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Example Couple Interview

Lesson 25 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Example Couple Interview

Lesson 25 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

25. Example Couple Interview


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Define the Goals of Wedding Photographers


The Importance of Wedding Photographers


Shooting Philosophy


How to Build a Shot List - Bride, Groom & Formals


Tye the Wedding Story Together


Capture Stories in Wedding Pictures


Get the Right Exposure


Lesson Info

Example Couple Interview

I think at this stage, we're going to bring our couple in and we're going to try and conduct this live interview which is going a little bit backwards cause we've... But it's all good. So come on in guys. Hey. How you doing? Hey guys. Good. Yeah, you good? Feeling good? Good to see you. Good to see you as well man, take a sit. Hey. Hi (giggles). Hello again (giggles). Take a seat guys, absolutely. This will be interesting, because we've met (laughs). Yeah. We have some sort of rapport and you guys were actually married a little while ago now, right? Correct, nine months ago. About nine months ago? Yeah. Cool, beautiful. So you can answer the questions honestly, 'cause you go married, you know where you got married and you know what everything was like. And basically the first question that I would tend to ask people is okay, so tell me where you're getting married. Tell me about the venue. Well it's outside Leavenworth, which is the mountains, which is, ...

believe it or not, a Bavarian town. Wow! So it's pretty fun. Do they have a big cafe? Many. Awesome Nice! I'm there then. We're there. We're actually gonna get married at like a lodge. Oh, wow. It'll be outdoors. We had a bunch of lodges, she was getting ready in one lodge, I was in another one. That sounds phenomenal. About 120 people I think. Yeah. 120? Cool, is that all? Yeah. Is that like your closest 120 group of friends, yeah? (laughter) I don't know if I know 120 people to invite, but it seems like a lot of people. She's got a big family. Yeah, yeah, lot of cousins. Well that sounds beautiful. So outdoors lodge, outdoor ceremony as well? Yeah. Yep. Yeah? June, so it's beautiful and warm. It's a nice time of year. Yeah. Which would be opposite for me. You realize that? (giggles) Yeah. June is winter, so. Well, that sounds gorgeous. And would you both be getting ready at the lodge as well? Is that the plan? Separate lodges. Separate lodges? But at the same venue? Yes. So easy day. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's like no driving. No. Arrive at the venue and then we'll just party on from there. Yeah. Well thank God. Okay just a few things that are happening here. And just breaking it down in just what's just transpired here. First and foremost, Ryan is sitting on the same level as the bride and groom. He's not sitting on a higher chair, coming across as the dominant person, in fact sometimes we even see lower on we have these you know, square little posts and we sit. So then it becomes a very intimate conversation with the bride and groom. The other thing Ryan was doing is affirmation, affirmation, affirmation. I'm getting married in June, what an amazing time of the year. I'm getting married in March, what an amazing time of the year. I'm getting married in January, what an amazing time of the year, how different. Okay, so affirmations. Last thing you wanna do is, we're getting married in January you go, "Why?" (laughter) Why would you wanna do that? Because it's cold? No. But affirmations, you have to make them believe that you are genuinely interested in who they are and the decisions they've made. And then everything else will start to follow. A lot of the times when they start talking about the venue and if they picked a really, really expensive venue that you know of, you ask them the reason why they picked that venue. Can anyone tell me why they do that? The answer is, that it gives you an idea of how they like to buy things and how they shop and their reasons for selecting that particular venue. And it gives you a lot of clues about who they are as a couple. Over to you. Oh thanks man, yeah. (laughter) I was actually gonna ask, have you started dress shopping? How long ago before the wedding did you start dress shopping? Probably like six months. It was, yeah, coming fast. Good in the process, yeah. Fast process (chuckles). And did you find it your way? Second place I looked. The second place? That's pretty cool. Yeah. Most people actually you gotta go through, you know 25 different dress shops. Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. And how about you man? Like did it take you three seconds to find a suit? Pretty much. Okay, good. The guy at store helped me a lot. Oh, that's good. It was good. That's good. Did she help you as well or did she... No, she had no idea. You didn't? She didn't know a thing. Like I didn't know what she looked like. Beautiful. You know, actually I wanted to, with my own wedding I wanted to see what my wife's dress looked like prior to the wedding but then she just had nothing of it so. No. No. She was like no, it's not gonna happen. Do you actually wanna jump in there, or will I? Just continue, actually this is good. I'll jump in with just with one thing, is that I try and relate back to stories is what I'm tryna do. I'm tryna grab stories and then relate back and give you stories about me so you can find out about me as well a little bit at this stage but it's mostly I'm pushing questions at you, just to grab and drag information, yeah? That's all that's happening. But I gave you my own wedding story there, just to tell you that you know what? Hey, I've been through this process I know how hard it is. And it is, it's a difficult task right? Yeah, it's a lot to do. Yeah. And you find out that you build these lists and these lists just keep growing and growing and growing, yeah, absolutely. And