Reflecting on The Knot Wedding: Q&A
I was actually looking forward to this lesson because it's a free form 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 this ceremony in that amazing, glorious light. That was just so easy to shoot in. You'll 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 want to make sure that I'm connecting the dots and creating a fuller picture because yes, the creative live cameras were there to document behind the scenes, but I do think we all know that there's a behind the scenes and then there's a behind the scenes, so I want to make sure we get into that today. Now w...
e're going to start largely, the studio audience you will have and find your microphones around so please just for the sake of efficiency because you guys know by now, you guys know, I'm a efficient. If we can save the, "Oh wait, where's the mic?" Oh wait where's, nope, nope. You pass that mic, you take that mic and you go. You guys know that that's how I work now. So what I want to 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 a 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 want to turn it over to the studio audience and then we're gonna flip into the group because I want to make sure that we are including those of us online, those in person, and then those for future, who are gonna be watching in future episodes, future lessons. So let's get onto our first question. So Stacy, I'm sorry Sarah Crisperdy asks what was the one thing from the day you think you did wrong or could've done differently? In area, prep, ceremony, et cetera. Well Sarah (laughing) let's just start. I think that this is how life works. So we, in previous lessons I talked to you how I prepare my clients for success. I talk 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 like I'm gonna Babe Ruth this, right? I'm gonna Babe Ruth the wedding. Here I go and what happened was that everything how confident I was in teaching, this is what I do and this is what works, was thrown out the window in the first 10 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 to, and with companies or organizations that have no experience with live weddings so there were so many different pieces and if I can do anything different again. Like one obviously, I wouldn't have a ceremony at noon, right? (laughing) I would maybe try to find a venue that maybe had a tree for shade, maybe. But those are things that I 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 I could do different. What I wish I could've 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 that 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 anyway 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 PM. On the wedding day, when the wedding ended at 4 PM. I needed to send 25 to 30 sneak peak images the day of the wedding. So, yes okay. Thank you for going, I was really build, I was working for that build up. 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, "It's okay, you can do it. (laughing) "You 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." (laughing) Okay so when I am telling JD, "I'm really stressed out" and his response is, "You'll be okay." No, no I don't want the cup of water. What I'm trying to say is I want you say, "We're both stressed, I feel you. "Doesn't that suck?" 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've done differently I would've managed expectations. I would've asked for things. I would've 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 onboard, 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 then like I know this isn't that great but do you see what I was working with? Now that you guys know more of the back story that was going on with that wedding date, do you see what was the inner turmoil that was going on in that day? And so again here's Woody Harrelson, AKA 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. 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 because 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, and so once you're done, you're gonna pass on the mic to whoever else needs it. So Anna Packard asks. With regards to the Revlon thing and your time keeping, you had a schedule to work to and had already 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 ie, Samantha getting her dress on. This is the 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 just after college and what I learned being a waitress is I can hear multiple conversations. So it's like if I had a table and I was taking an order and someone's like, "Oh I wish I had an extra napkin." I would be like, "Oh so you said you wanted extra well done? "Okay great, do you want a side of rice?" and so I'm just 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 would back up, "Oh, 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 not 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 with 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 a videographer.
Oh yeah. and the camera crews.
Oh yeah. 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's 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 background? Yes but have JD and I become so accustomed to shooting around things like 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 look 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 kinda get a well rounded understanding, both from the video and photo, you guys will be able to do that so. We have a mic here and then if there's anybody else that has a question, we can just pass it on back or I see you have one too. Great!
Alrighty, I noticed that you're using the 51.2 a lot throughout the day it seems like but I'm wondering if with regards 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.
You mean something tighter, yes.
Less 'cause I don'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 the 70- just so I can 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, 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 seems like 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. (laughing) You know? So what you saw is very darn close to what I shoot on a wedding. Those obstacles, very similar like on an average wedding day. Maybe not as extreme.
But very similar.
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 ever probably shoot anything like the Knot wedding, but one thing that I found was 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 kinda haywire like it did with The Knot wedding, how do you kindly kind of fight for the time you know you need, even if the time is cut for bridal party, for bride and groom photos, for all your photos.
