Staying in Control on a Wedding Day
So where we ended up with a bunch of questions and how cute polo is clearly but what I want to get into a little bit let's finish it off on a strong note um because I want to figure out how we can build an experience so what we want to talk about is your style voice your salad voice helped build the brand because we stopped that we talked about how we initially went back tio having my style I think that is does that make sense style and voice help children yeah okay it was late it was like I was tired style and voice helped build the brains and so we initially talked about the style aesthetic and voice which is how executed we executed that through the permission to be beautiful through permission through pre visualization through actions to poses to photos to get the kind of photos you want to get the concept clients you want so this is the walk through so what? I want to make sure that we end up going through that we know that a brand is an experience and so what we talked about toda...
y was creating an experience everything that we do is a division is photographers and business owners is to create that experience now the good thing is that when you kind of create this experience when you kind of phoned it in through practice is that clients know what to expect on ly because you told them what to expect those types of things come the more you're in contact with him and the more that they know about you and they know how to expect it they know how you will promote their images if you are consistently doing it on that level. My clients know that they will be blogged and they know that they will be tagged in a plus site on facebook because they've seen it happen before that they see it show up on my fan page and they see it show up on my my personal page, whatever the case, maybe they know what to expect and they know how to expect it because I'm doing it on a consistent basis okay, so if we if so I kind of think like how then do you create the experience so then it would be by creating confidence subjects by educating them by teaching them how to pose by having a good time by showing up and performing and shooting and doing what I do. What all of these things we are talking about was what we dressed today because we address how to create confidence subjects we dress, educating them and giving them permission and saying the onus is not on them for getting it right it's my job but I'm teaching them how to pose by saying I want you guys to have a good time by showing up and performing, being confident and doing what you do, what then happens? His clients know how to specifically endorse me, and then they will know how to specifically endorse you, because if you show up and you shoot engagement, session and it's, can you stand by this brick wall and kiss great? Can you come by the lamppost and kiss? Can you lift up your knee and lean in and kiss her? What then do they describe their engagement session? We had a good time, good if I have given them a list of things to talk about and educate their clients, I'm teaching them how to endorse me because they can say we looked really good on our photos. I don't think that they're going to say to their friends, we look confident, but what that it was really parlaying is I when people look at my subjects in my pictures, not because I'm a great photographer, what my clients are letting me do with them is letting them show off who they are in from the camera that's, powerful that's what we all want, but are you teaching them? Are you letting them know that's ok by educating them by them saying, like when I talk to them about light? When I talked to them held their body formations they may not say that to their friends but they might say on the way she had me lean into him I had my hand on his chest that's one of my favorite pictures what they're saying is very specific things to endorse me as a photographer and what your client can do to say very specific things as you is a photographer by telling and when people say I had such a good time and when they show up oh she she knew what to do she just did this you're teaching them what to say to other people to create those future clients so when those claims come to you they're on lee ever expecting the same thing my referrals come in that basis when it comes from another bride who I loved I'mjust like no questions asked she knows the rhyme and the reason she knows I want her to show up in the fierce and fabulous and fun and I know that her groom is going to be a good guy who generally likes this really good girl I know these things and they're coming already pre qualified from this other pride because they know what to expect and they know how to expect it so this leads us then to once we got to this point for my fried staying in control on a wedding day this then goes back to the notion of the brand experience on the wedding how are we making people feel now how I can continuously make it a great experience again and again is being in control being in control is tantamount to my success as a picture taker as a storyteller if you feel like you're out of control and not like in the loopy cunt away, I don't think you're crazy you're in your own business you're kind of successful, but if you always feel like they're playing to a disadvantage that might be possibly consider your fall, maybe I don't know I want to get a little bit more into that I control the wedding day in three ways one communication to wedding timelines and three a first look we're going to go through those sections I want to talk about those things specifically communication what happens on the communication for a wedding day on a wedding day for of bride I'm contacting car roughly five or six weeks before her wedding because remember