Shooting What You Want
So this particular section issue we have versus treating what you want now, I wanted to change from what I was shooting, not necessarily christina indian he's wedding because I was I like to their wedding. I was proud of their wedding. Do I have? Did I have a long way to go? Didn't make a lot of mistakes on that wedding to absolute glee, but we made it out alive. They became one of our biggest endorsers and to run into her, you know, years after wedding to hear that her and danny are still doing well, that her wedding photos are still on her wall. I'm thinking, all right, I like high five. I won't forget we're the cheesecake factory j d and I would walk back to our table or like boom that's where we started our business boom. Okay, so what I think was the first thing for me to do to change from what I was currently shooting toe what I wanted to shoot, the first thing I wanted to do was to manage expectation and managing expectation comes in two different forms from a client's perspecti...
ve, the first thing I needed to do with the three point, three percent point because I'm a note taker in a very detailed, so if you like toe detail your notes three points under client's perspective if the bride wants detailed photos of photographer must utilize like that little remix for proof of god for three big okay, if the photographer wants detailed photos, the photographer must be given time to do so, and that conversation should be happening months before her wedding and at minimum, four weeks before a wedding. If that's, when you're seeing her timeline, you can't get her timeline three days before the wedding and then ask for time, you won't get it and actually become a thorn in her side. Do not do that if that's the case, and if you have weddings and you haven't had that, you know, have a wedding next week. Don't ask burt now, just find ways. Bring an extra shooter to see if you can make up time to do so. Two if the bride is having an outdoor ceremony after sunset, the reception must be set up before the ceremony takes place. These are conversations that you must be having to manage her expectations if she wants those photos. No problem, just tell your creative team it must be said that by four pm, give her a time so that she can relate that to the people who need to be told three ask the bride what she expects of the wedding. To ensure that you guys are on the same page more than anything a bride doesn't know what she wants until she's asked to verbalize what it is so if you know she's like ok just do it are there anything you want me to get out? You know what their pieces of my grandmother's veil that was incorporated into all the napkins I would have never have known that thank you oh there's a cake on every separate table that has a different topper I wouldn't have thank you for letting me know all of those questions when they're forced to actually think about what it is they want documented they give you a small list of that always I find particular help awful helps manage your expectations now under photographers perspective of managing expectations I had to acknowledge that things were out some things were outside of my control I could not control on that first wedding day say that that the cocktail hour and the reception were in one in the same location I couldn't control those things in retrospect I can create ways to avoid shooting details in the complete pitch black but at the time I had to say what's done is done I will do the best I can and that perspective still plays very well for me still to the state because there are weddings right come along and it's beautiful and it's amazing but I'm just like uh, this is out of my control. I cannot do anything about it do not dwell, move on and do the best you can to not every wedding will be filled with details the way that I see them on other people's blog's I have to understand that especially when you're first starting out extraordinary daunting to look to other people, maybe we'll look at everything they have, why don't I have it? And if you come from a place of why or no, it really fills you in a place of negativity instead of saying one day I'm going to be getting there or a making strides in working myself to that point, but before you're sitting there and you're saying, why don't I have this? And why don't I have that? And they have all of this will are you even prepared to get to that point? Why don't we go back to the point of preparation before we start asking the why? The third thing is, I need to make sure that I'm on the same page with the creative team it's my job because I am actually it's my fault, I am actually an over communicator, I will definitely tell you that from beginning to end, I over communicate over community over communicate, but that's fine that's how I that's my love language, so in light of this, if I need to be filled into the gaps, I'm constantly e mailing the creative team case in point here with creative life I was in contact with everybody needed to in all this and I realized I haven't spoken to the stylist why don't I know about the styling and I e mailed celeste I was like, hey celeste, can you please give me and all of a sudden I got put into the loop because nothing I had a direct opinion because once they had everything set up like I like it, I just needed to know that if ever they got two point during the shoot where I looked at something and