Reflecting on The Knot Wedding: Q&A
I was actually looking forward to this lesson, because it's freeform lesson. This lesson, as the bootcamp has led up to this point, has been largely driven by your participation, by people's participation online. I really, really, really want to connect the dots. Because, at this point in time, you will have seen five lessons worth of a wedding day. You will have seen bride prep, you will have seen how we shoot families and bridesmaids, you will see how I shot the ceremony in that amazing, glorious light, that was just so easy (audience laughing) to shoot in. You will see how I shot the reception. So, now that we have gotten up to this point, there were things that probably happened throughout the day. Now I wanna make sure that I'm connecting the dots and creating a fuller picture. Because yes, the CreativeLive cameras were there to document behind the scenes, but I do think, as we all know, that there's a behind the scenes, and then there's a "behind the scenes." So, I wanna make sur...
e that we get into that today. Now, we're going to start largely. The studio audience, you will have and find your microphones around. So, please, just for the sake of efficiency, 'cause you guys know, by now, you guys know, I'm efficient. So, if we can save the "oh wait, where's the mic? "Oh wait, where's the--" Nope, no, you pass that mic. You take that mic and you go. You guys know that that's how I work, now. So, what I wanna start off with is, I first, and foremost, wanna get things going in regards to the lovely Facebook group. Now, this is how you can find the group on Facebook. And, you can also search "Jasmine Star 30 Day." That should bring up the group. You can request to get in there, but this group has been such phenomenal, amazing, community. Everyone has been really positive. Everyone's learning a ton. So, when I ask, "hey can you guys give me "a list of questions that pertains just to the wedding?" People delivered in spades. So, we're gonna start by reading one or two from here. And then I wanna turn it over to the studio audience. And then we're gonna flip into the group, because I wanna make sure that we are including those of us online, those in-person, and then those for future who are, you know, watching in future episodes, future lessons. So, let's get onto our first question. So, Stacy, I'm sorry, Sarah Chris Purdy asks: "what was the one thing from the day "you think you did wrong, or could have done differently, "in area, prep, ceremony, et cetera?" Well, Sarah, (audience laughing) let's just start, okay. I think that this is how life works. So, we, in previous lessons I taught you how I prepare my clients for success. I talked to you about effectively articulating how much time I need for certain portions of the day. I talked about managing expectation. Right, so I come up here, with a big bat. I'mma Babe Ruth this, right. I'mma Babe Ruth the wedding, here I go. And what happened, was that everything, how confident I was in teaching, this is what I do, this is what works, was thrown out the window in the first ten minutes of the day. So, this is the first time I have ever done anything to this capacity. This is the first time that I had ever any sort of, I was gonna say live wedding experience, but that would be a lie, because I did a live wedding with CreativeLive. But, to such a degree and with companies and organizations that have no experience with live weddings. So, there were so many different pieces. And if I can do anything different again, one, obviously I wouldn't have a ceremony at noon, right. I mean. (audience laughing) I would maybe try to find a venue that maybe had a tree for shade. Maybe. (audience laughing) But those are things that could not, I cannot change, nor, that's just the nature of it. And, I have shot weddings at noon, on the beach. I know how difficult that is. So, that's not actually the thing that I would say what I could do different. What I wish I could have done differently, had I known that there was gonna be so many expectations from so many different people on me, I would have set up in advance, "what do you need? "How do you need it?" I need to ask for time in the timeline for that. I, in all honesty, got an email from one of the producers at The Knot, and she said "Revlon has a shot list for you." Revlon was a major sponsor for the wedding. I did not know they were a major sponsor for the wedding. I found out they were a major sponsor of the wedding in Sonoma, when I did the walk-through, less than 24 hours before the wedding. So then, when I got a shot list just of products, I didn't have any time to kind of explain, one, I'm not a product photographer, two, the timeline does not reflect a time for product photography, and three, I had no ability to manage expectation. Everything I talked to the class about in advance, was playing against me. So, I had two options at this point: I can try to connect with somebody from Revlon and/or The Knot, and say "guys, is there any way that I can get "an extra, I don't know, 15 minutes to do this?" But, I was functioning with people with limited internet, because when we were at the winery, when we were in Sonoma, we had terrible reception. I had the option to be really frustrated and hurt and upset. And I was. But then I had to make the decision to say, "it is what it is. "I have been given this, and I cannot change it." So, I did know, going into the wedding day, that there were going to be shots that I needed to take. What I did not anticipate, were these large chunks of time that The Knot was going to say, "we need everybody out of the room, "we have to do behind the scenes filming." So, I was losing time on my timeline, I was given lists of photos that I had to take, and then I was given a deadline at 3:30 p.m. on the wedding day, when the wedding ended at 4:00 p.m. I needed to send 25 to 30 sneak peek images the day of the wedding. So, yes, okay. (audience laughing) Thank you for going-- I mean I was really working for that buildup. (audience laughing) I was like, "come on, give it to me. "Give me the reaction." Because this right here is the reaction I needed. The reaction I got from my husband was "you can do it." (audience laughing) "You can do this, you're okay." And so, this reminds me, totally off topic, okay, so there's this movie, "White Boys Can't Jump," and there's a scene with Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez, and he's trying to empathize and understand. And she says "I'm thirsty." And he says "I'll get you a cup of water." And she's in bed and she turns to him and she says, "When I am thirsty, I don't want you "to get me a cup of water, "I want you to say 'I too know what it is like to thirst." (audience laughing) (clapping) Okay? So, when I'm telling JD "I'm really stressed out," and his response is "you'll be okay." No, no, I don't want a cup of water. (audience laughing) What I'm trying to say is I want you to say, "we're both stressed, I feel you. "Doesn't that suck?" Like, I need that, but he's just like "no, you got it, you got it." And I'm just like, "okay." So, what I would have done differently, I would have managed expectations, I would have asked for things, I would have had a far better understanding of the day. That's my biggest regret. Because what happens is, the time that I lost in the timeline for prep, for details, for bridesmaids photos, I felt that, in a way, if I'm gonna be completely honest, I felt like I was being set up to fail. I do not think it was intentional. I