then you don't even have to step out of it unless it's obviously showing question genius on the second question I have is have you ever had a bribe accidentally damaged or ruined something like the bottom of her heel or fit sits in grass or her dress or the boning breaks and do you take responsibility for that? Because it's pre wedding and she's obviously very upset no gotten into the dress I think that was important to just mention you know if you're getting into an expensive dress were walking around and there's a chance something could happen to it so we can take a few things into consideration when we can shoot it very easy simple to move maneuverer and locations you have to worry about it or to be prepared to just have the dress dry clean afterwards and we've had brides ago I want to go out if they get a few things, some rides or super particular like they don't want anything getting on it so we don't want to walk him out of field because something is going to get on that dress even with the bedsheet idea and then she's gonna have a panic attack but instead if so, you've got a gauge of the temperament of your client and shoot accordingly, but like what? The bride that came out with the bedsheet thing, she was like, I'm gonna try to protect this thing which he's walking around in a construction zone it was yeah, it was this bride right here, there she is, you know, standing in a gravel pit, you know? And she was like, if I did a few things on whatever, if I need to get a dry clean, whatever some rides like that some of the extreme opposite, so you have to just gauge your client that answer your question like if she breaks the boning in her dress or she happens to, like, fall in a big puddle and then into the lake like it's it's not like I pushed you know, porter or not like claiming liability for but a great thing to tell brides is because that could be their first like hesitation, and you wanted to see and defeat you wantto address any of those concerns that they may have, and so you say, you know, we book it and enough time that if you do get something on your dress that you're not thrilled about that just can't be fluffed off, and you have plenty of time to get it dry cleaned. And remember, this is not a trash the dress session this's, let's make the dress of beautiful sessions, so avoid putting your bride next to a lake or something that she's going to fall into or the dress is going to suck her into something you know, something crazy question, yeah, no question do most of your bride spring veils? Or is it like fifty fifty for the brights who have veils as sometimes it seems like they don't get the veil to the very end, so it seems like half so we say, if you have one, bring it, but if she doesn't have what it's not that big of a deal but if it's if it's like you want this in the photo, make sure you bring the mail we also remind them to bring lipstick and powder powder is the biggest thing like I actually have, like a packing list for us and what we do is I just have extra compact powder in my bag has so many times they forget that they're just not anticipating the shine that they're gonna have or whatever and so will always go ahead and grab them because that powder is just kind of coast is very important next as we always try to refer makeup artist so in that little survey were like, hey, we recommend that you get professional makeup done even if it's just for this shoot and when she sees the result she's usually like I've got to get this for my wedding so it's good to cross promote you know vendors as well, but we always refer no more than two one maybe two max make apart is that you know, do amazing work that they're going to do a great job for her that can drive out to whatever the pre location is so she can come out ready to the shoot on time um that's the best way to go question two questions from like a workflow point of view on location of its u two and then the mother and bride will you treat it as like jodi if you see a place you like hey we've got to get the shot I'll take it or you keep trying to be like a team throughout that shoe or zack if you like I see this shot I'm going to get the next one yeah so from like a couples point of view yeah we're shooting we do a lot of tag teams that we're gonna talk about this more but we do a lot of tag team style stuff where it's like when it when I'm in go mode and kind of shooting and judy maybe sort of helping me out she's thinking about the next shot what she wants to do and then it cuts to the next one like jodi's shooting and I'm sort of holding and if I see something in that situation I'm thinking ok after this the lights changing a little we could do a shot over here and we were always back and forth that's a nice benefit not everybody has that benefit obviously but working with your spouse where we're both lead photographers is that we both get you know pop back and forth and you don't feel like what do I do now? You know you're on the spot you know and you guys work together I'm assuming you guys go shoot together it's an awesome tag team go couple shooters also zoe and then we'll get the rest of syria bringing on maybe we should just you're a little madonna make e need for that um I was just wondering in terms of vendors how do you find people what's the best way do you just throw a really wide net see who comes in? Do you research people in your area awesome question in the beginning of your business you know the question is how do we get a good list of vendors that we want to work with him and the thing I remember is one you don't need a massive list you don't need to re referring twenty people and even referring to or three of every category and that you need to know who they are, what they're about and if it's before that then the great thing is you know, doing this trial run sort of hey I offered a free session come out do a free thing work together then at the end of that you're going to go I'm never