Shoot Prep


Multiply Revenue with Bridal Sessions


Lesson Info

Shoot Prep

All right, do we want to share your story about your four hundred yard will do later? We're going to do it later, okay, so we want to get into shoot preparation and the important things we want to do to sort of get up for the shoe to make sure it's very successful shoot and then we're going to get into gear and then show a lot of photos, which and everybody loves to see pictures and then question take a lot of questions. Okay? Questions, questions, questions? All right, so first off, when we're doing bridal shoot to prep, the first thing we want to do is finalized locations and times. So all the stuff goes out again, it's important not to book a shoot that maybe you charge five hundred bucks for it, and you're hoping to make, you know, eight hundred thousand on the tail and maybe more, and you spend twenty five hours working on details because that's not a very good use of your time and it's really cutting down how much money actually making overall this. You got to make sure it's wort...

h your time, so we want to streamline as many processes possible. We're not really talking about that today, but I just as a sitting and I'm going it's important to really consider all of that stuff. So if you send out a bridal survey and we want to talk about the one that we used today that helps a streamlined all the details this needs to be a part of that. We need to finalize where she wants to shoot the address, how long it's going to take us to get their freaking out, the best time to shoot all of those things, do it in one thousand. And we also are making sure that before we set the time of the chute like the time of day that it's occurring that we are checking when sunset is so and there's a ton of the buttload of aps that you can use to do that, we have a web site that we go to, and so we're always checking when the sun's gonna set so you can make sure that we have plenty of lead time beforehand. And then we can also still be shooting with that beautiful golden hour and then sunset is happening. Yes, absolutely. Next is, we want to make sure that we always book in assistant if you're shooting alone, when jodi and I tend to shoot like engagement sessions. Or bridal sessions is just the two of us a lot of times the two of us is enough because we can tag team, but if your soul a photographer and you're using this session to do something unique maybe bring in an extra light or something you don't do a lot of or you have you a camera bag in this, the less you can focus on gear and the more you can focus on your client the better. So we always say bring an assistant and then the question we get as well, how do I get assistance to come out? I'm just starting my business for I've been shooting for a year, I'm building up my business and I don't have you know I don't have as many twitter followers is ugo must doesn't get somebody to come out to a shooting I'm like we've had assistance since the very first started two thousand six when we were second shooting weddings, we started building lists and then in two thousand seven when we started shooting a lot of weddings that year, we always had assistance at every wedding and the way that we did that was really simple there's always somebody that knows less than you do about something, and if you're even if you're a brand new photographer, maybe you've only shot one paid gig well, there's somebody who hasn't shot any or there's someone that wants to get a camera there's something that doesn't know how to shoot it on manual and you do or whatever. You don't ever underestimate the value that you can add to somebody by helping them and teaching them that's a tremendous value don't have to fork over one hundred fifty bucks to get an assistant to come to a wedding we'll come to ah bridal, shoot or whatever it may be, you can offer up your knowledge and the chance to actually learn with you while you shoot don't underestimate that value. So what we always did it was soon as your website goes up, we'll start getting people interested as soon as you get a twitter account and start posting images on facebook of anything you start getting other people interested, and we'll put it on facebook on twitter, on our blawg and say, hey, we're always on the lookout for great assistance that want to learn and we want to help you. We want to teach and we want to give you great information. Shoot me an email at this email and all this and you'll get one, then two, then three and you'll build a little list of five to ten and we usually about ten people on a list, but I put in my evernote. That's any time a shoot comes up, I checked the list and see who I hit last time he hit everybody else after that, and I say, hey, I've got a shoot coming up on this state one in the state, one in this state first come, first served and you're going to come out. We're going to do this kind of a bridal session. We're going to some off camera lightning and you're gonna learn some of that stuff with me build a list, try to get it to ten people every time you have a shoot, hit the list, get your system to come out and then you have assistance for all your gigs. It's really, really easy to do and awesome toe always have somebody with a your camera bag that you can just grab a lens from instead of you. You're doing this the whole time how does this look on creative live right now if I was doing this the whole time? Not very engaging, right? Is it it's so much better if you're looking at your client talking all the devil hey, we've got me the fifty dot and out of that, we're gonna do this shot over here, let's, walk over here, they come over you clicking on your lens and start shooting that's what we want to do and we're on our shoots with clients, and I wouldn't worry about because then there may be the question well, is my bright and going toe want like another person out on the shoot of her and absolutely, like if you don't make it a