have mad respect for the companies that came on board, I do. So, when I look back at some of the photos, and we're getting to some of the questions, people had asked a few questions about technical stuff, and I'm like, "I know. "This isn't that great. "But do you see what I was working with?" (audience laughing) Now that you guys know more of the backstory that was going on with that wedding day, do you see what was the inner turmoil that was going on in that day? And so, again, here's Woody Harrelson, A. K. A. My husband, and he says "you should be glad the wedding was so hard. "Because now people can see what we go through, normally." There has been a misnomer, and I don't know where it came from because I know it's not on my end, but people think that I have excess time for bride and groom photos. They think that I have people who are always happy, and clean, and organized, and on time. I don't know where that came from. This wedding was extreme. But most of my weddings are very much like that. Not the timeline does go off, the light really does suck, people are angry and we have to make them look happy. So JD's like "if people can see you do that, "in this situation with, literally, seven camera crews, "people can do this on weddings on their own." So, what people walked away with, do I think that they learned because of the difficulties? Yes. And if that is my silver lining, I'm okay with that. Totally okay. So, we're gonna, there's mics here. Whoever, just pass the mic around. And then I'm gonna get into a question, so I can answer the question. So that whoever has the mic is ready to go. 'Cause you know, we're all about efficiency. So, I'm gonna go into the next question right now, before we get into the mic. I was getting you prepped, I saw you, boo. Okay. (audience laughing) And so, once you're done, you're gonna pass on the mic to whoever else needs it. So, Anna Packard asked: "With regards to the Revlon thing and your time keeping, "you had a schedule to work to, "and already had shot the rings and flowers. "So when Revlon then asked you "to nip in and do other things, "how do you accommodate this "and make sure you don't get behind and miss a better shot, "i. e. Samantha getting her dress on?" This is a question that I saw quite often pop up in the Facebook group, and people in chat rooms. Now, because everything was happening in the same room. I think what you saw, a lot of times, was that I kept on looking up, and I probably didn't have a pleasant face. I was like: I was watching everything. So, I was a waitress about five years, through college and then just after college, and what I learned being a waitress, is I can hear multiple conversations. So, it' like if I had a table and I was taking an order and someone's like "I wish I had an extra napkin," I'd be like "oh, so you said you want it extra well done, "okay great, do you want a side of rice?" And so I'm dropping off a napkin and I'm taking your order at the same time. It's super helpful when I do this as a wedding photographer. So I can hear what's going on. And there were times when I was shooting, and I heard the girl say "oh, we should put our jewelry on," and then I'll back up "no jewelry right now, thank you," and then go back to me shooting what I was shooting. So, I was very aware what was happening. If I felt that Samantha was going to be compromised, in a real way, I would have stopped with Revlon. I'm not contracted to Revlon, I'm contracted with Samantha. But, I understand that The Knot needs to give Revlon collateral. And who's the collateral creator? Me. So, I was really not trying to burn any bridges. Do I think I lost a few moments of Samantha in prep? Yes, but it was candids. Do I think that I captured enough candids to placate my client? Yes. So in that situation, I felt like I met the demands on both sides. So we're gonna go here and take a question.
I noticed that there were other photographers out there. At one point they were standing in the middle of the aisle, taking photographs down the aisle, and you walked up next to this person and then started taking photos. Who were those people? How did you work with, I mean, you were already working with two other shooters and the videographer, and the camera crews.
There were a ton of cameras. There were press, The Knot had invited Mashable, they had invited other tech sites. Because this was gonna be what they-- It was pitched as a "tech-savvy wedding." So, that was the angle. They were gonna get a lot of tech bloggers. They were gonna get wedding bloggers, and they had invited them. And so they wanted to get their own collateral, even though I had stipulated that the photos, at least sneak peeks, would be ready the day of the wedding. But they wanted to do their own. And, that was difficult to navigate. It was very difficult to navigate. And you guys saw how it unfolded. And there was a part where you have to say "I have to let go, "for my sanity, for my health, for my peace of mind, I'm like I see you." Now, the highlight, the highlight of this is that, were there cameras in the back room? Yes. But have JD and I become so accustomed to shooting around things at our weddings? Maybe there's not seven cameras, but maybe there's two strollers, maybe there's a wheelchair, maybe chairs are out of order, maybe a flower decor down the aisle fell down. I'm listing things that truly happen on wedding days. So, I just said I'm going to make the decision to shoot this as I shoot every other wedding. I'm proud, and I stand by the gallery. When I looked through the gallery, of course there are a thousand things I wish I could do differently. But when I look through it, I'm just like "you know what, we don't see a lot of the cameras "that are there. And that alone makes me darn proud. So, as part of the course download, you will be able to see all the galleries. The galleries from the engagement session, the galleries from the wedding. You will see what Samantha and Taylor got. So, in order for you to kind of get a well-rounded understanding both from video and photo, you guys will be able to do that. We have a mic here. And then if there's anybody else that has a question, we can just pass it on back. Oh, I see you have one too? Great.
Alrighty. I noticed that you were using the 51.2 a lot throughout the day, it seemed like. But I'm wondering if, with regard to all those other cameras, was there a point where you needed to sacrifice and use something wider so you didn't have a million people in your shots, or?
You mean something tighter. Yes.
Less, 'cause I didn't want to shoot as wide. I will use the 35 millimeter a little bit more on a wedding day, but this time I was making the decision to not shoot as wide because we had so many things going on on the side. So, I used my 50 quite often at the wedding, I did not want to sacrifice. We started this course by saying "know your style," right. Oh, I think the first or second lesson, was to define your photographic style. My photographic style is lifestyle. If I were to, because I felt really overwhelmed with all the other cameras, and then I started shooting extensively or exclusively with the 85 and then the 70 to 200, just like you'd say "I need to crop everything out," it wouldn't reflect my portfolio. I was chosen for this wedding because my portfolio reflects what The Knot wanted. If I had betrayed my roots, it would have been revealed. And I had to just stay true to what I do. What you saw is very close to what I would shoot on a normal wedding. Did that answer the question?