I was like, well, that didn't work that's my fault because I didn't communicate what I'd want it in advance or you're at a point you're looking back well, this really sucks well, whose fault is it? How much work did you do in advance to control that setting? The second thing you need to do is to educate your client underneath, educate your client I have three separate points, so you need to one let the bride or your coordinator know how much time you need now you might not get it, but the worst they could say is no, you might say I really need thirty minutes and they're just like no way impossibility but we'll give you twenty boom you at twenty more minutes that you didn't have on that timeline prior to you asking when win two, you need to let the bride and coordinator no, you'll need the specific details, what specific details you'll need to be shooting so in advance you need to ask, when will the bouquet arrive? Where are the boots in years? Because I don't I actually prefer for jd to shoot the boot in years, outside of them being on the lapels and on being the look on the lapels if I do not know where they are in advance and they're automatically on the lapels, I'm not asking the gentleman to take off their routine years so I could style isa shot ask for things in advance to know where they are asked for where that handkerchief to go around the decade of the bride told you in advance because you asked her where that is before it goes on to the bouquet, you shoot the handkerchief before goes in the k and then you should be ok with the handkerchief because you asked for three weeks in advance on the same page. Can I get an amen? Because he was there like we're ok, ok, ok, because you all know I need some I was home schooled. I need information, okay, okay, so, um tio also escort cards? What? I this is a big thing that I learned at school records need to be photographed before the ceremony and because you know they need to be photo before the ceremony. They must be set up before the ceremony. No, not all wedding coordinators are on the same page with you about this. So in the morning, I tell the wedding coordinator prior to the ceremony twenty five minutes before the ceremony, I'm giving a specific time. If that someone is at five p m I am telling her at four. Forty, I will be shooting the cut. This the cocktail escort card tables. Excuse me. At four. Forty, I will be shooting the escort table. Can you please make sure that it's set up the way that you wanted photographed? Then she gets on the same page and she gets her assistant to set it up the way that I need because what was happening is I wasn't getting to the escort card table until after they did the grand entrance. And then I would go back and they were the only the only cars would be left in the escort table or the people who didn't show up for the wedding and those like me five and you're like and that had a beautiful display but can't shoot the display because all the cards are gone and makes it look cheap, right? So inform the people that you need, like, what you need in advance of doing so everybody's on the same page. Okay, um if also if there's a drink station, a lot of times there's cards indicating what that drink is, I asked that I asked the coordinator if she would be able to make me a cocktail, a signature cocktail prior to the ceremony. So while I'm shooting the escort cards, I asked her, can you please make sure that I get a cocked a signature cocktail before the sony and I'll shoot all of that? So you get the photos that you need because during cocktail hour while I'm shooting the details in the reception, I don't need to be like you, I didn't get marc's mango martini, you know? So those are the things that you need to take care of it. Do you like mango marks? No, I just like a liberation like him, and you know what? Your secret out turning red wait, if you make a martini, okay, three explain where you'll be at specific portions of the day again because of an over communicator, but I have to assume that people are over communicate and if they're not no biggie, they just have extra information that they need because there's nothing worse than having a bride wonder where her photographer is because in her mind you taking a smoke break? She doesn't know, so I always tell her, so I get my bride's hidden if they do a first look, I have them hit in thirty minutes before the ceremony from early arriving guests because I kind of think that it takes away from her experience. She actually wants to walk down the aisle new to everybody, so I need to respect that. So I created timeline that reflects her being hit in thirty minutes before guests arrive, so that gives me thirty minutes to go to the ceremony location and shoot it from an overview uninterested. I get all the paper goods and get the flowers will go through all those details in a second. What I'm also doing in during that time is I'm running over to the cocktail area, shooting the escort card table, shooting the signature station, and I'm leaving j t getting candids of early arriving guests. Are we all on the same page? Cool. Now as I once I left my bride I tell her hi monique this is what we do we're going to go down this ceremony we're gonna get those details shots you want I'm going then going to escort card table when you shoot anything else is there anything that you need right now from me? Can I get you some water? She would say