in that pricing section when I told her how I'll give her a breakdown that's usually coming at and at the latest a month before her wedding I'd like to do in a month and a half because a month and a half from the wedding if she's working working with a coordinator or if she is not working working with according to her she should have a rough idea of what the time line should be for sure what she knows is she knows what time this the ceremony is, and she knows what time the grand entrances if we know those two factors. If she's working with the coordinator, I will contact the coordinator five to six week and say, do you have the time line? Can I look over it? Or can I offer an opinion if the court, if the bright early on I was not working with coordinators, it was I firmly believe that coordinators are a luxury item on a wedding day, so they're not necessarily a fixed factor that bride's work with. I only have my client's work with coordinators, and I I feel like I'm working with a high end bright it's just a luxury item that some brides feel like they don't necessarily need if they're not working with the coordinator, I'm gonna function that they're not for this given x if I'm working with the coordinator according to give me everything I need when I need it, but I'm gonna function like she's, not if that's the case, I'm contacting her six weeks before the wedding. And I'm saying this is the mount that's due I'm sending out remember like the check number what she paid the california state tax if it's applicable, thank you so much. If you have the time line, I'd love to look over it. If you don't have the time line, I'd be more than willing to talk you through the process. I know you have a lot of stuff going on, so please let me know what am I inadvertently saying, please let me make the timeline I'm here to help you. I've done this more than you have, and how does this work to our advantage as photographers? Because at the end of the day, no matter what, if you have input into the timeline or if you don't have input to the timeline, you are the controller of the timeline on the wedding day because, you know, I need to get this I need to get this, and if you're not moving people, at least that's the way I felt, I can't just let it go if she's running a half an hour late, I'm just like your loss. No, I'm just like ladies get the shoes run, let's, go let's go it's like we're picking up time because I know what the end of the day I must perform I can never look back to the bride and say, well, you were running late if she's running late, I'm just like what? We gotta fix this real quick manage expectations and move forward from there, but if I can control those things in advance five to six weeks and events and I'm calling her and are emailing her and I'm letting you know what do you want most of all my weddings this year I have been able to design a timeline that's great, it is a luxury, but it is a what luxury that I've worked for you don't know if it's a luxury because I don't know if you've asked you cannot ask for the time like a week in advance and then expect to make put at input the caters already done families already range transportation six weeks out from the wedding changes can still be made but that's enough time to fort timelines already to be set for caters what time they're coming what time the ceremony is but you can finagle on a few things I'm going to get into that right now so let's talk about timeline this is an optimal timeline if my bride is getting married at five o'clock hypothetically she wants ah full wedding she's getting married at five so she can have a sunset this is kind of small but I'm going to read it to you and there's a lot of stuff going on here way like we got the magnifying glass. John, you should do that. D'oh tried bringing john okay, so two pm this is I work for I contracts my clients for eight hour collections, so if I'm doing a fall wedding and it starts I always started five and they worked backwards because I can never mess around with the ceremony start time, but I could kind of it's misha few other things, so the two o'clock is a ceremony start is a photography start time by this time, the bright usually already has her makeup on which is fine. I learned early on when I was shooting ten hours I would get there early and then the bride would have no makeup on and she wouldn't want her photo taken clearly I was a bride, I didn't want photos of me without any makeup on I wanted I make it to be mostly on and get those last minute like, oh, I look always this good a little mascara I'm all done up, right? I know this from a girl's perspective and this is what I tell my brides in advance. I want you to look good and I want you to feel good by the time that I get there when I get there two p m that's when photography or begins, this is when this is when the details are photographed, the wedding dress, shoes, jewelry, invitation bouquet. If it's there in the room, things like that. This is what's happening with the last minute hair and makeup touches I go over there and a shoot just a few of those photos because I put them into the slide show as a storytelling element again, she's not going to put more than two or three at max of these types of preparation photos in her album when it comes down to choosing priority, her having her make up and lipstick apply isn't as important as her and her mom or her and her future husband things of that nature. So I know, covering my bases, telling the story, doing what I need to do and I work fast. My timeline is based on eight hours because I know a hustle move, move let's, move it on this. Have a great time. Other photographers need more time to execute that's fine for me. Eight hours is my nice little golden nugget. If the ceremony and the