If it doesn't, 'cause sometimes I go on detours. So you dig in, dig in.
No, it does, it just seemed like there were a lot, I mean, there were a lot of obstacles: backing up and having enough room for you to shoot.
And that happens on a wedding day.
A regular wedding day and so you saw me shoot some of the family members, and even when I was shooting ceremony details, I had to back up, and people were behind me talking. And I have to smile, I have to make jokes, I have to be extra warm when I don't feel like it. (audience laughing) You know. So, what you saw is very darn close to what I shoot in a wedding. Those obstacles, very similar on an average wedding day. Maybe not as extreme, but very similar. Alright? Awesome. I think there's another mic here.
So, one thing that I found was really relatable with The Knot wedding, although none of us will probably ever shoot anything like The Knot wedding, but one thing that I found was really relatable is that, you know, the timeline does get away from you. Hair and makeup lasts a half an hour longer, or the decor's not ready, or somebody's late, and so we have to push the ceremony back by half an hour 'cause grandma's not there. So, when the timeline does get kind of haywire, like it did with The Knot wedding, how do you kindly fight for the time you know you need even if the time is cut, for, you know bridal party, for bride and groom photos, for all your photos?
Great stinking question. That's fantastic. So, yes, timelines do get away from us. My answer depend on where the timeline got away from me. Earlier in the day, halfway through the day, late in the day. If it's earlier in the day, and I think that the makeup artist is taking too long, it is very common for me to come up and be like, "aw, you look so beautiful." I will touch the makeup artist on their hand, say "we're running," in front of the bride, I make no qualms, "We're running about ten, "she should have been getting into her dress right now. "So we're running about 30 minutes late. "How much longer do you need?" And she'll be like "oh, I need another 15 minutes." "How 'bout we get seven, "because then I can kind of work with that. "Are you okay with that? "Can I check back with you in five minutes?" If there is not a coordinator, you are the coordinator. So that's what I do, beginning of the day. If I feel like a bridesmaid lost her shoe, and we got pushed back 15 minutes, 10 minutes, I will tell the bride, "okay, so this is what happened, "because Jennifer, we're running a little bit late, "I'm gonna work extra fast, "but I need your girls to work with me. "There's a chance I will not be able to shoot you "with each individual bridesmaid, "because we are running late, "but just work with me and at the end of the day, "if we have time for that, "Ill loop back down to it." So I'm managing her expectations every step of the way so that at a later point in time she can't come back and be like "why didn't I get a photo of me and each of my bridesmaids?" So, if it happens later in the day, maybe during-- Actually, if we're running late, I do not compromise family photos. I just eat it. I just eat it. If we're running really late, like going into the reception, if there is a coordinator, or if there's a banquet captain, there's always somebody at the venue, regardless if the client has paid for it, you have to just, I'll go up to them and be like "is there any way that you can work with me? "Everything got pushed back, "I have had five minutes for bride and groom. "Can you give me 10 minutes? "Can you give me 10 minutes, "and I promise I will deliver images to you guys. "I will do whatever I can to make sure "that we get back on timeline. "But right now I just need something." And I've never had somebody say "no." Ever. It's just effectively articulating what you need and when you need it, and then managing those expectations. Cool? Okay, cool. Let's get into a question from the group and then we'll pass those mics around and make sure that they are divvied up. Let's go into this next question from, actually Ashley Christ. She asked a very similar question: "Who are all the other photographers "that I kept seeing around? "I know J* has JD and a third, "but I keep seeing so many more. So, in a previous lesson I had mentioned, but it bears repeating today, is that JD and I shoot our weddings exclusively alone. That's how we roll. When we signed contracts with The Knot, it was contingent that we brought an assistant with us. So I brought Tami Paige. And she's a photographer based in Chicago. I actually met her here on CreativeLive. She was one of my students. And it was fantastic to see what her career has done. And I specifically chose her for a lot of other reasons that people may or may not understand. But I chose somebody based on the qualities that they possessed as a person for what I needed on that day. And both she an JD delivered in spades. So, the other photographers, just to bear repeating, guests, guests were given cameras to be shooting, the bride had a GoPro in her bouquet. (audience laughing) Right? I mean, let's just add more, we need more cameras. Bring in more cameras. So, I mean, there was just a lot going on. And largely, by and large, it was bloggers, writers, and press. We're gonna go into a mic. Yes.
When the whole--
Mic, there you go. (laughing)
With the whole tech-savvy, or whatever you called it, theme that you had going, I noticed in the ceremony that there was the stick, and, what do you call it?
Selfie stick somebody had that in one of your pictures. (host sighs) And the all the thousands of cell phones and everything. On a normal day, normal wedding, do you ever request unplugged? Do you require that, or do you just roll with it? I absolutely, positively roll with whatever's there. If they wanna bring in 15 cameras and have different angles, that's not my prerogative. I was hired to shoot photos. I never ask for unplugged weddings, because if I was at friend's wedding, you better believe I'm gonna be Instagramming that. It's just the nature of what the industry has become. I started about ten years ago. That was not, I'm not even-- I'm gonna date myself. Somebody had brought a PC, plugged it into the wall, and added this 60 foot ethernet cord, so that they could broadcast it to their family in Vietnam. So, things have changed in the last ten years. (laughing) So, no I don't ask for it. If my clients do, I'm just like "yes!" But, it's not my wedding, it's not. And especially with the predominance of hashtagging. Clients now use this as a photo archive. Like, I've had clients say "Jasmine, I love your photos, "but there's just so many things that happened "during cocktail hour when we were away, "that I can look back and see it." And, okay, I get it, I get it. Is there another mic that you wanna pass on? Great.
