Family Formals Recap and Questions
So to recap seventy two two hundred millimeter lens f five point six we talked about why no exposure compensation because I'm one hundred percent on manual an eighty eighth of a second for ambient light but that will vary maybe you're in a sixty eighth of a second maybe you're at one hundredth of a second you need to be careful with the sink speed of your flash you know sometimes people will write to me and we'll be like I shot these family formals at a five hundredth of a second and half of the images black why well your shutter speed was too fast it's faster than your sink speed they're not and that's what it's going to look like your camera's not broken your flashes and broken you've just got to get your shutter speed down my eyes so is low but I don't worry about my eyes so too much as long as it's not going super crazy I'm cool with it what if things one really really late you have to manage expectations too you have to ask for more time than you need you have to create a list bef...
ore the wedding and you have to make sure the client shares that list with their family members and bridal party now what I mean by creating a list before the wedding if you watch my thirty days I actually did a full pre wedding console with my clients where you see me talking through the schedule of the day talking through the family formals but I don't always get a sit down in person console with my clients sometimes we don't even talk about it on the phone sometimes it's just all done by e mail and I send them a questionnaire six weeks to two months before the wedding it details a bunch of stuff that's important what were you getting ready what time do you want me to start? Where is your ceremony? Just basics like that but it also heavily details family formals so I write out my regular listings it's a check box so it's bright alone bright bright alone groom alone bridegroom together I mean bride with her mother bride with her father bride with her mother and father bride with her mother and father and siblings bride with her mother and father and siblings and the groom for the groom's side grooming his mom grooming his dad grooming his mom his dad grooming his mom his dad his siblings grooming his mom and his dad his siblings on the bride bride with attendance groom with attendants bridegroom with all attendants check the ones you want then there's a section underneath that says are there any other groupings that you would like for us to photograph for you at this time of day please bear in mind it takes approximately four minutes to put together a family grouping so basically make sure that it fits in your timeline I say it a lot nicer than that though underneath that it says are there any situations such as deaths or divorces that we should know about in order to handle this part of your day with maximum sensitivity and efficiency? How many times have you showed up at a wedding and you didn't know the bride's parents were divorced and they didn't tell you and you awkwardly try to put them together in a family formal now and talk to each other in twenty years that's terrible I don't want to do that I had a situation where a bride's parents were divorced and the bride's mother was remarried and they didn't tell me and to make it even where she had remarried a woman and they were amazing people but this whole entire time I'm shooting family formals there's this lady sitting there and I'm putting these groupings together and the bride's parents got along phenomenally so I'm putting bride mom and dad together and everyone's getting along and everything's great and I'm still eyeballing this woman and I'm like doesn't say anything on here about ants are about siblings are about girlfriends or about anybody who is she? I can't figure it out I find out later it's the bride's mom's wife and I had neglected to include her in the family formals I look like a jerk but in my defense no one told me how was I supposed to know? I cannot be a magician and understand people's family dynamics unless they tell me um I have two daughters their dad and I are divorced we're both remarried to other people my ex husband has another child with his new wife when my kids get married we're a fantastic weird mess of a family they can put their dad night together and pictures we get on great they can also do a picture of their dad and me and my husband and his wife and the other little girl and put us all together we don't care because we all get along great we do holidays together you can do a picture of my daughter and her step mother and me and one picture and it's going to be great because we both raised those kids not every family is like that not every dynamic is like that you have people that don't get along you have people that have divorced and re merged you have people that just don't really like each other you have people that might have passed away imagine how bad you're going to feel it a wedding if you're like okay can I get the groom and his dad and you don't know that his dad has passed away it's not my fault because no one told me and how could I have known but all of the guests into everyone who's congregated watching me be a total jerk a sw I look terrible and also I've made these people feel really awkward and I don't want to make these people feel really awkward I want them to feel awesome so that's why I always ask sometimes that invites to paragraphs about family dynamics that I just really didn't need to know like this long history of well dad and his brother didn't get along but now they get along really well and I have a half sister and it was kind of awkward but now we get along great I'm like you don't you don't have to go in that detail but even that I don't mind because it lets me know them in their wacky crazy family a little bit better and not only do I get to know the family better but also I have a list to go into the wedding day with right I know we're going to do these fifteen groupings I know how long that's going to take me to dio the bride also has the list the bride can distribute the list to everyone who's going to be in those pictures how much time are we going to spend with bridal party we write it down so there are no surprises I mean there are going to be surprises and things are going to run late and people are going to ask for pictures that aren't on