no is that is there any get pictures actually getting slick oh my grandfather will be able to stay late in the evening can you make sure you get a picture of that great over communicate I said I'll see you down there or we'll connect before you walked a mile with your dad so now she knows exactly what we're doing when we're doing and if possible I tell the coordinator too great. So what I think is good is that you need teo ask for more time that's it I think that as a creative you offer just as much value to her day and in her investment toe let her know that this is what you need and the worst thing that they could say is no, but then it absolves you from after you've had a conversation at defending why you need that time it absolves you from the responsibility of her saying what you didn't get the forty seven napkin holders that I made by hand I told you that I needed time and they never got it. That's never happened to me because the bride will say, well, you know, I want those photos. Great. I'm gonna need five minutes. I'll give you five minutes. Boom done. Great. So lastly or not lastly, here we go. You want to show what you want to attract now there are two points under this, so if you don't want to shoot silk flowers, don't post pictures of silk flowers, the proverbial it's simpler if you don't want to shoot, I don't know king stands at a wedding don't just post pictures of case stands at a wedding regardless of how glorious you think that case stand. Is it's just that simple? And I will talk a little bit more about why I believe so ardently nous the second point is, if you don't want to shoot brides in the church nursery room during prep, find creative ways to crop in camera to tell a different story and that must then be your mission because I know the days of shooting the bride in the church. Nurse your room and you have, like the second coming of christ or moses and like every animal known to mankind painted on the mural in the back, okay? No that story so creatively crop in camera because you're consistently showing brides who are prepping in a nursery room they're going to think it's ok and that's just how you roll but that was never who I wanted to roll I wanted to crop creatively and not showcase the things I didn't want to shoot so I want you to lastly show with the client doesn't know she wants so always keep in mind that strong photographers are stylists as much as they are photographers because what we see is these commercial photographers they bring in stylist for their chutes to make their chutes look better but guess what? We don't have that luxury so we must keep in the back of our mind and I'm sorry here I go again we need to simmer down now I speak and I say this every class I see speak like it's I was born this way I talked to my family this way I'm sorry I speak authoritatively it just speak to the postman this way I get it if you if I wanna talk about quantum physics I would talk with authority and I know nothing about quantum physics so when I said you must be doing this and you must mean it no you don't no you don't there isn't a right way of doing it I'm just saying from my perspective what has happened and has benefited me is in the following keep in mind that strong photographers are stylists I have felt that part of the reason I was able the reason I am able to attract certain brides but detail driven brides is because I take their existing details and style him in a way that uh improves them so they already given me a very simple pellet which is what I started with and now my brides have given me more more things to play with and I'm very excited and thankful for it but still I'm still taking that styling component with me what I'm going to show is how I start or reasoning behind the first time I realised styling was a big deal in this particular example I work with I shot a wedding for britney and blake and this is in two thousand seven this's a picture of a dress that I shot my first year of a business and this photo is fine it's ok you know let's go whatever I think that given the environment that I was given on the wedding day it's for an amazing and I'm gonna tell you why okay? Um britney and like got married in her in their church and where she prepped was in the church like npr room or something so in the background we had tv xfiles plastic tables there's a kitchenette in the upper left hand corner this photo isn't to showcase the bridesmaid whatsoever I'm showcasing simply what was going on in the background, these air distantly candid that we had captured in two thousand seven of what's going on? I don't think that this is a pretty amazing picture. This is just to give you an idea of what was happening on the opposite wall from the kitchenette was the fire the first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, their christmas prayer list you know these this these I'm turning in time, father, this is what happened. Okay, so this is the environment that I was given, so if I had to photograph a wedding dress in this environment, I could be, like, kind of, like, cool and independent and put the dress next to the fire extinguisher because she's hot, but I just couldn't wrap my brain doesn't think like that, so I was sorry, okay? Like, um, okay, don't laugh, stop believing really really have to go head to head with really cheesy lines. Okay, so this is just a showcase. What I was given, I asked the bride if