So this ceremony was really short. Which is really nice, and ideal. But, for those--
Super, super long, hour-long ceremonies, what you deliver for something like this in a short ceremony how does that differ from what you deliver in a longer ceremony? And how do you keep the pictures from looking all the same since there's not a lot of movement?
Great question, fantastic. This is filling in the gaps, I love it. What you will see in the galleries from this Knot wedding is very similar to what, even though this ceremony was about 15 minutes, is very similar to what a client would get in an hour long ceremony, if there weren't a lot of other things going on. So, let's just say in all respect, my family hails from Catholicism, Catholic weddings have a tendency of being long. And if they do a full on communion for everybody, it's an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. So, during Catholic weddings, it's very common for us to sit when the priest delivers Homily, thank you, when he delivers a homily. One, I think it's respectful, and then people would understand why we're doing it. But, as he's delivering the homily, there's nothing to shoot. So, it's gonna be really close to that. I don't want to overwhelm my clients. Once I know-- Okay, this is one thing I wish I would've said, day of, is, I have a list in the back of my mind. So I have a wedding photo day shot list. I sell it in the store. But the list has been set up in my mind. So, worst case scenario, if all else fails, and I have a ceremony that is two minutes long, I know what I need in the two minutes. I need a full aisle shot. I need a half aisle shot. I need her looking at him, him looking at her. I need a closeup of their hands. I need them exchanging rings. I need the first kiss, I need the walk down. I need an overview shot. Like, worst case scenario, knowing that anchors your soul. That stress that you feel, like everything's going on, everything-- No, no, no. We know that we need a handful of photos and everything else is just bonus. So no, I don't wanna overwhelm my clients, but from this gallery it's very similar to what other gallery might have. If they had a sand ceremony, I'd add that. If they did communion, or if they stepped on a glass, or if they were under the Chuppah, prayer shawls, those add things. But if it's just a straight forward ceremony, the way that it was at The Knot, very, very, very close to what you'd see. Cool. We're gonna pass some mics around. Oh, we have one here.
Hi. How do you-- This question is personal. How do you manage the relationship with the clients? The bride is your client, but maybe sometime you became friends and before the wedding you feel like "no wait, I can't become a friend, because it's a client." So, maybe she say to you "oh, we can go outside "to have wine or go outside to eat a pizza." (audience laughing) And you said "no, she's a client." So maybe you say something wrong. I don't know if you understand.
I understand the question. Clearly. Now, if I don't answer you in way that makes sense, you let me know. Okay? Okay. So, I try to keep all of my relationships very professional. It's very rare that I will meet with a bride, for lunch or for drinks, before her wedding. Usually, after the engagement session. Okay, so this is an example. In a earlier lesson, you guys saw me have a consultation with Catherine and Corey. They came to my studio. And they were talking about a restaurant. And it was the restaurant they went on their first date. Now, when I was watching. I am watching these classes. I've never watched a CreativeLive class, ever. But in this course, I find myself having to, because I need to know what's going on, so that we can address it. 'Cause every week we're coming back re-addressing these things. And so, when I was re-watching, I said oh, they went to, I think it's called "Marco," on Melrose and Hollywood. And as I was watching it, an idea came to me. I said, you know, as a thank you for them allowing me to film that, I sent them a gift certificate to Marco. Okay. And I checked out the restaurant, looks great. But again, I'm creating a relationship, I'm creating an experience. She emailed me and was like "thank you so much. "Why don't you join us there?" Okay, this is where we are, right? So, there's always creative ways of getting out of it. And I feel like I don't say no, I'm just very creative. (audience laughing) And I'm like, I-- So, her wedding's in August, okay. So that gives me a few months. I can't stiff-arm her for a few months. How 'bout this, you and Corey go and enjoy a date night on us, on me and JD. You guys enjoy it. And after the wedding, when things calm down, and there's not so much planning, we'll go there again. I don't mind hanging out with my clients, once the transaction has been completed. In a future lesson, you're gonna see what work flow looks like with my album, how we close it and how we end it. I often will hang out with clients once or twice after the wedding, because I dig my clients. But I try to keep it very professional when we're dealing as a professional. That was a great question. If I didn't answer it you--
I hear you.
Okay good. (laughing) Good, you're just too nice for your own good. I feel it. I'm gonna get into one question from the group and then we're gonna get back to the mic back there. Okay. Let's get into this question, from Darren, Kev, and George: "For the groom and the groomsmen, "and the bride and the bridal party shot, "did you plan those locations ahead of time, "or figure them out on the fly?" This is great. So, let's see, I was slated to start shooting on my timeline at 8:30 in the morning. I decided, because it's how I roll, that I wanted to start shooting at 8:30, because I knew that things were gonna come my way that I could not anticipate, so I wanted to get a jump start. So we arrived at 7:45. I arrived at 7:45 and we did a walk through. And I said, depending on light, because it was ever changing. When you arrive at seven o'clock, and then the light at noon, two totally different scenarios. So, JD and I walked through. And what we do is we say, "I like this location for before ten." "I like this location for before noon." "I like this--" So we created a photo map, so that whatever the day threw at us, he would know, my second shooter, would know where we were at any given point in time. So, yes we scoped out the locations. But we had locations picked out according to timeline. Let's get into that. Yes.
So, throughout the day I saw, after you got your shots, you would kind of say "oh, videographers, "come in and get yours." Is that something at the beginning of the wedding that you kind of have a pow-wow with them about, or how do you--
That's a great question.
How do you plan that as it goes to working together.