location are at one location the ceremony and the reception excuse me or at one location, three pm the bride dresses when she dresses these visit these gosh, ok. When she's dressing, I'm getting candids of all of her bridesmaids, and before she gets into the dress, I'm asking the bridesmaids to please get dressed and not like that. I'm like, hey guys, how's it going? I was like, listen, I think pictures would be so great, so much cuter if you guys are in your office, so then you know, you guys don't look shabby and she's getting dressed geiser and sweat and all the girls then no, I have they're back and they're like, oh, cool, great they're going to get in their dresses makes my pictures look good, they will better give me an opportunity to talk to them. The bride gets in the dress and this is what I'm doing candid shots with her and her mom. Those are always special photos that I think that I have in the back of my mind to get three thirty, we do a first look and between two and three thirty jd is with the guys guys are usually just hanging out so like fifteen minutes before the first look. So I specifically asked, you need to be hands off, I want him to shoot, but I wanted to be one hundred percent photo journalistic, because guys are a lot more than keep loki and again it's the experience of the wedding day how does how I want my groom to feel like he was cool? Chill like I'd tell jd listen, I need ten photos that are, like clutch him and his boys without their suits on drinking, watching the football game, hanging out by the pool, laughing those of the photos that are going to tell the story within the slide show or because really, I don't need guys don't really want eighty five pictures of him in this t shirt with his homeboys, right? They mean like, ten like all these air cool those the ones again on facebook, the ten clutch when you talk about these pictures in the context of making yourself bill okay don't ever approach these photos as I need to get five hundred in every section of the day, or else I'm a sucky photographer? No, you need to get ten to twenty photos. Evil, proud ofhim preparation ten twenty photos that you're proud of in female preparation yes, you're getting other photos to tell the story, but don't ever feel like a thousand pictures need to be the best pictures of your life that you've ever taken remember you want clutch photos, you want signature photos that then can turn into branded photos, and then you have a question jd something about no, yes you're saying you don't need a ton of those photos so in an hour and a half you just sort of getting no the guys the rest of time once you feel like I got this dialed it yeah, you know actually I just start off very slow I make sure that when I would I do when I get in with the guys is I don't want them to feel all that the photographer's here let's start getting dressed let's start you know, getting down to business because that kind of just throws what they were going to do naturally off so when I get there I just say, hey, don't worry about getting dressed yet we have plenty of time let's start with you guys just hanging out and don't pretend I'm not even here and then and then when I say that they don't believe that they're kind of like they already started sitting up and they already stopped doing what they're doing so I kind of not leave the room but I go to a really far distant corner and just kind of look at my gear pretend I'm just kind of fixing my camera, you know, just doing things and then when they forget about me then I slowly start snapping away and I still try not to get in front of their face because it allows him to still stay casual but I take my since we have an hour and a half and I only really honestly to get those photos of them getting the guy gets dressed in three three to five minutes if, um you know, so they do it real quick, so I just kind of just really take my time I don't I don't go in there, finish my time and just sit around because I feel it feels awkward sitting around with them just, you know, sitting down, so I kind of just take my time and usually the offer drinks and I know that they they actually want me they want to get me liquored up first always do. They're just like now, but of course I always gently refused, but but yeah, just just a good time, so that's it thanks, no thanks for the question he was killing left, okay, so the first like, why am I asking the bride to get ready a half hour before the first leg? Because there's always something that goes wrong? There's always addressed that it's so amazing when you turn around has ten thousand button and you're like, oh god, first ten thousand buttons and then or she couldn't find her other shoe or we get ready in three and her mom's in the other room with the makeup artist just finishing her mom getting ready she can't get just another mom and there's all these things called mom mom won't come up unless she has a fake eyelashes on all those other things I'm setting it up for me to know that I have a half hour of time and if she gets dressed early if I'm feeling she's pacing early, I text jd blake heads up but that text is the head's up he's like, hey guys, I think it's time to get dressed if we could start the first look sooner than that's what we do but that's just our pad that's just our pattern time on lee comes from experience I'll share with you kind of what we've learned to that time half hour for the first look now what the first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, the vast majority of my clients are seeing each other before the ceremony and then gets in two more about the philosophy of the first look how I get my clients to agree to a first look, I definitely feel it plays two photographers advantage to get a first look and always