in the last week, like, was it crazy? Yeah. Yeah. very crazy lots of out-of-town family coming in. Oh there was? Yeah so. Lot's of people as well, right? Last minute panic (giggles). And you guys, are you guys both from here? Both from Seattle? She is, I'm from Toronto. Toronto? Yeah. Is that very far away? Yeah, Canada. I know it's in Canada. (laughter) It's above New York so, other side. The other side? So you had people flying in from all the way on that side coming to you. Yeah. Wow, beautiful. How'd you guys meet? At a bar. Yeah. My roommate went to school with him. (laughter) Your roommate went to school with him? Yeah and then introduced you? Yeah. Yeah. My roommate liked her roommate. And then he was like, "You know, it'd be great "if you kinda met her." So I met her and it worked out for us. (laughter) Nice, nice. Yeah, went great. Isn't it great that we're divulging this on the internet right now? Yeah, it's great. Isn't it amazing? Actually do me a favor, tell me how you proposed. (groom groans) (bride giggles) If it's not gonna like, you know, spill too many... (laughs). No it was... No? It was one of those awkward moments where I was trying to get a hold of her dad, to ask permission do that classic thing but I kept driving by their house, his car was never there. I was like he's not home, he's always home, he's retired, why isn't he home? (Ryan laughs) And then finally it was Easter and I was like, "All right, I'm doing it on Easter." So I like snuck away, she was waiting for me at home or something. It turned out his car was in the shop (laughter) and he'd been home all week (laughter). But at this point I'm like panicking and I was like, "Oh God!" Like finally, so I'm like I wanna ask her and they were like, "Aww." And really excited, their grandma was there 'cause it was Easter, so they're all really happy. But by the time I asked her I was just like, so exhausted and relieved that I'd actually gotten in touch with him that I just like, "Will you just marry me?" She's just like finished gardening and she was all sweaty, but I was just like, we're doing this. That's cool. She was surprised. Yeah. Oh, that's good. But then we had to go back to all our families' houses. Of course. Again, that is. (bride giggles)) And you guys known each other for a little while? Yeah. We were together for eight years. Yeah. Oh wow, beautiful. Fantastic. So, yeah. Something very important just happened here. The way our groom is sitting, very relaxed. Ryan was on the edge of his seat. All of a sudden, he'd mirrored exactly what our groom was doing to make the groom feel comfortable as though he wasn't coming too far forward. It's very subtle, but it's very, very effective if you can do that. Don't make it obvious that you're doing it, because if you make it obvious then they'll know and then everything shuts down and they're out of your place real quick saying, "This guy's really weird." (laughter) Like I'd do that and he'd do this, you know? And then this and he'd... Yeah it just gets really awkward really, really fast. I'm gonna move the conversation along now. Yeah absolutely, go. 'Cause I think that would probably continue for a little while and we'd chat we'd have a good time and everything would be happy. But for the sake of the exercise here, I'm gonna ask you as I should ask you now, what were you looking for in a wedding photographer? And I believe your wedding photographer is actually here in the building, am I right? Right over there. Yeah, there you go. So this is cool. What were you... Essentially, give me some descriptive words about what we're looking for in a wedding photographer. Somebody who knew what they were doing. That's good stuff. So that we didn't have to worry about it. Like we just wanted to hire them, they know what they're doing, they know what kind of look they're going for, we're not professional models as you could tell yesterday but... (bride giggles) You did great. So we needed a lot of coaching. You did fantastic. And lots of like... Direction. Direction of getting all of our family to be in the right place at the right time cause... 'Cause we didn't know what we were doing. Yeah. Most people don't. How about style? Like is there a descriptive word to wrap up the style of shots that you were after from your wedding? A lot of candids. Yep. With the family 'cause I know my family doesn't really like to do the whole posing stuff but then we wanted some pose stuff, so that we would look good for our grandkids and what not, in the future. Beautiful. Fantastic. I think that's a very open-ended question to ask people. And most of the times that's pretty well the response that comes back I would say 99% of the time. My initial follow up from that would be something along the lines of, I think that's really cool because that actually suits what I do down to a tee. And so I'm reaffirming that their statements are good ones for me, as a photographer. And I would say something along the lines as my style guys, if I had to actually explain my style to you and define my style, I couldn't in a couple of words. But to wrap it up into one it would be balanced, it'd be balanced throughout the whole day. Is that I want all those beautiful, natural, candid, beautiful moments, but at the same time, you need someone there that's gonna control a little bit of the day, get all the family into line and ultimately make you guys look amazing as well, so yeah. Yeah. Does that sound good? Yeah. Yeah? Beautiful. I use of rhetorical questions as well. Questions that I know the answer's gonna come back. in fact, I did it to you guys yesterday. I asked you guys, "Would you agree?" And you all, "Yes, we agree." It's just like a subconscious type of thing. I ask those questions to get a yes out of them. Every time someone says yes, they affirm it in their mind. And we're gonna talk a little bit more about that when it comes to album sales, a little bit later on. For now guys, I think that's given us a really sort of cool idea