I'm gonna be honest. I'll be honest, I'll be really honest. I work really well with people who give me a lot of space. So, you saw that the-- (audience laughing) And that sounds sheisty, right. It's very selfish. But it's just true, so I'm just gonna be honest. I work well with people give me space. And because the videographers were giving me space, I had to make sure and say, "I see you. "Thank you for working with me. "You get your shots." Now, if I had a videographer who's chirping. "Now can I do this, and can I do, and can I do this?" I don't give you space because you're already up in my space. So that's the honest answer. But I can now say most videographers I work with are very similar to Nat and Anise. We give each other the time that we need. I don't like to be shooting details with somebody next to me. I feel like it's a creative space. So, it's crazy. I shot The Knot wedding and I had never heard of the videographers prior to shooting them. Well, as luck would have it, the weekend before, I was shooting a wedding in Newport Beach at Pelican Hill, and they shot it. I was like, "wow, this is great that we get to meet, "literally less than a week before." And so, I had arrived a little bit early to set up my prep shots. Now, what I could have done was set up my prep shots, take them down and put them back and say "hey guys, you set them up." But, when they got there, I said, "it's so nice to meet you." I said, "hey, if you would like, "I left a lot of the details already set up "and stylized for you. "So feel free, I've already shot them. "When you're done, please put them back." And he's like "thanks, thanks so much." So by me taking control and creating a good relationship, I think it just set us off to a really great start. That was a good question. Thank you. Let's go to another mic. Hi love.
As to the question of all the many, many photographers, I'm in all these groups on Facebook, obviously, where we all bat all these questions around, and somebody faced an issue where the week before the wedding she found out that the bride had hired another photographer at the same time. And there was disagreement over, what would you do, you know, if you found this out? So, how would you handle it, which you wouldn't, but-- (laughs)
Well, something that's a little similar could happen, but let me make sure that I understand everything correctly. But before I do, can I get a cough drop, if that's possible? I see you, oh my god you're eyes are crying. You're so emotional about this wedding talk. No, I saw you coughing. I feel you, and you were being so polite. She's like (dramatic coughs).
She's like crying.
I know, I saw you. We're gonna get that taken care of. And I know that weddings just make you so emotional. (audience laughing) I know. Okay. So, now that I've thoroughly embarrassed her.
It's alright, it's alright.
Okay, okay, but there's hope coming. (audience laughing) This cough drop is coming. I felt so bad for you. So let's go back to the question just to make sure that I understand. Somebody else was shooting a wedding. Or did this happen to you?
No, it didn't happen to me.
So it happened to a friend. (laughs)
No I was helping give advice.
Because I've been in a situation where another photographer showed up. And I was, you know, you don't want that.
You know, you're stepping on each other, and he's flashing everybody, and you get--
Yeah, absolutely. So, I haven't really heard of situations happening where the lead photographer knows, in advance, that another photographer will be there. They usually happen to where, "oh, there's another photographer here." So, if I was in the situation where I knew another photographer was going to be there, and it was about five days in advance. That happens to me.
She had lied, basically.
Oh, not the bride, okay, so this--
The bride lied. The bride had lied and said that she didn't hire them, but she did.
Oh, in that situation, I mean, JD and I, this was a few years ago, we shot a wedding and there was another photographer. And he was standing in the center of the aisle, with his back to the groom. So he was standing in the center of the aisle, and I'm shooting. And you guys saw during The Knot wedding how I shot behind the alter. That's usually kind of in that area. So, if somebody's standing, or squatting center aisle, like "what do you want me to do here? "Your back and your bum is gonna be in all the photos." And I was like "who is this guy?" And during the ceremony, he was going up to the bride and groom, like three feet from them, and having a flash like he's shooting them. And I'm thinking, "who is this guy? "Why is he in all my photos?" And I'm training JD, and then JD's like "it's okay." (audience laughing) Oh my gosh! Because, at this point, what are you gonna do? It's a ceremony, you're not gonna be, like tap him on the shoulder and be like "excuse me," while they're saying their eternal vows. (audience laughing) So, at the end, and I'm just livid by the time this ends. And I went up to the bride and I said, you know, so I had to take a step back. It's not my day. So they have their walk down the aisle, "oh, I love you, I do," and they celebrate with their friends, and then they take that moment to decompress as the guests leave. I said, "you know honey, there was another photographer." She's like, "I'm so sorry, "his mom hired another photographer." And I was like, "okay." She was like, "I just found out." She was like "he was only supposed to do family shots "during cocktail hour." I was just like, "Okay. "I just want you to know, he's gonna be in your photos. "During the first dance, I'm just gonna have a conversation, "is that okay if I have a conversation with him?" And she was like, "yeah, I'm so sorry." So, I went up to him, and just laid the ground rules. You will always be next to my second shooter, behind his shoulder. So, wherever he goes, you have to go with him. Do I think that's the answer to your question? I don't know. But, in that situation, like, what do you do? What do you do? The bride obviously knew what she did. So, what's the beef? She's paid you, she decided to pay extra money to hire somebody else. Your job is just to work around it. And that's a terrible answer, but it's life. You know, you're not gonna be like, "I'm and artist; you can't get in my space." No, it's about the bride. It's totally about the bride. Let's get into a question from the group. Stephanie Davis: "I'm noticing that the formals are in spotty light. "I'm thinking this is done because of the time of day. "Jasmine, would you normally look for grassy areas "that are not spotty for bridal party photos?" (audience laughing)
You had one foot of space.
Literally, I had a foot and a half by a foot. I had enough room for five people to stand, and a small child. That was the only shade in probably 50 square, I mean, 500 miles. This was the shade I was working with. Yes, I knew it was spotty light. (audience member laughing) I mean, that light was probably the worst light I've taken family photos in over five years. And it was broadcast for the entire wedding industry. I'm thinking about these things. I know these things. I have to make the decision just to let it go. And you know what? If I had a photo of my dad, and it was in spotty light. A photo in spotty light is better than no photo at all. I have to just remind myself and bring it tethered. In future lessons you will see how I shoot in crazy light. You will see when I shoot in reflective light. You will see how I shoot different shapes and group sizing. Okay, but given with what I was given, I chose that location. And I have to, 'cause that one thing that ate at me, I was like "dang it, that light, that light, that light." It ate at me, but I stand by it. I do. I did the best I could given the lighting that I had. I think there's another mic? We'll go here. And then we'll go here.