like I want to know what I say it's very secret and I will let you just kidding, yeah sake, I'll just that definitely talk you through like what I say it's nothing deep and it's totally let down four p m bridal party pictures I want to do the bridal party pictures in advance because the morph on the bridal party has at the wedding, which includes getting liquored up at cocktail hour, the more they like me. If I'm keeping all the groomsmen during cocktail hour during the time where they want to be hitting on all the cute single ladies, they don't like me. I know this, I've been in a bridal party and it was like the worst thing because you feel like you have a job that day and you're with your best friend and you're working if I can get all those bridal party pictures done and I get bottle party pictures done in twenty five minutes, twenty five minutes, I do the groom and all her ladies in two different poses, the guys and all his groomsmen in two different poses. I do the group shot in three different poses than they do groom and I'll have his bright and his groomsmen individually, the bride and all of her bridesmaids individually and twenty five minute carried out fast, fast, fast let's go work with what you got let's, do it move! Get them done at five p m I have oh, excuse me for thirty pm at the half hour the bride gets tucked away because if we're out of five pm ceremony there's early arriving guests always the elderly and if the bride gets caught up at the ceremony location with the elderly everything's thrown off and then I look bad because I'm promising her this great experience of the first look in a fun time if I can't deliver on that I'm in trouble getting her tucked away protects you from that because then she can go on re apply her makeup, sit down, have a glass of champagne, relax before she goes into her big day at four thirty jd and I are also shooting the ceremony details because that's before we could get like an overview shots of the reception site without anybody on their guests coming early and the details five p m is the ceremony five thirty pm the ceremony ends usually unless it's a catholic mass which goes for an hour um and then we move in to family photos family photos I tried to get done again in twenty five minutes and they have a conversation in advance with the writing room, what I am expecting and what they can expect of me if they want mohr to what I usually do they need to tell me in advance and provide a list for me that is in my contract as well um at uh six ten I offer to do sunset photos of the bride and groom if they want teo, if they want to go directly to cocktail hour that's okay with you that's okay with me that's ok with them, but I let them know I put it into the schedule because you can never anticipate what people want on the day they think they want something. And until they're there she's like but all my sorority sisters are here go have a great time. Perfect! We did the first look you're free and all the senate it's great! They like the latitude or sometimes how about we just do five minutes great lets you five minutes then you guys go. Whatever the case may be, I plan it in but we could definitely change it at five. Are you getting at six? Thirty? Yeah, six three I can't even I think it's I think it's that shushed. I think it says six twenty eight why did I say six twenty? I have no idea. At six. Thirty, we'll go back in and we shoot reception details we have about usually on twenty five minutes to shoot reception details the grand entrance is usually set up at six forty five will go through the grand entrance. We'll do the first dance at six fifty five the welcome in prayer at seven at seven o'clock, which is a welcome the prayer usually the father of the bride will do a little welcome speech. The first course is served at seven fifteen well usually do toast at seven thirty because people are eating their salads or sipping on their soup while people are speaking and toasting and laughing. Then we do the second course at seven forty five during this time j d and I earth setting up the slide show at eight fifteen we schedule formal dances so between seven forty five and eight fifteen that's a half hour to eat until everybody has been served at different times, but by that time we can head to the father, daughter, mother, the mother son and then after that we opened up the dance for eight twenty five open dancing from eight twenty five to nine thirty an hour of dancing for j t night to get more than enough dancing voters that we need, we have the cake cutting at nine thirty, then we'll move into the bouquet and garter, which is all formal events at nine thirty will shoot dancing for another half hour, our services and at ten p m unless that client is doing a grand exit there's no sense in keeping us any longer because all formal events have gone and I simply explained to my clients that the longer you have this there, the more opportunities you know they have to get blackmail pictures of their friends is bad news the closer we get to midnight I tell her that in that hour jd and I are shooting dancing she will probably have over one hundred and fifty pictures of her guests dancing or sitting at the reception tables. That is a lot of photos and we ensure that all of her guests have been photographed and during cocktail hour I asked jd well I'm shooting details if the lighting's ok nick handle on my own I say swing out cocteau our he'll run out top till our just throw people in groups throw people in groups he puts on the thirty five with twenty four hey guys who stand together all servants having to drink hey got stand together thes don't have to be perfect this is just for the bride and groom to document who was there so that they can look back and fond memories of those