big deal, the bridal making a big deal so you could just mentioned off, you know, I'm so excited to see you saturday, I've got sarah, my assistant come in and she's going to help me and you with anything that you need, and then when the shoot starts like you could give your assistant the freedom to be like, if you see a hair or anything like just love on the bride and help her, because again, we're often very focused on the camera and just set up and what we're looking at, that we've kind of khun miss those details. So give your assistant permission to step in like that, and then the bride will love that all the more because she's, like I am really being taken care of and looking, being looked after and it's just a win win for everyone? Absolutely. The next step is we want to make sure that we visualize setups and scenarios who likes to make plans before you shoot and who likes to just go at it. Planners plan a plan who just goes at it not a lot of people I tend to be very I like to just go at it and shoot but that's because I feel like I've been doing it long enough and I understand enough about lighting and scenarios and people's body types because of studying them for now years and years and years that I feel a lot even for this shoot like yesterday and today setting up for today I was like, alan just figure it out as we go and jodi's jodi's very planning she liked to think know what we're going to do ahead of time so we kind of meat in the middle and it actually is very good for me too, to think ahead a little bit more and go, man let's make sure you get a wide shot let's make sure we get a tight shot let's make sure we get these different images let's incorporate some scenery let's incorporate some portrait's incorporate some of this kind of lighting and that kind of stuff. So two things I want to mention with that one is when you're first starting out. You know, this is a big topic and I'm sure the creative live online audience the chat rooms will all start chitchatting about what they think I meant when I said this, but I love this quote from jeff mason resnick, whose a top elite pro from west scott, which we are a cz well, and he said this on the west got university said it's ok to emulate other photographers or painters, all other artists with your photographs don't worry if people think it's derivative in time, this is the key is the part people weren't leaving, you know we'll leave out in time, your own style will evolve from that when you're starting out, don't be afraid to find out what's good and what works and how to do those things into emulate that I didn't say copy that because you can't copy anyone it's not possible to copy. In my opinion, I'm sure people have their opinions on that, too, but in the beginning, it's cool to do that, go out and emulate and create yourself don't worry about people going well, somebody else did that pose well? You learned it from somebody else who learned from somebody else who learn from somebody else. So don't be afraid of that in the beginning and then as your style evolves still, don't be afraid to go out and to visualize and plan jodi and I when we first started, I know I would be like, how am I going to do anything? Is anybody gonna look, they're just going to stand there like this you know, it would be like looking on blog's, like an hour before we left for weddings, and I would be writing out you can oppose the bride and groom, I would be writing sketches, I have this terrible little sketchbook, and I make these funny little stick figures, and I would write these sketches of, like, somebody like this or somebody leaning, I have in mind with the light over here and generally checking musical. He likes chicken scott's, you know, sketches, but that helps, you know, to go, okay, here's, another idea, here's what I can do because sometimes, you know, in the moment, even on a relaxed shoot like this, you can feel that pressure to perform remember most of that's right here and your clients not thinking that unless it's, unless you're saying it, you know, just be like, I'm going to think about the next shot. I'll say this chill for five seconds or five minutes take a drink of water, chat with your mom if she's there and we're going to go set up this next shot that I don't like what the heck you know, we'll figure it out, but I didn't know you have video segment idea, you know? Just take your time and relax you know on these kind of shoots but visualize figure out the snare is you're going to do have a game plan and that's going to help the shoot go a lot smoother and a big part of you know we keep talking about having this bridal session being a great connection point with the bride being a great experience with the bride but if we're not doing our job as a photographer directing them and giving them that confidence then it's going to be a bad experience for them the last thing you want your subject your client to do is say what should I d'oh like you want to be on it like white on rice like that's? Why it's good to have like a plan and ready to go he's like all right, let's, go over here and do this and we have been able to move and bless that we've been able to be shot by some other real great photograph thank you shot me you've been able to be photographed with some really great photographers and I remember in particular mike larson is based out of san luis obispo and he is an amazing photographer but what makes it so great being shot by him is that he was very directive he told us exactly what he wanted us to do and it wasn't just like he shot us and then was like all right, yeah, we're gonna go over here and x is like, ok zaka hadn't do this should you do this? All right, great, great, great. All right, now I want beauty you're going to start walking and this is your scenario and he was just very confident and directed us very well which increased our confidence is we're being shot and that's why? And I'm not saying that that she was rushed I kind of