Hi. I think, honestly, that you did an amazing job. (host laughs) And, you know, it just sucks that you have to apologize for it to everyone. But at the end of the day, what I struggle with, my husband when we shoot together, is, and it's just us and maybe a couple videographers, I feel like we try our best to not make the day feel like a photo shoot, as much as possible. Obviously, this was a complete photo shoot. Do you two feel, at the end of the day, that they had their dream wedding? Did you notice that they did have moments where they got to experience an actual wedding and time for each other? Or, you know, by four o'clock were you like "man, that was just one big photo shoot for this couple?"
Okay, so there's like three things that I wanna say. Let's see, first is, if you hear me apologizing, I'm sorry. (audience laughing) No, I mean, in all actuality, I'm a natural apologizer. So, one time I was in a bathroom and a lady walked in the stall on me, and I said "oh, I'm sorry." (audience laughing) And she's like, and she shuts the door, I'm like, "why am I apologizing?" (audience laughs) She came in on me. So, I apologize. I think that I do feel like, the apologies now feel a little bit more like it's uncomfortable. As a professional, as a leader, here I am producing family pictures that are spotty. I wanna say, "I'm sorry, I know it's not the best." So lemme back it up and say, I'm proud. I'm proud of the photos. Are they the best photos I've ever taken? No. But I'm still darn proud of what we produced, of my team. It moved me at the core. So, the apologies are more of embarrassment, just to kind of say that I know that they're not perfect. I have to be very careful about projecting my thoughts on how a client experienced his or her day. I know that the relationship that I have with my clients is intact because they knew that I was on their team. I can't control anybody else. I can only control my brand. And I think that I did that I effectively did that. Thank you, that was a good question. It's always a little hard to talk about. I wanna go here, excuse me. (clears throat)
So, for me, the day was stressful, the timing was stressful, the light was stressful, it was live, you had The Knot live, and you had CreativeLive. It was a recipe for craziness. And then you added your thoughts. What were you thinking when you held the camera? What's the F-stop, what's the ISO, what's that? How, 'cause for me, I feel like that would have gone out the window, because I would have been so stressed. How did you deal with that? 'Cause it was helpful to us, and we appreciate it. But I can't imagine that you did it.
Thank you. Okay, I'll be honest. I don't even know how to answer that question. (audience laughing) I don't think that we, as humans, know how great we can be until we're pressed. I believe that. If you would have told me the day before we went to Sonoma, that that was how the day was going to end. I feel like I'm getting credit, when I shouldn't be. It was the team from CreativeLive, it was my husband, and it was Tami. Everybody was behind me, pushing me. And I feel like it's a really emotional thing to talk about, a little bit, because I wasn't enough in that moment, they made me that way. So, it was really important for me to keep in the back of my mind, that, for me, it wasn't the wedding, and for me, it wasn't about my business, it was about two things: Samantha and Taylor, and the greater good of the photographic industry. I believe in it. And to watch somebody shoot an entire wedding without any articulation and narrative, would be very difficult to watch. So the big picture was give until you can't give anymore. And I felt like, when we left at the end of the day, I gave it all. And sure, some people might not think it's enough. But it was all I had. And, when I look back at the footage. Of course, I am my biggest criticizer.
[Audience Members] Critic.
I like "criticizer," okay. (audience laughing) I'm my biggest critic. I'm my biggest critic. But do I think people learned? Yes. And I'm okay with that. I'm absolutely okay with it. So, no it wasn't cognizant. And I went to bed that night, just being like, "okay we did another wedding." (audience laughing) Woke up the next morning, was finishing the edits for The Knot. I took a very, very, very hot bath. And I was like, okay, we have to get on a flight. And then I read comments on Facebook. And then I just started, in the best way. In the best way.
Yeah, for sure.
Just started bawling. 'Cause it was there, in this moment, that people on the internet, complete strangers, were just like "oh my god, we saw what you did. "That light, that crew, those cameras." And I was like, "it was hard." (audience laughing) "It was." And JD wakes up and he's like, "what's wrong." I was like "we just did something really hard." I mean, 24 hours later, he's like "who am I married to?" (audience laughing)
He didn't bring you water. We understood you. (laughing)
Thank you. Right there! Yes, that is right. That is right. You did bring me water. I, too, know what it is like to thirst. Is there a mic? Hi love.
I was just curious, in regards to the timeline in family photos.
Oh, sorry. In regards to the family photos and timeline, when you're pressed for time and, you know, it's eating away from bride and groom photos, and more family members want extra photos, at what point do you professionally, you know, stop that session for the family members?
So we, okay, so the question is: how do I stop the family photos to save time for bride and groom photos?
Yeah, if it's just--
All the time. All day, every day. This is a constant battle on wedding days. So, in order to prep my clients, we have to manage our expectation in advance. So, I talk to them during the client consultation about what family pictures look like, if that becomes an issue for them. I had said, also, as we prepare clients for the wedding day, I send them a list of things, I ask for familial considerations, I ask for a lot of stuff in advance. Then I will say we keep family pictures to about 25 minutes with the following combinations. And then I list what those combinations are. Okay, so now she knows what my expectations are. Now we have everything outlined. If we get to the wedding day, and there's a whole entourage of, you know, aunties who are coming in from the Philippines, and their cousins, and her godparents, and all this other stuff, I say "okay, we're getting off the timeline. "How 'bout we just do a big group family photo, "and then instead of doing individual photographs, "lets break it up into all of your aunties and uncles, "then just your grandparents, then your parents." And so, I'm trying to accommodate what this is. And I said, "if we do individual photographs, "we're gonna lose time for bride and groom. "So, how 'bout this, I will stay by Aunty Mary, "the whole night. "JD will stand by her, "and as long as you gather all your cousins, "as long as you gather your godparents, "as long as you gather these people, "JD will shoot photographs of them "all night at the reception. "We'll find a pretty space for us to do it." And I said, "but we need this time." And so, it's not really an option. I say, "this is what we're going to do." Does that help? I'm a little hard-nosed with it, though. Okay.