calling her again or she's awesome she's going to be on that list when it comes to relationship building we suggests get out to any in any and every networking meeting and build relationships with everyone find out who they are and then you'll find that there's certain ones that really get you and that you click really well with and it's those people who you want to go the extra mile to really make that additional effort to do shoots with them collaborate with them and for every category there's someone who has already built a relationship with that person more than likely especially if they're not brand new to the industry. So if you show up in a photographer, meet up somewhere you know through whomever has one going on that's a great chance to want to get to know a few photographers and ago hey who's your favorite make a partisan ask five people and if you hear the same name twice caller don't e mailer caller and go hey, I heard about you heard you do great work I've got this shoot coming up I love to build a connection with you let's get together and see if we can start referring each other. I think this would be a great opportunity to build a relationship together also take out to coffee it's even better than calling and god love to meet with you have heard about you'd love to see your working here more about what you do and how I can enhance your business it's always always about them and then they're like this it's hard once enhance my business oh my gosh I got to start sending you my clients like that's it that's how that relationship you know circle is really built in the last point with the bridal survey is we want tio find out what their hobbies and interests are and then incorporate that in the shoot and we did this for a bride, sarah jo and she is hysterical has delivered about layers, so we're going to show a couple photos from how we did this with her and then we'll go ahead and take questions until break, so this was a fun shoot to because it was more unique aa lot of brides or like they want sort of pretty and, like elegant or maybe a field, you know, that's that's cool that's hipster in nashville go shooting feel there's a lot of fields in nashville, so sara jo, on the other hand, was like she's a country girl was a country girl when she talks like country, you know, she's holier issues really another balcony? Yes, ok, that was my fixture version of it, but yes, she's very cute southern belle but loves to get her, you know, feet dirty and go out in the field farm, you notice he's wearing a camouflage hat in this photo, most brides wouldn't touch a hat to their she's like I wear this hat on one where these camera move and we're like sweet and she's got this cute little short, you know, above the knee dress and we're out of taproot farms out by the cows that smells and we'll show you photos, but it smells like way have a photo of like cows not chasing but its fastest cause move, you know, like behind the vehicle that we're always traveling and we'll talk more about it so way, go on the field and this was high noon, like the sun was beating down and we had a longer shoot in the tennessee the sun will hit the hills before sunset, so we'll have that best light right when it hits the hills. So just before that, when it's bright out, it is blasting in your face. So we got off camera lighting, which we'll talk about a lot today. And how do we incorporate that into the shoot? We captured some great candids of her just having fun and just this expression on her face goes to talk about how important is to build that relationship with your client so you can have fun with them. This is us talking to her and getting that reaction out of her, um, we went over, and then we photographed her up against some tractor tires, you know, this is awesome, and she was sitting down on a dirty old tractor tire. This bride was also like, it was just so much fun that isn't doing this kind of stuff, and then, you know, we'll come in and get some close ups of her smiling and laughing, and it just looks like an interesting you know architectural but you know that's a tractor way get some you know, details with the shrubbery and the boots and that kind of stuff very fun and this is really great like if you're putting together a little even you can sell you know, brattle book in and of itself to your client and we love you know, like we'll show you on the books that we used back kiss later like these really great linen coffee table books so as you're putting the design together, little details like this are really great for us to be ableto help put that book together very important to be having a lot of fun with your client so here we are taking a little selfie we've got our cameras out, we're driving around literally in the mudede taproot wilderness this is huge farm and just having a blast and sometimes is very important when you're photographed this is it's important and it's great to when you're doing a sheet like this, you can do something you wouldn't normally do like this all right? So this is I think, the first times that has probably ever worn camera and it's ok? So she had said ahead of time when we asked what are her hobbies interest things she loves? She said, well it's not necessarily her most favorite thing to do but her soon to be husband loves fishing and so she loves fish fishing so they go out fishing together so I'm like I want to get a shot of her looking like she's fishing but if I'm standing on the side and trying to take a profile shot, it just didn't look right so we brought out these giant hip waders I thought I was going to lose my camera and this was like deep scary tennessee mud down underneath there and I climb into the water and there's my little brother noah by the last my little half brother know it came out first to do some assistant work and I get down and I captured this photo of her which I just love because it's so anti regular you know it's not like this