did that really fast but you know, he always knew what was coming next and he communicated that very clearly and that was very helpful for us and being photographed so that's why we want to do the same with our client and then if you do need some space and just stop and think we like all right let's take a little five minute break legs act said and then just let them know what's always going on and that will increase there confidence in experience invention as a sign that that's a great think habit to be in his photographers is to be photographed. I know mike talks about that a lot when he teaches workshops and we've talked about a lot we've benefited so much from you getting out from behind you know a lot of us believe it or not a lot of photographers and artists are not super extroverted we turn it on for our clients but that's not our necessarily who we are and believe it or not that's not my personality I'm not like let's go to a party and hang out all night I'm gonna be so energized when I leave I'm like no I don't want to do that so I think it is very critical though to realize that most people aren't like that and it's ok it's really good for us to get behind get away from being behind the camera get in front of a camera and get photographed mike says you know get photographed at least once a year and he does portrait's once here we now do have a couple of times a year we have some of those photos hanging up around the house but it's so critical to go man this is hard being in front of a camera and being directed and trying to look right and look good and I realized then that photographer that's me that doesn't sound get me I want to say this when you get photographed by an amazing photographer I highly recommend that hire your favorite photographer for a portrait shoot to see why they're your favorite photographer and when remember when mike photographed us it was a learning experience I went oh this is how we need to shoot we need to do more like that it was so amazing how that we were in a workshop there's twenty five photographers taking pictures of us on the street in the middle of the city and I felt totally relaxed because mike was that good so learn how to you know, adapt some of those things from some of the great photographers and go on get shot by then that's going to help your business tremendously okay, another great tip is to come early if you're just meeting at the location sometimes she's getting ready wherever the location is like you know when we shot taylor put a dress on in the car which could be really on make sure to come early when we're shooting weddings you know, we never like do pre scouting of the wedding area because the light on the wedding day is going to look way different than the light the time they were actually shooting there so we don't do that with weddings but with bridal sessions well, come here a little bit early and kind of scout around and get an idea if we're if we aren't familiar with the place already and then we can see what the light is doing and get a good idea of where we want to shoot yeah we also want to bring extra gear we're not sure what we may encounter and there's nothing worse I'm going to get to a location you went and if I just had my reflector this would be amazing and now I'm going to try to make an amazing in post production not the best time in my opinion post post production is really designed for one thing to put the you know the icing on the cake that's really all it is to turn it back into what it looked like in your camera and tow polish it up a little bit that's really what I should view any kind of volume eyes shooting if you're shooting for a magazine it's not the case you're looking for one rock star photo that's going on the cover and it's going to get into a photo shop more than likely when you're shooting sixty shots finals for this or six hundred for letting you need to be polishing photos so we always have every piece of gear with us and we sometimes we'll use thirty percent of it but I may go man if we just have that seventy two inch diffuser from west scott I can make this scenario look amazing and I don't know I haven't brew pop it out shoot the photo and it looks stellar because we have the equipment with us time and this is a great time to try out things that you've always wanted to try out but you know your kids are sick of them of you shooting them and I actually have a great subject that you can shoot so this is a great time to bring that extra gear to try those things that you haven't gotten a chance to to try out before and really quick question really that they're talking about locations? Amanda harris asked how do you keep track and find locations to kind of keep a do you keep a running list of places that you would like to shoot and you test locations as well for the bridal shoots, so I'm probably never going to create it, but I had this great idea for an app hold great locations, jerry, why t like her last name? Get around pump and when you go out on location, you shoot your awesome photos that the photography and they're like, oh that's, so cool or is that another arrives? Not tell anyone my location is like it's some unknown place you went to and took a picture nobody's going to recreate your stuff, but this is why it would be awesome. So you take a picture with your iphone, you put it in tow, great locations, and then when you're done with the shoot, you put that photo into so it's like the before after and it's got the map locator on it. The cool thing about that and this has nothing do with your question, but the cool thing about that is if people vote, the best photo to the top so fits harbors would share their locations because it would be about, you know, status anyway, so that's an app somebody can now start building because I know it's an awesome idea and one twenty percent hundreds of thousands of dollars to use it all that to say with locations, believe it or not, when we first started shooting, I