Great thinking question. That's fantastic. So yes, timelines do get away from us. My answer depends on where the timeline got away from me. Earlier in the day, half way 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, "Awe you look so beautiful." I will touch the makeup artist on her hand and say we're running, in front of the bride. I make no qualms, we're running about 10. She should've 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 about we get seven "because then I can kinda work with that? "Are you okay with that? "Can I check back with you in five minutes?" If there's 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 would tell the bride, "Okay, so this is what happened. "Because Jennifer are running a little bit late, "I'm gonna work extra fast, "but I need you and your girls to work with me. "There's a chance I will not be able to shoot you "and 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, I'll loop back down to it." So I'm managing her expectations every step of the way so that 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 anyway that you can work with me? "Everything got pushed back. "I have had five minutes with the bride and groom. "Can you give me 10 minutes? "Can you give me 10 minutes "and I promise I will deliver images to this, "I will do whatever I can "to make sure we get back on timeline "but right now I just need something. And I've never had somebody say no, ever. Its just effectively articulating what you need and when you need it and then managing those expectations. Cool, okay cool. Lets get into a question from the group and then we'll pass those mics around and make sure they are divvied up. Lets go into this next question from, Ashley Chris, 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 Tammy Page and she's a photographer based in Chicago. I actually met her here on CreativeLive. She was one of my students and it was a 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 and JD delivered in spades. So the other photographers, just to bear repeating. Guests, guests were given cameras to be shooting. The bride had a Go-Pro in her bouquet. (laughing) Right? I mean just, let's just add more. We need more cameras. Bring in more cameras. So I mean there's just a lot going on and largely by enlarge, it was bloggers, writers, and press. We're gonna go into a mic,
I have a quick question.
With 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 like in one of your pictures.
And all the thousands of cellphones 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 is there.
If they want to 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 a friend's wedding, you better believe I'm gonna be instagraming that. It's just the nature of what the industry has become. I started about 10 years ago, that was not, like I'm not even, I'm gonna date myself. Somebody had brought a PC, plugged it into the wall, and added like this 60 foot ethernet cord so that they could broadcast it to their family in Vietnam. So things have changed in the last 10 years, 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. I've had clients like, "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 we want to pass, great.
So this ceremony was really short which is really nice and ideal but for those.
A 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 see, what you will see in the gallery 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 a hour long ceremony if there weren't a lot of other things going on. So let's just say at 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, its very common for us to sit when the priest delivers homily, thank you, when he delivers the 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 with, 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 worse 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 close-up of their hands, I need them exchanging rings. I need the first kiss, I need the walk down. I need an overview shot. Like worse case scenario. Knowing that anchors your soul. That stress that you feel, like everything's going on, everything's, no, no, no. We know that we need a handful of photos and everything else is just bonus. So no, I don't want to 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 might add that. If they did communion or if they stepped on the glass or if they were under the huppo like prayer shawls, those add things but if it's just straight forward ceremony, the way that it was like The Knot, very very close to what you would see. Cool, we're gonna pass the mic, oh we have one here.
Hi, this question is real personal. How do you manage their relationship with the clients, the bride that is your clients but maybe sometimes you became friends and before the wedding you feel like, no wait, I can't become friends because is a client so maybe she say to you, "Oh, we can go outside "to have wine and we'll go outside to eat the pizza." And you said no she's a client so maybe you said something wrong.
I don't know.
How do I feel? I understand the question clearly. Now if I don't answer you in a 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 Cory. 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 and readdressing these things and so I when I was re-watching, I said, oh, they went to I think it's called Marco, on Melrose in Hollywood and as I was watching it, an idea came to me I said, you know what? As a thank you for them allowing me to film that, I sent them a gift certificate to Marco. 'Kay, I think, and I checked out the restaurant, it 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? 'Kay, 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 and I'm like. Her wedding's in August, 'kay?
So that gives me a few months, I can't stiff arm her for a few months. How about this? You and Cory 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 complete. And in future lessons you're going to see what workflow looks like, what my album, how we close it, and how we end it. I have 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 things are professional. That was a great question.
And if I didn't answer it.
I think you did.
Oh okay good, (laughs) 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, lets get into this question, from Darren Cavengeorge, 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 just, it's how I roll that I wanted to start shooting at 8: because I knew things were gonna come my way that I could not anticipate so I wanted to get a jumpstart. So we arrived at 7:45, I arrived at 7: and we did a walk through. And I said depending on light because it was ever-changing when you arrive at seven o'clock then the light at noon, totally different scenarios. So JD and I walked through and what we do is we say I like this location for before 10. I like this location 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 the locations but we had locations picked out according to timeline. Lets get into that, yes
So throughout the day, I saw after you got your shots you would kind of say, oh videographers is coming and get yours. Is that something at the beginning of the wedding that you kind of have a powwow 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, and that sounds sheisty, right? It's very selfish but it's just true so I'm just gonna be honest. I work well when 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 this 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 Matt and Aneese. 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 its a creative space. So its 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 met, "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've 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, as to the question of all of the many many photographers. I'm in all these groups on Facebook obviously, we all bat all these questions around and somebody faced an issue where the week before the wedding, she found out that another, the bride had hired another photographer, at the same time and there was disagreement over what would you do, if you found this out? So how would you handle that, which you wouldn't but. (laughing)
Something a little similar had happened 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, your eyes are crying. You're so emotional about this wedding talk. (laughing) No, I saw you coughing. I feel you and you were being so polite.
I had a tickle in my throat.