the list but you try to manage the expectations as best you can pre wedding what if parents are divorced? No one talked told you you've got to find out is it a little awkward to ask yeah that's why I put in the questionnaire what if no one listens to you what if no one gets along and that happens what if the bridal party wants fun pictures and reads too much pinterest let's take these things one at a time what if no one listens to you that is brutal I'm not gonna lie I'm not going to sugarcoat it we're talking about surviving one of a tough one of the toughest situations to be in your tree get a group up on the altar you've got everybody together somebody's got pictures with their iphone over here somebody's got a dslr over here the wedding coordinators talking to them from the background dad's talking to his brother that's back here the bride's fussing with her bouquet and you keep raising your voice you're like hey guys everybody right over here and nobody looks at you guys I really can I get everybody right over here for just a second and snow one still looking at you and then I have to open up my voice and shout and then I am media immediately apologize I'm like guys hey literally as loud as I can everyone turns around and looks at me and I'm like I am I am so sorry I just had to yell at you I know that you guys want to get out of here I know this is nobody's favorite part of the day if you could give me just a few minutes of your time the quicker we can get these done the quicker you're going to be out of here I know you don't want to do this you have to do this do this and I'll get you out of here right and usually I tell people like the quicker we can get this done the quicker you can get to call tell our man people have been snapped to it when you say that if there are people in the back taking pictures I do my best to get that shut down because that takes too much time and I will constantly be saying and so will my assistant guys I need all your eyes right over here because if someone else is taking pictures you're gonna have a picture where mom's looking their brides looking at me dad's looking that way and I will keep putting my hand up guys I'm really sorry I don'thave everybody's eyes I need everybody right over here drives me nuts if no one gets along and I am not meaning to be dismissive that's not my problem I am not there to be your therapist I am not there to wrangle your family back together. I am not there to settle this decades old dispute between dad and his brother. I just have to keep going on as if I don't notice that people aren't getting along right like you guys are kind of skirmishing with each other and somebody's being sort of annoying and someone won't stand next to anybody else I just keep on smiling as if I can't see that this is happening in front of me because I don't want to be like hey, listen, I know that you guys aren't getting along right now but let's get everybody together for a picture then I've involved myself in the mess and I have enough family on my side I don't need do you know what I mean? Like it's there are things that I can help with and there are things that I can't and you have to understand that you cannot solve every problem on the wedding day, especially when the problem does not pertain to you. What if the bridal party wants fun pictures and reads too much interest? If I am going to have problems with someone who wants me to shoot something that isn't normally my style it's going to be when I'm doing bridal party pictures it's not because they don't trust me it's because they've had different experiences with with photographers and they think other things are cute then I think you're cute if I have time I will do it the one thing I have a very hard time with is when they look at me and they're like can we do like fun pictures with the bridal party what's fun to you like I don't I don't know you what is fun to you do you know what I mean like and I'll always turn it back on them I'm like so yeah I mean we can absolutely do whatever you'd like what sort of things did you have in mind I don't know I just wanted to do things that are like fun and I'm like no no no I totally understand I really want to do this for you but when you're thinking of like fun pictures are you thinking of like walking or jumping or interacting because I don't know maybe all they mean is hey we just want to gather up in a field and you want to talk to each other and we want a picture where everyone's laughing and everyone's interacting great maybe it means they want to run and pretend like they're being chased by a dinosaur like I mean you know what I mean like I don't know you guys I don't know what's fun for me and my friends might not be fun for you and your friends or vice versa hate to tell you if you want to run in the field and pretend you're being chased by a dinosaur okay go to tail and you want to jump one, two, three let's jump seriously if you want to do something cheesy even if it's not something that I think is aesthetically fantastic, I'm going to do it for you you're my clients I have no problems with that we're going to do what I need to do first then we'll do whatever you want to dio time permitting why not that leads us to another question and another scenario which is managing the bridal party I get the safe shots first in the same location as family formals so even if we're taking the bridal party in a field even if we're going to a park later I'm always going to do bride with bridesmaids groom with groomsmen bridegroom with all attendants at the same time I do the rest of the family formals I need a good safe formal shot and then I try to take them outside and natural light if I can and I tried to manage their expectations so when I take the bridal party outside I've already gotten my formal shots so I could do things like this you know they wanted the bride was in this beautiful light they wanted to come out and start messing around with her this girl on the right every time she laughed everyone laughed because her laugh was one of those laughs that are just so not what you expect to come out of her body that you're like I can't believe you're making that laugh like she's this lovely, petite, hilarious girl and she laughs like some fifty pound trucker dude it's this deep like bellowing laugh it is the funniest thing you've ever heard and