stuff, you know, it's like she's down there I just caught a huge fish she's got this giant boots on there's, not even cowboy boots and what she's wearing and it's just so much fun and what a blast that we all got to have together doing this shoot such a great great opportunity toe do something unique have a lot of fun to their client and do something that they're going to remember for a long time that would be can you imagine trying to do this on the wedding day? It would just would not happen it's just wouldn't be possible so way have questions from the internet universe there are a lot of questions coming in and as I think you guys are very much in tune with the internet today because literally as you're going through each slide it's like we're taking off a lot of questions so great questions keep him coming out of the first question I will ask though from the internet to people are enquiring this one is from firefly photo thirteen sixteen and another is from a sweet sassy diva about brides that way the bridal portrait session that you're doing isn't for someone that you're actually shooting their wedding what if it's just a stand alone service how do you how do you approach that then awesome you're making money and I would still do such you know a sales session to them afterwards yeah, yeah, you know a number of different sessions that we've done engagement sessions where we haven't shot their wedding just because they were going somewhere else and don't want to pay the fee to bring us or whatever and had us do their engagement sessions. So if you have a lot of amazing bridle photos on your side, don't be surprised if you have a few bribes going can from somewhere else but I'm living here temporarily I am photographer behind my photographer but he lives in california where I'm getting married can you shoot this cool bridal session absolutely like will do the exact same process have him come in, we'll book the session, and then we'll bring them back after the session's over and do what we're going to talk about, you know, later today, oh, thinking of distance, we had a few questions about working with clients that are far away or even mothers. Amanda nicole miller, s I have a lot of bridal consultations where the mother is not present. How do you suggest reaching out to and connecting with the moms in this situation? So the session, the biggest benefit is we're selling to the bride, and then it just kind of a benefit if the mom happens to be there because most of the time and we're not talking on the phone with the mom about booking or in this in this session when they come to book us so it's more just like a benefit that were selling about mama's opposed? Oh, my gosh of mom's, not here, I'm not going to able toe sell this session, and we'll talk about this more tonight, too, and we talk about this with our weddings as well, but where there's a will there's a way if mom is interested and wants to buy stuff that's half the battle, we've had many a wedding where, you know, mom came up to us at the reception and said, I really you guys you guys have done such an amazing job never saw photo yet I love when they say that I could have not shot any photos tonight just had a flash going on and you don't you know of course we took photos but my point is is that we've had moms come up and go you guys have such amazing job I want an album this is back when we first started we went we would love to sell you an album and they never bob why? Because we never created a really opportunity for them to do that so you can create that even if a client's not in town you can do a skype sale session there's no, we don't know why more people aren't doing that get on skype get on skype with mom show her the photos on you know on a website on dropbox on any way that you can possibly do it show her list of your products and take her you know, card information right there over skype do it you know, for the actual bridal session, you know, like it there and out of state or out of town like if they wanted you know bad enough you could say, well, a couple different options are you know I can check my calendar see if I'm going to be in your area as of now I have no plans aa lot of my out of out of state brides will fly me and we'll do this session it will be a great day and I'll fly back the next day and so you just set that expectation and for those brides who are doing like an out of state wedding and they're flying you in to begin with for that oftentimes they won't mind flying. You infer that bridal session you would be surprised off if you suggest they might go? Oh, I just never thought we could do that and I'll go great it's going to cost three hundred extra bucks for a southwest flight southwest the best you southwest, they're also cancel your flight any time and you just get a credit for a year and you can use it later and we'll check back. You know, I don't like about southwest if they're listening is they still serve peanuts and I'm allergic to peanuts and it was hilarious. We got on a flange and we got on a flight yesterday and I go up because I forget and I say have a peanut allergy so they don't serve not to kill me on the plane and they give me this big blue pre board card that says pre board due to disability and I might sweet I'm disabled because I'm allergic to peanuts way got support first, like ism anyway, I don't know why I went on that rant next question if we have something right next group questions three people had a similar question music image and pro photographer were wondering how far in advance of the wedding do you actually book the shoot? The portrait session? We try and do it about two to one month just make sure that you give yourself enough leeway toe edit the images, bring them in for a sales and then order the products absolutely and then follow up from willow wondering if you ever do a bridal party recession after the wedding? Yeah, absolutely sometimes a bride's like