I know, I saw you. We're gonna get that taken care of and I know that weddings just make you so emotional. I know, okay so now that I thoroughly embarrassed her.
It's all right, it's all right.
Okay, okay, but there's hope coming. (laughing) This cough drop is coming. I felt so bad for you, so let's go back to the question 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)
Yeah, I was helping to give advice.
Because I've been in a situation where another photographer showed up and I was like, you don't want that.
You're stepping on each other and he's flashing everybody in the face.
Yeah, absolutely. So I haven't really heard of situations happening to where that 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 this situation where I knew another photographer was going to be there and it was about five days in advance
And they didn't know. She lied basically.
Oh not the bride, okay.
The bride lied. The bride had lied and said that she didn't hire them but she did.
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 this back to the groom so he was standing in the center 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, what do you want me to do here? Like 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 three feet from them and having the flash and he's shooting them and I'm thinking, who is this guy? Like why is he in all my photos? And I'm training JD and then JD's like, "It's okay." (laughing) Oh my gosh, because at this point, what are you gonna do? It's the ceremony. You're not gonna be like tap him on the shoulder and be like excuse me while they're saying their eternal vows. (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 they. 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 then they celebrate with their friends and then there's that moment to decompress as guest leave. "Stephanie, I'm so sorry, there's 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 but she was like, he was only suppose 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. Like 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, like what do you do? The bride obviously knew what she did, so why, what's the beef, she's paid you. She's decided to pay extra money to hire somebody else. Your job is just work around it. And that's like a terrible answer but it's life. You're not gonna be like "I'm an artist, you can't get in my space." It's 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 was done because of the time of day. Jasmine, would you normally look for grassy areas that are not spotty for bridal party photos? (laughing)
You had one foot of shade.
I had, literally 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. Like this was the shade I was working with. Yes, I know it was spotty light. 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 and then 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's 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 and 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 and its 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 by four o'clock, were you like, "Man, that was just one big photo shoot for this couple?"
Okay so there's like three quick things that I want to say.
Let's see first, is if you hear me apologizing, I'm sorry, no in all actuality, I'm a natural apologizer. So one time I was in the bathroom and a lady walked in the stall on me and I said, "oh, I'm sorry." And she's like and she shuts the door. I'm like why am I apologizing? (laughing) 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 like the leader, here I am producing family pictures that are spotty. I want to say I'm sorry I know its not the best so let me 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 moves me at the core. So the apologies are more of like embarrassment just like 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 I have with my clients is intact because they knew I was on their team. I can't control anybody else, I can only control my friend and I think that I effectively did that. Thank you, that was a good question. Its always like a little, a little hard to talk about. I want to go here, 'scuse me (clearing 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. Tt 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 this, what's that? How, 'cause for me I feel like that would have gone out the window because I would've 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. (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've told me two days, the day before we went to Sonoma, that that was how the day was going to end and like 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 Tammy. Everybody was behind me, pushing me. I feel like its a really emotional thing to talk about a little bit because I was like I wasn't enough, but in that moment they made me that way so it was really important for me to keep in the back of 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 as 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'm my biggest criticizer?
I like criticizer, okay? (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 that. So no I didn't, it wasn't cognoscente and I went to bed that night just being like, "Okay, we did another wedding." 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 gotta get on a flight." And then I read comments on Facebook and then I just started, in the best way, in the best way, just started balling. '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." (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 and he's like who am I married to? (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, I was just curious for in regards to the timeline and family photos. Oh sorry, in regards to the family photos and timeline when you're pressed for time and it's eating away from bride and groom photos, and more family members want extra photos. At what point, do you professionally, stop that session for the families?
So the question is, how do I stop family photos to save time for bride and groom photos?
Oh. All the time, all day everyday. 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. I 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 aunties who are coming in from the Philippines and then their cousins and her godparents and all this other stuff, I say "Okay, we're getting off the timeline. "How about we just do a big group family photo? "And then instead of doing individual photographs, "let's 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, I said if we do individual photographs, we're gonna lose time for bride and groom. So how about this? I will stay by Auntie Mary, the whole night, JD will stand by her and then as long as you gather all your cousins, as long as you gather your godparents, as you gather these people, DJ 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 its not really an option. I say this is what we're going to do. Does that help, am I a little? 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 mom and the bride and they were gonna give me a shot list about all the groups that they want a shot with. The thing is this, 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 backgrounds for that and then they're putting one hour for family photos but can you imagine, it's 500 guests and she wants to do like a bunch of family groups. Okay now this kind of group, now we're gonna reorganize and have this same person in this other 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 taking pictures with half the guests I think, so I like totally worried about that and another part is like I get really bored. I get totally bored of taking those pictures because its like the same classic portrait. 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're a week from the wedding more or less so.
And I request for the long list but they haven't sent to me. Like a month ago, I request for it.