Okay, well, about family photos that we're speaking about, I have a wedding next Friday, and it's 500 guests. This is one of my biggest weddings this year. But the thing is that, above all, I'm pretty worried about the family photos. Because I met with the mom and the bride. And they were gonna give me a checklist about all the groups that they want a shot with. The thing is, usually in my country, weddings are at night, first. The second thing is that the family photos are going to be shot in a ballroom. So there's no pretty background for that. And, at the end, they are putting one hour for family photos. But can you imagine, it's 500 guests, and she wants to do a bunch of family groups, like, "okay, now this kind of group, "now we are gonna reorganize and have these same persons "in this another group." So, I don't think they're gonna take time for them to take bride and groom pictures, because they're gonna be so tired after one hour of taking pictures with half the guests, I think. SO, I'm totally worried about that. And another part is I get really bored. (audience laughing) I get totally bored of taking those pictures, because it's the same, the classic portraits, so everybody looking at the camera. And I don't want to be posing every single group, because it's gonna take so much time.
Okay, so, you know, you're a week from the wedding, more or less.
And I request for the list, but they haven't sent it to me. A month ago, I request for it. And I keep reminding them.
Let's see, there's a lot there. (audience chuckling) Okay, so you requested the list and they did not send you the list. So what you need to do, is you need to, at the lunch break today, you need to email them and say, (audience laughing) "we're a week from it, I cannot be legally responsible," 'cause in my contract, I outline that a family shot list is due a month before. So, technically, legally, I am not bound to it. So you say, "because we only have this amount of time, "if you do send me the shot list, "I need you to prioritize the photos "in the order you want them taken. "Because we will end family photos at this time. "If we do not end the family photos at this time, "you will lose bride and groom photos. "And I don't want you to do that. "So we will shoot just for an hour. "If there are groups that we do not get in that hour, "we will shoot them during the reception, "at a later point in time. So, to me, manage expectations, set the outlines, and you have to say "I'm done with family photos." And you need to also follow up with the mom, because I feel like the mom is having her hand in this. So that conversation has to happen with both of them, in advance. And you are young, and you're petite, and you're very docile, but it's time for you to kind of just say, "this is the time that it will end, "because of bride and groom photos. "If we shoot family photos, "we will not get bride and groom photos. "If you are making that decision, I will abide by it, "but you need it to be a cognizant decision on your end." Sorry, that's like a little (snaps). (audience laughing) Okay, let's get into one more question from the group, we have just a few more minutes in this lesson. So, Stephanie Ponz: "One of the photos you posted this morning "from The Knot wedding, "was Samantha surrounded by her bridesmaids, "with some of them adjusting her dress. "Do you set up shots like this? "My shots of the bride and her maids getting ready "always look horrible, "because they sit around and look so unhappy or bored. (audience laughing) "How you curate shots like that "so they seem so natural and happy?" Okay, so let's go back to lesson number one or two, from this bootcamp. That was "Defining Your Photographic Style." I don't know how many times I have to come back to this whole thing and loop it back around. I'm a lifestyle photographer, which means, by definition, I will find the best light, I will heavily curate photos, I will set things up. And in the beginning, I used to be afraid, or embarrassed of this notion, because I wasn't photo-journalistic, and I wasn't artistic. I threw that out the window a good 5 years ago, 'cause I understood my strengths, and the kind of photos that I wanted. Because I could not make those photos happen naturally, what I had to do was create them artificially in a natural way. So what we see in a curated gallery of photos, are all the bridesmaids fully dressed, makeup on, lotioned up, jewelry, touching her dress. Now, you saw this in the video footage, I asked them, "ladies," 10 minutes before she got in her dress, "go get dressed, go get dressed." I would not get the bride dressed until the bridesmaids were dressed. So I was behind them like Puerto Rican task master, "let's go, how are doing? "Where is Samantha? "Can somebody go get Samantha? "Perfect." And as we're doing this, we're clearing out that room, because you saw how filthy it was. Not because of the bride, not because of the bridesmaids. There was just, literally, 100 people in a small little room. So, do I heavily curate those photos? Absolutely. Do I say "can you go down, can you adjust her dress?" Do I put her in good light? Yes. Now, here's a thing that I wanted to point out, The room that we were in was rectangular. You might think that it would be best to shoot it from one angle to the other, except for the the fact that we had a makeup station, that Revlon crew, we had The Knot, then we had flowers, and then we had a bar, and we had so much junk. And my thought in the back of my mind was, "what am I gonna do? "What am I gonna do, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?" So then I was like, "flip the script. "Open the door, put her in front of the fireplace. "It's a really small space." We moved out the table, we moved out chairs, and we moved out a sofa. I essentially created my own little workspace, so that when people saw it on the blog, people who did not see the live broadcast for the wedding from The Knot, did not see any CreativeLive footage, they're thinking, "how lovey and sweet "and clean is that room?" When we all know, oh my god it was nothing like that. (audience laughing) So, in the future, if you guys happen to stumble across my blog, and there's an absolutely immaculate room, chances are, it's artificial. So you go on and you own that artificialness and then make it look natural, if that is your photographic style. We're gonna end with one photo. I think, you have a mic. Who has a mic? Okay, we'll go one and two. Okay, great.
I just wanted to say, you know, watching this, you know better than anybody, that the internet can be mean or very critical.
No? (audience laughing) I haven't experienced any of that.
Never. But, I just wanted to tell you, just from my observation in Facebook groups, mad props to Jasmine. Like Wayne's World, "we're not worthy, we're not worthy."
(laughing) Oh my gosh.
Seriously, because, you know, anyone who has any sort of wedding experience knows things go wrong, things get thrown at you. You know, you have people needing things. Those types of things happen, you know, every week. But in a different way. Not in a Knot Dream Wedding type of way. So, I just wanted to tell you, I just felt I needed to tell you mad props. We know, we feel you, you know what I mean?
So, I just wanted to say that Jasmine.