I would be able to take off her dress, and then she had murmurs from her bridesmaids and from her mama saying that no, you can't take the dress outside like, do you even get a dirty? And I was like, oh, I left the eighteen of course is at home don't worry we're not gonna stomp on it you know, like I did say that that was going on back my mind and so I'm like, you know, holding like I was no problem and so I was just like, ok? And then a few of them like left the room and I pulled up this side and she'd already expressed to me that photography was a big deal for her and they said, britney is it ok if I take your just outside? You really do think I could tell a different story with it she's like I'll take everybody out and then you could take the dress out was like, perfect this is the first bride to give me the opportunity to tell a different story given the parameters that I was given what happened was on in the same room is where britney dressed is a closet with hangers and this action photo actually made the slide show because you know it's part of her story but I wasn't going to highlight you know, the church christmas tree that wasn't the story the story is her mom dressing her in a closet at the church and that's fine, but again it goes back to making curatorial decisions again, which brings us back to the point of why if you have the opportunity you're going to showcase now what I use this particular photo at later point in time is if I knew I was going to be shooting in first community baptist church in gardena, california. Hi, chances were it was going to be in the nursery room, so I was sending this photo. This is the first photo that I had at a church that the bride allowed me to shoot outdoors with, and I would like k future ride that I haven't shot yet who I suspect will be in a nursery. What I'm going to do it send you this photo. So what I'm doing is going back to that initial point of managing expectation. The worst she could say is no, I'll say this is a photo that I shot at first community church in west covina, and they allowed me to take the dress outside. I'm not asking for permission right now because the room might be glorious and filled with angels and, you know, porticos, but if given the case that it's not keep in the back in your mind that we could do something cool with your dress and take it outside and of course judy follows with, you know, in the bag and we take the utmost care of it, but the block, so just setting. The idea in her mind so that on her wedding day she not having to make a good decision and be questioned about it from her bridesmaids she's knowing in advance and letting them know jazzing you have what you need, so what? I really think it comes down to his importance of being a curator, so I have made allusions to this idea of being a curator, but I've come to believe and feel and there might be like dispute of people disagreeing, but photos are important and I get it they are of the utmost important but how the story is laid out to me is equally as important. For a while, I started thinking of how magazine layouts were laid out and I didn't see thousands, hundreds of pictures thrown on the page I when I think back to you art installations want to go to museums absolute lebanese and I try to get to museums at least once a month to see a photo display, and if I walk in, I'm not seeing a wall covered in photos I'm seeing them late out strategic klay and I wish that I haven't pulled I wish I employed that more in my first year because my first year I was like, ok, so I want detail driven bride, so I'm just going to so many details out there and let's see, like, who comes what happens with a certain making collages not realizing that the more photos I was showing was actually weakening this distance weakening the display why did I think that by me putting them together it would don't worry it'll look better like the magazines don't do it museums don't do it but don't worry I'll create a collage end all collages okay let's talk about some collages here we go because it's like we're just talking about this collage whatever you know this is one of my first collages was getting into the collage role at the lower part of the screen you'll see what my first logo looks like it was black with right writing and the jasmine star was a tallis sized because professional photographers have I tallis size logo's that's what I thought anyway so that's what I did and why I put there wasn't too many details at this particular wedding but I decided I'm going to start doing collages so put four photos of the centerpieces why I have no idea I'm just that's how I wanted to roll on this and then and then I started upping the ante because I'm making collages now and look at those margins in between those middle photos I mean really all like really like really somebody why didn't anybody just shake me silly? I started producing these colleges because I was just like I'm gonna put more out there in the more of what I want I'm going to start attracting but what I didn't realize what I should realize now this is the lesson to be learned here are there are small details what you'll notice in the photo in the upper right hand corner you'll see that there's a table number that plastic table number that plastic table number was issued I can safely assume from the place where the ceremony was taking place right there's no reason why I should be