of the rapport between photographer and couple. I would finish this off by saying to you guys and that's why I asked you the question, "Does that sound like a good plan?" And you've already sort of said, "Yeah, that sounds like a really good plan." Yeah. It's another way of saying, "Would you like to book me now?" Yes. Well, yeah. (groom laughs) 'Course you gonna say that right here. So easy. But instead of saying to a couple, "Guys, okay, so did you wanna book? "And did you wanna put a deposit down?" It's, "Does that sound like a good idea? "We'd love to work with you, would you like to work with us?" And they're the sort of question that gets the conversation of money going anyway. And when it comes to money and that conversation, you need to be confident in what you put out there. If I had to say to you guys, "Guys, so let's talk about my packages. "My starting price is $6,500." Because I'm a little apprehensive about my price, yeah? So guys, let's talk about my packages. My initial investment to start things off with is six and a half thousand and we work things from there. Now, I didn't say my package or my price is, the initial investment with me is six and a half thousand dollars and we start things from there, and obviously we can build on that and work out exactly what you guys need. So that's I think just a better way of approaching the subject of money anyway. Absolutely. Yeah. 'Cause money is such a dirty word, you know? Money or how do I talk about money without feeling embarrassed? But as Ryan said, you gotta own it. My price is, and look at them in the eye, six and a half thousand dollars. That's it, this is what it is. It's not six and a half thousand dollars. Sorry, did I say that? Yeah, can't do that. You just gotta be... You gotta own it, you gotta believe that that's what you're worth. Whether it's you know, for us at six and a half but someone else could be four and a half or three and a half, regardless of what it is, you have to own it. And be assertive when you deliver that prize. Absolutely, yeah. And I would never follow up that price with, "Oh, but we can help you out here with a discount." Or, "We can help you out with a payment plan for that." Yeah. I've just gotta assume that you guys can afford it, that's why you're here. And let's get the process underway. And I think that's a good way to sort of lead into it. I'm going to wrap this section up by just adding a couple of things for the end of the client experience. And I do this with every single one of my clients, I actually learnt this from Jerry a very long time ago. I do it with every one of my clients and I do it with anyone that we meet in a professional sense in terms of educating as well. And at the very end of the process we've presented the album to you and there's a glass of champagne there for you, present the album, you're crying, there's tissues and everything else, right? (giggling) I actually say to people, instead of giving them an incentive for a referral or a testimonial or anything like that, I simply ask for it to happen. And it's amazing how many people don't actually ask for a referral or for a testimonial. They just assume that something may happen. Never assume anything. Never assume anything. And I say to them, "Guys, if you've enjoyed "the experience with us, throughout this journey, "that we've been on together "and we've probably been on together by this stage "for about eighteen months to two years. "If you've enjoyed the experience "and you love the final product, "all I'd ask, is you tell everyone about it." Tell your friends, your cousin's, your relatives. I don't care who it is. Put it on Facebook, it'll be so kind of you to write me a testimonial that I could use on my website. Now, I didn't bribe them with it, I don't say that if you do that, I'll give you a free eight by ten. Because it's not gonna be genuine. No. Yeah. Is it? So here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna ask all of you and everyone out there in internet land, if you've enjoyed this course so far, you can do a couple of things for us. You can purchase the course, But of course, we'd love it of you to tell everyone about it as well. If you like what we've done shootingwise so far and trust me I know what's coming up, when this man gets his hands on things in Lightroom and Photoshop, brains will hurt and they'll explode, but if you like what we do, follow us, write us a testimonial. Let us know what you thought of the course and obviously support what we're doing in the future that would be ever so kind of you but I think for now Rocco we'll wrap this up. Thank you so much guys for doing that, that was like unbelievably awesome of you, yeah? Thank you. Not only for coming in and shooting but you've done this as well. It's fantastic. (bride giggles) Hey Christie? So to stay on topic with the client meetings, we have some questions about how you handle notes, are you taking notes while you're doing the interview? Do you write it down afterward? What do you do with the information so you don't forget it after the meeting? The minute I see sit in front of a bride and groom and I've got a notepad, and I'm taking notes, it means I'm interested in what they have to say. But also it's important that, if we need to get back to them a little bit later on, we know all their details. Where they were getting married and you can have a quick conversation on the phone and it's great because you know exactly, everything about them cause you made notes. So it's very, very important. It comes across very professional but also comes across as caring and it comes across as you're interested once again, about their day. One important thing we do both exactly the same way, we handwrite notes, when we're with them. They get transcripted into a online program that holds our client database. So we can always refer back to it, yep. That's great. Yeah, absolutely. So handy. And then what would you do if you maybe didn't have a studio where people