maybe that same situation we talked about earlier she's losing weight she doesn't want to get in that dress until the last second and they so her into it, whatever you know then we can say, hey, we can still do this session and you haven't all the same benefits still apply you still get to do all the stuff except for we're not going to have this hanging up at the reception, but we can still do it less people will take advantage of that I feel like because there's less benefits but we have had clients that have after three weeks later we went out and did a photo shoot of them when you book them because the whole reason you know especially if you're using it as an incentive the biggest benefit is if it happens before the wedding because it's just the biggest benefit, so I would tell them it's a compliment, terry session that happens before the wedding if they want it after then, that's something that they have to pay for because you lose a lot of those benefits and all those other great relationship building and all this stuff before the wedding, a lot of your, you know, you get to wear it, you know, before the wedding and travel the king's well, that doesn't apply anymore, you know, you get to build relationships offenders before the wedding, and you and we get to get gigs to the makeup artist will that really doesn't apply anymore because it's happening after the wedding. So that's why? If it is a compliment areas session than I would specify its before the wedding, and if they want to pay and doing after great, we're getting paid for a session and then it's just more options of images for them to order product from anything else took. Terry wants to know if you or would you have you ever or would you ever try to sell a girlsday out with the bridesmaids to join in on the session, and if so, was it successful? Way we've never done that. But I think that's a great opportunity, you know, if the bride's into that it depends on the bride and her temperament and her personality if she can feel relaxed in that situation. But if you all come out and you make it a fun thing with the bridesmaids, the more time you have with them that's a huge benefit to because a lot of times those air your future clients, two or three of them are at that stage where they may be engaged. They are engaged, and if you can go on, have a great time and shoot some cool photos, get a few of them dressed up and make a whole thing out of it. That's up to you. We have never done that, but I think it'd be a great opportunity. Audience question e I was just wondering what you do to keep in touch with your brides and if you do maternity or if you do other things, how you keep in touch like gifts or sending yeah, that's, that's an awesome question we like to follow up with clients. I think it's really cool toe every year at christmas or for their birthday or something, send them just a little. Reminder to stay what we always like to use this phrase top of mind top of mind is important when people are still in that realm of getting your business, and if you look at your business and where all of your referrals come from and if you don't know that information you need to know because it's critical in business know where every single person's coming, why they booked you, who referred them all those things, you'll notice the eighty twenty rule, eighty percent of your client's coming eighty percent of your business is coming from twenty percent of where you've been in the past from other photographers or past client pass brides, those kind of things and there's always a couple of key clients that are continuing to refer you even after the wedding, even after there's no reason to talk about you anymore. Those are the client kind of clients who want to hyper focus on and make sure we do send them something or offer them something or, you know, do a maternity shooters ahead love to do that. We don't advertising market that in our business because we want a business to be hyper focused about something specific, so we don't want to be everybody's, mom, baby, maternity. You know, whatever, photographer and it's, not our desire to do that, either. Like we don't have a passion for shooting maternity. All that may change, but teo return maybe your kids and so that's, not something we want to reach out to market to them. And then again, it diverts us from our focus and attention, which is our wedding business, and also, you know, the other things that work. Yeah, but if it's something you do between you and that client to stay top of mind and keep building that relation because they're still helping your business like great that's something you're excited about, you want to do that as a side business school, but we don't recommend that being your main business that you talk about it market a lot, especially when you're new and especially. You want to get any kind of momentum in any business. You don't want to be catering a one completely different audience, and then another one, and then another one and another one.

Class Description

Ready to add a key skill to your wedding photography playbook? Join husband-and-wife photography team Zach and Jody Gray for a one-day workshop that will teach you everything you need to know about bridal portraiture.

Wedding photographers are tasked with the intimate, stressful task of capturing the bride on her wedding day — a day packed with emotion and a million logistical details. Zach and Jody will show you how to take control of your wedding portraits by moving the bridal session to a different day. You’ll learn how to create the right environment for your unique style, and how to work with brides to exceed their expectations.

Zach and Jody will also cover natural lighting techniques, off-camera lighting, and how to successfully market portrait settings to your clients. By the end of this course, you’ll be newly equipped to give your brides one-of-a-kind, artistic portraits that they’ll love.