You too know what it is like to thirst. (audience laughing) And that's the beauty. This is the unforeseen beauty of this bootcamp, was the fact that, whatever-- I didn't even know it existed. Whatever smoke and mirrors existed around my brand, that I walked into things and they were great, and I had all this time and luxury, were disseminated. People saw me take the little I had, and then make it work. And I hope that it's not about me. I hope it's not about the Wayne's World "we're not worthy." I hope it says "we are worthy. "We are changing it based on our trajectory and our goals." But thank you so much for saying. It means the world to me. 'Cause you know you feel alone. You're like, "oh my god, this is so embarrassing. "Everybody's watching me do this. "This is humiliating." But at the end of the day, thank you. Thank you, thank you. I'll take one more question.
So how do you handle requests from the bride, or members of the bridal party, that wanna do a photo that's totally outside of your style?
Oh my god, did you see that happen?
I did. (audience laughing) I did.
We're gonna bring that right up to speed.
Especially when you're running out of time.
Yes. Yes, okay. So, (clears throat), there is no such thing as a bad photo request. Obviously, if it's being made, it's measurably special. I may have mentioned this before, sometimes people, if the bride is putting on deodorant, people say, "oh get a photo of that." Then I know I talked you through how I get out of that, right. But, in this particular situation, there was a couple bridesmaids who have a thing with the bride. So, it's like this pose. And when I was going through the edit, know there was a couple things that were cut out just due to how long this wedding was. I was shooting the bridesmaids. I was very late shooting the bridesmaids due to unforeseen circumstances. I had about five minutes to do it. Then I realized that guests were being seated at the ceremony. What I did not shoot was the bride and her bridesmaids, individually. But I know that that's important, so I turned to JD, I was like "got it." Or, I said "get it." And I ran. I literally, the CreativeLive crew was jumping behind me, as I'm like darting out to the ceremony. So what I see as I go through the edit and go through the cull, are Samantha and her bridesmaids, and then there's a couple bridesmaids that are dong these really weird things. And I'm like "JD what was this?" As I go through these images, I need to say, (audience laughing) is this important, or were these just outtakes? And he's like "no, it's a thing that they do." And I was like "oh, okay." So then I had to take a measured approach. Do I keep them in the edit, or do I not? So I kept two. Just to say that that was what we captured. But no, I'm not gonna give you all of it. It also happened with the groomsmen. They were like, "we wanna hide behind a bush. "All of us hiding." (audience laughing) You guys, I can't make this up. I can't make this up. So, I'm looking through JD's photos, and my poor sweet JD, I give him that. I give him the weird photos, the guys hiding. I give him table shots. So I go through his images, and I'm like, "oh bless his heart." (audience laughing) You know? So, I'm like "JD, what happened? "why were these all guys--" Like they're all lined up against a hedge. And they're like this. I was like, "what happened, what is this?" And he's like "they wanted to hide behind the bush." (audience laughing) And I was just like, "were they drunk? "Are these really important?" And he's like, "I don't think they need to be in the edit." And I was like, "well they asked you for them." He's like "yeah, they asked me." And I was like "okay." They got one. They got one. 'Cause you guys know what I'm thinking, back of my mind, "oh my god, photographers are gonna see this. "They're gonna think that we make men hide behind bushes. "We don't do that." But, we should understand. That is the point. Because you know what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a sep--
Have a separate gallery.
A separate gallery. I'm not gonna lie I'm not gonna lie. I had these thoughts. "Oh I'm not gonna show these. "Oh this one's not good." And then I was like, "you know what? "I'm not being true to myself. "I'm not being true to people." Because what I'm going to give the impression is, "I never shoot those photos." I do. Now, what we saw on the footage, as I shot the bridal party, were the girls. There was, I don't know if this made-- actually this didn't make the cut. There was two bridesmaids that were like, "we always do this thing." And it's just making really weird and silly faces. And I was like "okay." So I shot it. It made the edit because that was a thing that they do. Okay, they're all friends and have all gone to each others' weddings, so there's a chance that they probably wanna put all those photos together. (groans) Okay, I'll do it. Now they had said, and I do not ever suggest the bride and the groomsmen, and then the groom and the bridesmaids. I hate that photo. I don't have a good reason why I hate it, I just do. I don't think I'm creative, I think it's so lame. Okay, is it too early to be this truthful?
[Audience Members] No. (audience laughing)
Okay. (clears throat) And, I don't know, it's prob-- Whatever, it is what it is. So, they had said, the girl was like "we wanna take a picture with Taylor." And I said "okay, so we don't have very much time, "but let's hurry and let's take this photo." And I just put the girls around Taylor. If there's gonna be a photo, don't carry him. I don't wanna do a jumping shot. I don't want everybody to pretend that they're kissing him. We've all seen that; it's so cheesy. And I'm just like (grunts). So I was like, "ladies, just get around Taylor. "Just get around Taylor." And then there was one bridesmaid who got his tie, and she's like. And I'm like, "why are you doing that? "It looks like you're choking him." (audience laughing) And JD had to leave for a time, we were walking away, and he's like "why didn't you tell her to put down the tie?" And I was like, "it wasn't worth it. "She's been the one, all day, "to be requesting these silly photos." If I had told her that I'm going to be squashing her, squashing her, squashing her. That's not my job, you know. So, now, the bride and the groomsmen photos, the bride with the groomsmen, I just put her out, kind of like, at the apex, the guys kind of staggered behind her, one shot, they all came around her, two shot done. I feel okay with that. It is what it is. They're happy, I'm happy. So, as far as that, now if we were running out of time, and they're asking for that, just like, "I love this idea. "You know, we're running out of time "for the bride and groom photos. "Before we do the grand entrance, "I'll meet you guys at the line, "and I'll take the photo then. Yeah. Okay, I wanna say thank you guys. This Q and A was effective. You guys are, literally, creating a patchwork quilt of behind-the-scenes and then behind behind-the-scenes. Thank you guys for your time. I appreciate it very much. (audience clapping) You guys.