everyone was dying laughing they were also the type of bridesmaids that couldn't stop fussing with her dress so you know what if you can't beat him join him get out there and fuss with her dress this is a great moment of them interacting but I can also deliver this image alongside that image which is of them smiling directly at the camera and looking at me so it's nice to have one and the other you know you want to do something fun okay let's do a silhouette shot if I can or you know maybe we're on our way from one place to another and we can stop and just huddle up and smile at me and literally my instruction for this picture is hey guys get close together cuddle up and smile at me I want to show that they're enjoying themselves as a group it gets tough when there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen but you've got to get your safe stuff before you can move on someone in your brought in the bridal party won't understand your style and complain it's bound to happen especially if you get bigger bridal parties maybe somebody had a photographer who had a completely different style and it was what they wanted and they think you're doing something wrong that'll happen someone's not going to like being photographed and much as you might want to like, smack smack and say it's not about you I mean it is about them they're in the bridal party you have to make everybody feel comfortable somebody's gonna have a photographer who did it different or better and can we have fun pictures I had to re go back to that one again I mean, listen fun pictures of me and my best friends would be us in our uggs watching netflix half asleep that's fun to me fun for somebody else might be jumping fun for somebody else might be cuddling up and everybody kissing the bride on the cheek fund for somebody else might be laying all the bouquets out on the ground are holding all the bouquets out like this you want to charlie's angels charlie's angel all afternoon I have no problems with that like I really don't but I've got to get my safe stuff first the tough part comes when the rest of the bridal party doesn't trust you when they're like well this is dumb or wise are back to the sun or why are we standing in the sun and that's when I just try to blow it off and keep going if I'm with the bride and groom and I could talk to just the bride and groom about I know this feel silly but or I know you're in the sun but that's easy if I'm looking at twenty five people in front of me and one person is complaining, I just have to go ok? Let's get everybody really close together I can't deal with everybody else's different things and maybe there are people in the bridal party who don't like my work and they tried to get the bride to hire their photographer who you know did something completely different if I've got a bridesmaid in the bridal party who had jose via shoot her wedding it's going to be a different experience working with me because it's a very different experience of photography so sometimes you do have a little bit of a war when what the bridal party thinks you should be doing is just simply a different style and you just have to keep rolling and keep going so as faras time with the bridal party I usually want you know about twenty extra minutes on top of family formals and that's on top of getting the safe shots inside of the period of the family formals and I don't need hours and hours with them go outside let's wander around let's have a good time let's get you a cocktail hour in story any questions at all whatsoever before we break for lunch about family formals about bridal party about managing the bridal party about anything that you need to ask me because we're down to our last two segments after lunch all right let's start with the internet and then grab mike does have questions now this one came from mei can you talk about how you might just side on a location for family formals at desk when natural backgrounds are becoming dark wood you up to move indoors if there is no ambient light that works with the background or add background light outdoors well I would probably ought to move indoors because as the sun sets when you hit that part where it's dusk and it's setting really fast we're gonna go from sun to dark in about thirty minutes maybe you could make it work if it's a quick group but if I know that by the time I'm done we're going to be in full on pure darkness every single one of those family formals is going to look different and I'd rather move inside at that point honestly if I can question your grace when you're posing large groups or bridal parties and things like that with bouquets and hands and stuff it's always a pretty typical question to ask and it's a lot of style but you know for you when you're dealing with like that all the bouquets in the hands of the guys and stuff was in pockets don't really care families is it you know touching each other or whatever connection to create that environment so it depends so if it isthe like the bride in her mom right for example I'll have them please take one step back when I'm doing family formals I pose the bridegroom first okay so I'll have them turn into each other they put their inside arms around each other's waists and they both hold the flowers really care if you hold the flowers it just gives him something to do with his hand so I'll say listen put your arm around your wife's waist and just put your hand on top of hers on the bouquet that way they go in a circle you go face face arm down bouquet up the arm back to the face their unit so then we add on from that we add on mom and dad so we put a mom and dad on either side if they come right on in next your daughter put your hand on her back and put your hand on her arm and what I want is the hand like right here so put your hand on her arm then you've got somebody on the other side doing the same so everybody's interconnected now when the group gets a little bit bigger it looks kind of dumb when you've got eight people in a row and they're all like with each other it almost always presents itself as the guy's saying what you want me to do with my hands they always ask it and I say you know what I don't care put your hands in your pockets put him down in front of you put him around the person next to you whatever feels good just don't cross them then you look mad and don't do this