would literally be driving, you know, pick up a pizza or driving to get the car fixed, and I always keep my eyes out. And if I saw a cool location, I'd go on my iphone, click on my maps, save that location and then put it into evernote ways, ever. Not quite a bit, and I would say, oh, this location is great it's here, and this is why, and then any time I was looking for cool locations, a shooting, I would go down that list, and I have, you know, thirty or forty different places to go. This is industrial, this is rustic. This is this. This is that and what a bride says, I want something rustic. I got three locations already built, you know, because I've just seen them, you know, I'm drives to different places, and I write up motorcycle sum up a lot of times and the sun is going down the best time to shoot cause that's a great time to ride. And I'm going place like, oh, this would be amazing for a shooter look at this tunnel I've never seen on a back road and I will just drop that into my location list when it was over yeah, once I pull over that's a great way to build location that at the same time, don't be afraid to learn how to shoot in any location like making anything look good sometimes I just need this much for a head shot I just need a texture I just need a blank sky and you can make make magic happen with simplest thing so it's going to have amazing stuff it's good to be able to shoot and horrifying locations as well and that's also why the survey that we send out to our brides so handy is because they may be from different parts of nashville or around or whatever and they know places that we don't so that's why we love toe she's that out to them and hear their ideas and like, oh, yeah, uh that's a great place we should totally go. Yeah, quick question you were talking about starting out, looking at photographers to emulate do you have top five top ten that you go to for inspiration? Good question, yeah, that's a good question, I think some of our favorite when we first started out we got a dvd from photo vision it was like their best of six wedding photographers at the time and a couple of them were on their one was michelle selling tano who we've had the pleasure of hanging out with recently and I remember I met her last year for v p p and o is like a big dork because I was like oh my god like it was the first person I learned something very significant that affected our entire career about lighting she's an amazing poser that's kind of her thing she's great with posing people together and making people look amazing s o I love in the beginning michelle sell in town another photographer named parker fister anybody ever heard parker fister freaky photographer really like his stuff in the cameras crazy and then he'll do this crazy photo shop stuff is great personality and wild personality clients I just love him when we first started he was on on the same photo vision that we watched and it was a huge inspiration to see that stuff remembered in a block post about him years ago and I e mailed them and said hey can you send me this one photo that I really I thought was amazing and he was like he's like you had loved too and he pulled it from his archive because it was from probably two thousand two when digital was first a thing and he was like this photo's sucks like you told me it's like I don't want to show this but I thought at the time it was so amazing you know? And I still think it's a great shot but it was really funny so parker fister and then actually what I love more than anything it's instead of look at um you know, wedding or portrait photographers that are using, you know, kind of equipment everybody's using I love looking at two hundred million dollars movies and the lighting and the color toning and all the stuff that they're doing that because those heirs like some of the best of the best of the best so the grips that aaron the lighting guys and the directors of photography and that all those people are so good that when you watch a look at how they line them up and freeze of frame watch harry potter or something and you'll go look at how they did this can I do something like that with my lighting and the colors and tones? And I loved watching movies for that stuff anybody for you? You know, I agree also, um another than with the photo checklists I was going to mention is that yet we haven't what's our next we haven't said that go ahead one more question from the audience, the live audience do you ever go back further to say rembrandt or other classical artist yes, I mean, absolutely all of our lighting is based on, you know, the history of lighting, we very rarely trying to do something that doesn't include one of those elements when it comes to lighting. So I mean, you know, like the painter rembrandt said, you know, he painted in a specific lighting pattern all the time because he believed that was the most beautiful, flattering lighting of all time and that's, the forty five degree rembrandt lighting with the diamond over the eye and it's stunning, you know, it's a beautiful way to photograph someone, so I think having a good knowledge, working knowledge of how that light effects, the human face and the human body is a really important in photography, and then, of course, you're gonna adapt your style and figure it out, you know what you really like to do? But we talked about that quite a bit, okay, a little checklist, which we have not hit yet. So the next thing that we bring with us is a photo checklists and whether this isn't is on our phones, which is the most convenient. But then again, you don't want to look like you're on your phone, texting while you're supposed to do with this, uh, with your brian, so programming and so we like to have a photo checklist and this is just something tio look over as the shoot is like in the middle are nearing the end just to make sure you got all the shots because we'll find that like at a wedding day we're shooting the bride and