could come? Do you ever do or do you Skype? Or long-distance interviews? And when you do that, how do you handle showing products? Okay, yeah, a very interesting question. One for me that's very relevant, because I live on the Gold Coast in Australia. Most of my work happens in Sydney, so most of my meetings happen on Skype. Okay. Yeah. And the way I handle showing product, is by actually, I have a keynote that is built on my computer and I share my screen. And I run through, literally, I have photographs of albums that I show them. So I show them a photograph of the front of the album, the spine, this side of the album and then I literally show them, not as photographs but as files, the album spreads themselves. I always start the meeting though with us face to face and you know, it's usually something along the lines of nice virtually meet you, so (Rocco laughs). But going from there and then showing the products as photographs I think is a very key thing. Yeah, absolutely. But so you run the whole interaction really the same way, you just have different tools to show the product. Just a computer screen. But you still wannna connect with them. Great. And we're very conscious about the background environment of the Skype call, so we don't adjust to it from the office, we make sure that there's nice pictures in the background, beautiful lighting, so we light ourselves properly and then makeup, no, just kidding. (laughter) But yeah. And once again, that whole experience has to come across as a positive one. I actually do have an ice light set up (laughter) for my Skype meetings. True photographer. Because, you know, you wanna be lit well, don't you. The best thing about Skype meetings got me is you can do them in yonder pants and it doesn't matter. As long as it's only on top, it's great. But yeah, it's great. It's very very good yeah. Very comfortable. Okay, on that note, we're gonna change subject (laughter) back to social media. Cool. Lots of questions for you about all the great tips you mentioned of how you make, you know, all those marketing choices easy for yourself and work it into your workflow. What was the name of the, I think you said you had a cord that you transferred photos from your camera to your phone? Yeah, it's a lightning adapter. I have an iPhone so it's a lightning to USB adapter. It's an apple... It's a product, literally an Apple product so it has a little lightning end yeah that goes into the phone it comes out to us USB connector, which then I run a USB cable to my camera. Great. Depending on which USB connection your camera has, you obviously have to have the right connection for that. Why that is is because in those pro bodies, the 1DX mark two, the D5 that's coming out... D4S. The D4S, the 1DX, they will never have Wi-Fi, ever, because they're a titanium body so they can't actually build the Wi-Fi into the body you can buy the adapters for them. Yeah, the little thing that sits on the side. That sits on the side. I find it easier with this cord. It's like $30. Yeah. Yeah. It's very, very easy. Then, once you plug it in, literally, the iPhone brings up an input function through Photos, You select through, you select which photos you wanna import, you import those and what it's importing is the jpeg preview that's been generated from the camera itself for the raw file. It's not the RAW file that you're loading in, it's just the jpeg preview. Which is plenty big enough to go out to Instagram and Facebook. That's right. And a lot of the times, you can tweet those live if you wanna create black and whites through software on your phone like SnapSeed or something like that. Yeah, absolutely. Even just through Instagram, you go an apply Instagram effects. It gives just an interesting look, I guess. It's funny, though, with Instagram, I don't know if you would agree but if you put a good photograph into Instagram and apply one of the filters, it looks crap. It ruins it. It ruins it but yeah. (Ryan laughs) We know that. (Christie chuckles) It's Instagram. And then, along the same lines, you said you said you have an app that you use to watermark your images. Yes. What was that app, again? Can you tell us? It's called, "Over" Over. O-V-E-R Great. Yep. And then for your slide shows, you said you use Animoto, correct? Yes. And then, where do you get the music? I know that's a big issue for a lot of photographers. Yeah. What's your approach? Royalty free. It has to be royalty free. Because you're playing it in front of quite a big audience. For that particular slideshow, that was a track that we bought from Triple Scoop. They have a lot of great tracks. I mean there's a lot of royalty free music sites out there at the moment. But we love that one from Triple Scoop. I thought it was great. You can't really start playing Top 40s stuff if you're selling your work. It's just not a good way to end up in court (laughs). I think, visually, though, aesthetically, as well, you kind of timestamp something as soon as you put something from the Top 40 on there, right? Yeah, you do. It's like you say, "That is from 2015. "Because that's the song of 2015 or 2016." Or whatever it may be. You need not to do that. You need to be able to have the longevity of it. Generic, nice beautiful track that it's not really recognizable and doesn't have a timestamp, as Ryan said. Anything with that on the day, we're just trying to make our lives really easy. It's lighting the raw files, selecting the 80 and 90 images really quickly out of lightroom. As we've mentioned, we have our own actions that we've dealt for us that then we put on for sale for everyone else. We have a workflow set that has presets and actions in it. Apply the presets. Animoto's great with the export function in lightroom itself. You don't have to do anything. You press export to Animoto, it loads it into the website, away you go. It's pretty awesome. It's great. Yeah, great tool. Yeah, amazing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Guide Book Chapter