people and I didn't even realize how important this was until my sister's wedding because what stephanie did was we're kind of relaxing she was catching candids of my family of us just like relaxing before the ceremony started there the most special pictures to me because I looked back and I think of it as the moment that I don't know whatever get back there was that thing and I thought to myself, shame on you for never valuing those pictures as special as they were the people who are there cocteau our very special bridegroom so I have to do is swing out that's what my perfect timeline will be I adjusted according to my bride and groom's needs, but this is a very basic a very basic breakdown when we talk about when we talk about a first look um they're you know, kind of popular in this in the states get a lot of questions from one from the united kingdom about first looks you know, it is just when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony now every time I talk about the first look people always meet it with trepidation I completely understand when I I was planning my wedding, I didn't anticipate having a first look, but I later change my mind but closer that I got to it because I wanted to enjoy I want to be playing center photos they want to enjoy cocktail hour with our closest family and friends, so I contacted our photographer said I want to do a first look that was great, he was all on board for it now what I didn't anticipate was not only the time that we have her pictures but was the emotional complexities that were going on that day I'd move back home with my parents I hadn't looked at home since college and I had spent um gosh like seven months at home with my mom and I had seen so much going on and the pain that was there but the joy of seeing her get you know kind of come back to health being with my parents every single day and having me walked in the island kind of felt literally that they were giving me away I wasn't prepared for the emotional thing that was going on inside everybody was crying but in a good way life was finally getting good and I think that we felt that so the first look for me the gravity of walking down the aisle and seen jd but being in the moment irreplaceable I think that if I didn't see him I would be so caught up with like oh my god there he is when we got there is don't trip don't trip look good look hot no crying no crying all of that stuff would definitely be going to my mind what I just explained now is exactly what I tell clients when we're having a perspective meeting when we're skyping then I tell them the advantage is also two photos also I tell them you're planning a party when you think about your wedding you think about it from eight o'clock in the morning till one o'clock in the morning right the next day but what the party is to you and your guests and as you experience it is from five o'clock to midnight, but from five o'clock to five thirty you're on ly focused on your groom and then you have if you want to do bridal party photos after this never happen our if you want to do family photos that's another half an hour that's an hour and a half after the ceremony, then you have to go in and then you do dinner and then you do formal dances and then actually the party time itself is two and a half hours. Do you want to do the party for two hours and you want to reframe the day so that the party is continuous and there aren't any rules on the wedding day? The rule is that you have fun and however you have fun it's how we frame that day that's, how I pitch first look, I pitch it as I did it, I was resistant, but I'm so glad he did because I could never anticipate the emotions that were connected and I wanted to have a good time. I think that I attract people who want to have a good time like I'm fun clearly no, but I mean, you know they're people that want to have fun. And you're paying that much money for a party that you want to experience, not that you want to live through pictures you want the pictures to be an additive when you talk to people like that when you explain the advantages of what that does it's very, very, very powerful and for many clients who end when I blogged, what am I saying every time I have a client who does it first like oh I love love love on clients do first looks first looks are so great also hyper link back to a post every single time I talk about first look to explain what a first look is and the importance of it because why I educate my clients so they then know how to endorse me and later how to endorse or even sell a first look to people who are skeptical and they have to then defend their decision to take the first look because their moms on ty's grandmothers are like the marriage is going to end you know you saw him before no I don't know who made up that roll never happened jay and I are okay and until we get divorced I will continue still if no idea until god that was awful if we ever got divorced and maybe you know the omen really does exist and until we don't in which which we never will it will be just fine, so that's, kind of the first look that's, how you can control and experience on a wedding day. It's. Not ever that you approach it. Will you get better photos? Oh, that's, a harder sell, right, because can you guarantee that they get better? Phone was, I don't know, but can you guarantee a better experience, relaxation, enjoying the moment, the opportunity to go to a cocktail hour? Those types of things, I think, are the things that become selling points, not an advantage to you. You get better pictures, I get to take the pictures, you know, frame it so that you are really what you're dealing. Ideally, selling is again the experience, but again, if you see it, if you do it first, like you gotta gotta make it right.