we never got a fooling shot just her and her dress and were like being it which again is why it's nice of a bribe a portrait session don't worry you know you've nailed it but we're always trying to make sure that we're getting like full length shot three quarters a nice portrait and just to get a variety of shots with the bride a good detail of the hearings and the necklace and her hair and the bouquet and all these really great details like we want to make sure that we get our go to safe shots that we know we want to grab and then after we get those shots to weaken just kind of have fun and get really creative and even though I want this shot of meredith I want her mom to buy that photo and hanging on the wall that shot that pose that set up her fifty five year old mom remember older mom and she made to go oh that's really beautiful but there's no way I'm hanging at my house because it's too fashion air to arts here to whatever she just may want a nice standard he looking shot so we'll always do one of those and in the south you know that's a big thing and probably anywhere it's a big thing because not everybody the bride probably booked because she loves your style mom doesn't necessarily love your style so you want to make sure we cater a little bit too that need because she may be the one buying this big print hanging on the wall so give her that option of something that's a little less out there you know actually it's like a shot from here I remember we've never forget we photograph this wedding and like the sticks of nowhere in alabama and way shot the whole wedding and the dad I remember he was in like the navy or the marines or something one of the armed services and he was wearing his like dress uniforms and I was like, oh, this is cool. So as they came out they were standing in this doorway and I photographed this image from the neck down showing her holding the bouquet she had armed dad had his arm tightly wrapped around the daughter he had all his medals and I photographed just, you know, like a frame from here to here staying at the polling of course and then he took the cool I shoot this shot because I thought it tells a story without even seeing their faces and then at everyone, and we do a slide show, so I ran the slides when I put that photo because I thought it was artsy, creative and untold story. So as it's playing the dad, he comes over he's looking at the slide show, and he panicked, he was like, did you get one of them? He goes our heads or cut off in that photo, like I didn't know their heads were cut off, their heads were cut off, and I was like, yeah, you know, I did that on purpose, he's like, did you get one with our faces in it? I was like, totally, I took, like, fifty photos, right? Then, like, it was like, I took a million like, don't worry, I just I just like this one because I felt you and he just didn't if he didn't get it, you know, it was just, like, freaky for him. So all that to say, sometimes a shot like this may freak apparent out, and they don't know what to do with that, you know? So they just want something pretty up against, you know, a brick wall or something simple, so don't be afraid to just take a few standard is shots for mom's sake, okay? And anything that we do in preparation is we want to make sure that we're anticipating the bride's needs so we have a pack list so you know, I had mentioned before even though we tell the bright hey make sure to bring a powder compact sometimes they don't even have one and so they forget the violence I always make sure I have that we like to bring extra waters is the shit it's going to be hot that day bring a strong breeze doesn't mess up yet and there's something else that isn't bug spray where us oftentimes like I think that's because bugs love me for some reason cycle of nothing and all they have like a million bug bites so I like to have bugs great and then it's great for the bride to like we always just keep some in the car and then even at weddings we've had to bust it out and spray down all the girls because they're getting and they've got nice smelling so bug spray is something else too inorganic bug spray for those of you that want organic he yes there isn't taking it in the maybe section on dh then we also will bring a mere two she wants to check her makeup which, you know, I was a part of the compact you know something else that I forgot to mention we're talking about the bridal survey of things to remind thanks for them to remember to bring on the shoot was, we'll tell them, make sure to bring a jacket, something warm that you can wear in between setups oftentimes they don't bring a jacket at all if it's going to be cooler outside because it doesn't go with their dress. But we're like we salute you to be warm in between and then also it's a great recommendation to tell them to bring an umbrella if it's going to be bright and sunny out, so for shooting in the middle of the field, they could be shaded in the shade of their own. Start melting underneath the heat, you know, I mean very important last thing this may sound kind of, uh, but make sure your car's clean as well, because you'd be surprised. How often? It's very it's, much more convenient. Just throw the ride in your car and hop to another location and then come back if to her car or something like that, because everything's together in one place or maybe it's difficult to park wherever you're going or you're running around the city shooting or something like that. They want to be caught up. You don't want to hop in your car. It was like a dirty old plate. You know, that you ate on two weeks ago sitting, and they're often here like this and then it, and then some of that gets under address. That would be horrible. You would be paying for that one. Yeah, very important. It just seems like a no brainer, but sometimes we're in a rush, and I'm like, oh, my gosh, your car's a wreck, um, very important.

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.