And I leep reminding them.
Let's see, there's a lot in there, okay, so you requested the list and they did not send you the list? So what you need to do is you need, at the lunch break today, you need to e-mail them and say, "We're a week from it. "I can not be legally responsible." 'Cause in my contract, I outline that a family shot list is a due 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 shot 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 followup with the mom. Because I feel like the mom is having her hand in this so that conversation needs 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 kinda just say, "This is the time that they 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 a cognizant decision on your end." Sorry, that's like a little. Okay, let's get into one more question from the group. We have just a few more minutes in this lesson. So, Stephanie Ponce. 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. How do 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 boot camp. 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 use to be afraid or embarrassed of this notion because I wasn't photojournalist and I wasn't artistic. I threw that out the window a good five years ago 'cause I understood my strengths and the kind of photos 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 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 into her dress, go get dressed. I would not get the bride dressed until the bridesmaids are dressed. So I was behind them like a Puerto Rican taskmaster. Let's go, how are we 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, now because of the bridesmaids. There was just literally a hundred 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 the thing that I wanted to point out. The room that we were in was rectangular. You might think that it would be best to shot it from one angle to the other except for 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, what am I gonna do? What am I gonna do, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do? So then I was 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 lovely and sweet "and clean is that room." When we all know, oh my God, it was nothing like that. So in the future, if you guys happen to stumble across my blog and there's 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.
I just wanted to say watching this. You know better than anybody that the internet can be mean or very critical.
No? I haven't experienced any of that.
Never. But I just wanted to tell you, just from my observation in Facebook groups, like mad props to Jasmine. Like Wayne's World, we're not worthy.
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 have people needing things. Those types of things happen every week. But in a different way, not in not dream wedding way type of way. So, 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 tell you that, Jasmine.
You too know what it is like to thirst. That's the beauty. This is the unforeseen beauty of this bootcamp. With the fact that whatever, I didn't even know it existed, whatever smoke and mirrors existed around my brand that I walked into things when they were great and that 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 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, that's so embarrassing. "Everybody's watching me do this, this is humiliating." By the end of the day, thank you, thank you, thank you. We'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, I did.
We're gonna bring that right up to speed.
Especially when you're running out of time.
Yes, yes. Okay, so there is no such thing as a bad photo request. Obviously if it's being made, it's measurably special. I made a mention of this before. Sometimes the people, if the bride is putting on deodorant, people will say, "Oh, get a photo of that." I talked you through how I get out of that, right? But in this particular situation, there was a couple of bridesmaids who have a thing with the bride. So it's like this pose. And when I was going through the edit. Now, 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 turn to JD, I was like, "Got it." Or I said, "Get it." and I ran, like I literally, the CreativeLive crew was jumping behind me as I'm 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 doing these really weird things. And I'm like, "JD, what was this?" As I go through these images, I need to say, "This is 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 edits or do I not? So I kept it to two.
Just to say that, that was what we captured. But no, I'm not gonna give you all of that. It also happened with the groomsmen. They're like, "We wanna hide behind a bush. "All of us hiding." (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. I give him table shots. So I go through his images and I'm like, "Oh, bless his heart." You know? So I'm like, "JD, what happened? "Why were these, all guys?" They're all lined up against the hedge doing like this. I was like, "What happened, what is this?" And he's like, "They wanted to hide behind a bush?" and I was just like, "Were they drunk? "Are these really important?" And he's just like, "I don't think they need "to be in the edit." and I was like, "Well, they asked for them?" He's like, "Yeah, they asked me." and I like, (sighs) "Okay." They got one. They got one. 'Cause you guys, you know what I'm thinking in 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.
We should understand.
We should understand. That is the point. Because you know what I wanted to do. I wanted to a separate gallery. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not gonna lie. I had these thoughts. Oh, I'm gonna show these. 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 gonna give the impression is I never shoot those photos. I do. Now, what we saw in the footage, after shot the bridal party, were the girls, I don't know if this made, actually this didn't make the cut. There's 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 all gone to each other's wedding so there's chance that they probably want to put all those photos together. 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 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?
I don't know. Whatever, it is what it is. So they had said, the girls were 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 pretend like they're kissing him. We've all seen that, it's so cheesy. And I'm just like. (groans) So I was like, "Ladies, just get around Taylor. "Just get around Taylor." And then there was one bridesmaid who had his tie, and she's like. And I'm like, "Why are you doing that? "It looks like you're choking him." And JD at a later point in time, we were walking 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 gonna be like squashing her. Squashing her, squashing her. That's not my job. You know? Now the bride and groomsmen photos, the bride with the groomsmen. I just put her up, kinda like at the apex. The guys kinda staggered behind her. One shot, they all came around her. One two, 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, I'm 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." Okay, I wanna say thank you guys. This Q&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 applauds) To you guys.