because then you look awkward and then you'll get a nice combination of guys with hands in pockets a guy with his hands down I'm not doing a studio portrait I want people to get close together and feel normal and so if you've got some hands in pockets and some hands down that's going to be great same thing when I'm photographing the bridal party I'll tell the guys you know what as long as the groom's got his arms around his wife you guys do it l what l what whatever you want with your hands and then you get a good mix of people kind of leaning on each other and hanging out girls I always tell them hold your bouquets at kind of belly button height unless you're all going to hold them down for a picture we need them all uniforms so that it's not just a sea of waving bouquets but other than that I don't get super fussy with it I'd rather them feel comfortable and snuggly then over posed and stuff yes man okay so I have a question about ceremony from what would you do if you were outside and it was dark and there is a ceremony outside like I guess how would you like that if you have like nothing to bounce off of with your flash or I mean I've only had one instance in all fifteen years where a ceremony was literally at night with no light and it was because things ran really far behind and so on and so forth, and they ended up putting a light out there. If I got super hose, and it was really bad, I would probably try toe run a video light, maybe behind, at an angle. But honestly, I've never found an experience where I'm outside, and it is so dark that I can't shoot anything, because most people who are going to get married at night know that there has to be some light, so that people can find their chairs and sit down and everything. So it's. Not really a problem that I encounter too much. Thankfully, yes, all right, this is one that probably happens. Teo, a lot of people, this is from captain men photos. So what do you do if many of the family members are already drunk during formals? Seriously don't you kind of want to be like how did you guys get drunk this fast like it's two o'clock in the afternoon where did you get the booze that's actually incredibly difficult it's very very very, very very hard because you can't ration with them like you can normal people who are not inebriated this is where having my assistant comes in she just keeps rounding them up pulling them closer together it's like trying to photograph babies you keep pulling it like okay one person goes okay now we got to get you back in here and we got to get you back in here on that instance that would not be something that I would have a problem talking in the client about after the wedding if they were ever to complain nobody's looking at us and family formals you know someone and so forth I'll have to say you know I'm sorry and I realized that that is unfortunate but a lot of your guests had already been enjoying thie alcoholic cocktail hour for a while and I mean listen guys I can't make you a drink like much as I wish I could all you can do in all of these scenarios is the best you can do and when everybody is drunk the worst is when the bridal party is drunk and belligerent. I have a client who is currently not pleased with me about her pictures because there is a lack of variety of bridal party pictures during the time that I had the bridal party unbeknownst to the bride who had already been out take being photographed we brought the bridal party later they wouldn't stop complaining they called the bride names they were like why does she want us out here? This is a stupid location the groomsmen had been drinking they didn't want to be there and they were not shy about telling me that they didn't want to be there I put them in a location you know I'm taking it's a great location I'm taking some pictures and the groomsmen are like, are we done? And I'm like, well I haven't even picked my camera up so no, we're not done and I took one or two pictures of one girl moon one grooms and was like, I'm done you're gonna go back to the limo and they went with him and her question is why are there no more pictures of my bridal party? What am I supposed to tell her? I can't tell her your bridal party got off the limo complaining about you I can't do that like that first of all and I hate to be super cynical she wouldn't believe me she would think I was making an excuse my girls would never talk to you like that our guys weren't drunk, okay? I mean they were but it is the worst place to be in is in a position where you have to defend your results when they don't believe the conditions that you shot them under well and what I told her it was you know I started working with your bridal party they indicated that they really we're not enjoying being photographed and we didn't have a lot of time and I knew the pictures of you two were very important so I got a great assortment of bridal party pictures I let them head on to the reception and I spent the bulk of our time outside with you guys which I knew was important that's true but her response wass they were finding outside they weren't complaining oh don't put me there please don't put me there because I know what I saw I have a video on my phone of your bridal party complaining because I turned my phone on and I was shooting a little video as I was walking and you can hear them complaining because I could see this coming and I wanted to be covered I have out takes where the groomsmen are flipping me off please don't make me tell you about this like this is hands down the worst place to be put in because people don't remember how they behaved when they were inebriated and I do because I was stone cold's over and I was right there and I I am hoping that this situation will die where it isthe I would rather have her be a little unhappy with me then have to be like, yeah, okay, you want to what they're saying behind your back, you want to see the pictures where they were flipping me off. Don't make me do this, please. So I will actually let myself get tossed under the bus a little bit and let her be a little dissatisfied with me before I delve into personal detail like that and I realized that's kind of a dark one. But what do you do, write like you're trying to shoot the groomsmen and all the grooms and want to do is pretend they're peeing in the bushes, like I'm not going to shoot that it's