photographing that detail now what I do whenever I'm given table there's like that I take them off because nobody likes his table numbers the bride doesn't like it the vendors don't like creative team doesn't like it it's good for nobody except for the servers on the wedding day unless it's a detailed table number then I'm leaving it otherwise I'm extracted from the table the photo to the left of that photo in the upper left corner what you'll see is I don't mind glasses filled with water I understand that that's part of it but bread baskets I left the bread basket on the table why am I doing that? The bride did not make the bread nor did she choose the basket if that was if it's a detail that she is not putting out there herself don't take a photo of it unless it's really cool bread unless it's stylized you know and so what we have also in the photo in that particular photo or you could see just believe it in the left middle photo is I left a bread basket I also left butter and he also left the salt and pepper shakers no way so part you can change that thing like you can make what you're doing I always called judging I don't even know how to spell it if somebody on the interweb oh my gosh ok this is what I'll do somebody can tell me how to spell judge and I'll give him a free exposed magazine there you tweeted at tweeted tweeted over the hashtag and ijust star whoever could spell judge the best they're going to get a magazine ok jay's back serving my job okay so what we're going to do is any time that you can remove elements from like the sugar packets the bread baskets the butter the salt pepper shakers it will make your photo this is your photo shoot you must die allies it because you are the curator so ok this is the collage ends all collages I mean look at that what was I thinking? I was just like every detail on the wedding I'm going to be posting which was wrong because I'm not I mean like I was trying to make it look like I was a professional collage er and it was just like a bad mistake what I will say though was I was learning how to shoot details and they wanted to showcase them, but I wasn't showcasing them in the best light. If your photographer and you're thinking that you're possibly showcasing too many photos on a blob post, chances are you are as a cure rader if somebody can look at your work and shaved down the photos, tio down two images that reflect what you want your brand to be, I have defined what I want my brand to be we're gonna get to that in a minute, but before we get to that point, the photos that only get posted on my block or go out on facebook or going on social media are boiled down to one of three words. They're either fun, fresh or editorial, that is it. I can take romantic photos and I could take emotional photos. I think photo, journalistic photos and those are included in slide shows, there's included much definitely in the wedding day portfolio, but they're not used. They're not used to showcase what I do is a photographer or to attract the type of client that I want that's, where I find it started realizing I need to cut back on these darn collages, because what I think is really important is the aesthetic value that we bring us photographers I later discovered that it was almost as important as my skill. Skill is always number one I need you to practice. I need you to get good. I need you to know your camera. I don't think that there's a solve all just go out and shoot everything absolutely not what I think is I want you to try stinking hard and then outside of that, once you've passed that first second year of being like I've defining who I am is a photographer, I'm redefining who I am as a business person. Now people are hiring you for your aesthetic value, your eye? What do you bring? Because I think how many phenomenal photographers do we see there's so many phenomenal, breathtaking, amazing photographers, and yet they don't know how to showcase their work in a way that highlights their skill from an aesthetic point of view, and we see it again and again. So what can we do from an outsider's perspective? Looking at our block post, I try to keep my blood post as tight as possible by using those three words to define it, and then we have to ask you, what are you doing to showcase your taste? Because if it comes down to two or three amazing photographers that a bride wants to hire, she wants to know who she's hiring, and she wants to know the taste in what she's hiring because I actually don't take photos of the bride when their brides means happens almost every weekend was almost at every wedding. She'll put on her wedding dress, and then she lives her armpits, and then her bride maids will put on her deodorant. Now, in the beginning, I was taking that photo on. Everybody would laugh, and she likes you better outpost online, and I would never put it online. But I'll still take the photo because I felt like I should be taking this photo now I don't, even with my camera that's, not the photo that I take because I know I know my bride's now they don't want silly photos of their arms raised in an awkward position with their best friend putting deodoro that's not how they want to remember their wedding day, and I know that about my rights. There are other brides who think that's hilarious and want that to be attracted to a certain type photographer, and both are equally as valuable. But how are you showcasing that to them?