going to affect the coverage. Don't make me have to explain this to you later. I don't ever want to get in a discussion with their client with my clients about how the behavior of those near and dear to them impacted their coverage. It's a very terrible place to be in. Going back to the group shots sure when you photograph each group individually how many variations do you take like three in which ones what they be oh what I'm really very one group of people everybody's looking at the camera one shot and then the second one would be everybody would just be would be looking at the bride and groom no no no no I don't do that okay it's just one everyone show me ok thank you I delivered three copies of that one I take maybe four or five and I always deliver three because inevitably someone's got their eyes closed in one's was looking away in another so their smile is changing a little bit I give them three two two three of each grouping toe look at but I don't vary the pose for the group unless it is with the bridal party and then I don't really I don't do the whole okay everyone look at me okay bridegroom kiss and everybody cheer I don't do that sort of that's not really the sort of posing that sort of fits with my style so yeah yeah we're getting into ah, some of these changes in time well yeah about sort of that relationship management with your clients I think really thank you for sharing that story because it's people are relating to that listen like to be very clear there are things that happened to me where I don't know what to do like and it's a lot of post wedding I am unhappy because and sometimes I just sit there and go I don't know how to handle this situation I don't know because it's not about photography ninety nine percent of the time it's not about the pictures it's about something emotional or something that happened on the wedding day that I don't know anything about our it's it goes above and beyond what the pictures looked like and how much can I be a psychiatrist and how much do I just need to be a photographer and how much blame do I want to put on them even if it's their fault that is a really hard place to be and so I have an amazing facebook group that I'm part of of some of the most incredible women that I have ever met and we bounce our problems off of each other like listen and I went to them and I said I am in this tough situation where these people are mad at me and I could absolve myself completely if I told them what their bridal party behavior was like I don't think I can do that am I okay letting her be unhappy with me even though I could save myself by ruining her friendships and it was really nice to bounce it off of some people ask a friend who's, not a photographer don't be afraid to talk to your friends about your issues because sometimes when you're in the midst of it it is really hard to tell what to do especially when you have been sort of personally wounded by it you really think I liked having a bunch of groomsmen flip me off they called me a couple of names you think I like hearing that like part of me wanted to flip him off back and be like who do you think you are but I can't do that it's a hard place to be and when you are an employee but you also want to say you can't treat me like that please don't make me know about your drama I really I can't help you it's it's a really difficult position to be in and you know in fifteen years of being in business there are four or five customer service situations that I have found myself in where I I just had to sit there and think oh I have no idea what to say here anything I say is probably going to be the wrong thing I don't know what to say and I have to think on it for a while before I respond and you know I hate to compare everything to a musical okay? And I swore to god I was going to shut up about this musical that I love so much I can't help it there's a scene in this show that I'm obsessed with and I realize I'm going to sound really weird talking about it it's hamilton the musical it is eh? Stick with me here it is a hip hop musical about our first secretary of the treasury alexander hamilton and it's the best thing I've ever heard but there is just go with me here there's one song where george washington is going tio he's not going to run for president again and there's a whole song about how he's stepping down he's not gonna run for president and why he wants to have some time to live his life and he gives this amazing address to everyone too sort of say I am leaving here is why here is what I hope for the country and one of the things that he basically says is I have tried it every turn to do my best for you I will admit that I am not perfect and I have probably made a lot of mistakes and so I look back on these customer service experiences and I think I am always doing it with his big a heart as I possibly can and from a place of extreme caring but I am not perfect and I have probably made mistakes so when I go back and do some of these customer service experience is differently off course. But I just wish more than anything else that my clients knew that I was always trying to do the best by them always I am willing to have this girl not like me and not refer me to anyone before, I'm willing to tell her how her bridal party talked about her behind her back. I can't do that, so don't feel bad if you find yourselves in these very difficult situations and you don't know how to handle them and you don't know what to say and you're stuck in an awkward oh oh do I throw somebody under the bus? Or do I tell the truth? Or do I just take it? It happens to every single one of us and no matter what you do in, no matter how you try to handle a situation, sometimes people are just not going to be happy with you and you can't save it all. You can't let it get you down. Um, and I work in a musical reference I'm really, really proud of myself there, so I realize we're ending like pre lunch on like a super downer of drunk people and being flipped off and but it is we are talking about surviving, and part of surviving is when you are in a very bad situation and the bad situation continues into the future, how do you handle that situation in a way that shows that you deeply care about your clients, but that you're not pointing fingers and blaming everybody?
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