Ratings and Reviews

Jerry Willis

Ryan & Rocco, in my very humble opinion, are THE best wedding photography instructors in the entire industry! I've been watching their work for years now, which just so happens to win a most grand-scaled competitions, and they somehow continue to keep getting better! I first drilled Ryan at WPPI inquiring about what made his workshop different from all the others. His response, me paraphrasing, "If you're looking for tools to learn, come to my workshop. If you're looking for inspiration and smoke blowing, don't come." That's exactly what I needed to hear. Straight tools, no fluff. THE BEST photography workshop I've EVER taken, by far. You want the best photography education, learn from the best. This CreativeLive workshop is the PERFECT complimentary refresher and companion to what I learned! Thank you so much for having them! It's not the same as the workshop, which it shouldn't be, but they ARE reinforcing many things that have slipped my memory! I'm for sure buying this! :-)

Neeraj Arora

WOW!!! I have started a few CL courses but not finished as I got distracted by "life" and it took me a while to get back and finish them. But these guys!! They were simply superb. I finished this course really fast. Amazing artists, they explain things so well, Ryan is such a charmer and engaging teacher, Rocco is a fountain of knowledge. I am an enthusiastic photographer with aspirations to start my own business soon. I learn't so much from this class that will help improve my photography even if I don't become a professional wedding photographer. Great job guys, keep it up. I will need to come back to the lessons and I very much appreciate the key note pdf. All CL courses should include the slides like they did here. Thanks CL.


I am a newborn photographer by trade, but I really want to venture out and photograph more weddings so I decided to purchase a wedding class on creative live. Of course when I typed in wedding, quite a few classes came up. But when I saw the image and title "capture the story" I was definitely intrigued. I've always been touched by the photographs that have emotion and that's what I'm passionate to photograph! Always a little nervous when you purchase a class because you don't want to feel like it was a waste of money, but this knocked it out of the park for me! Thank you to Ryan and Rocco for explaining so much, showing the pull backs, and moving your subject and explaining why! This has opened my eyes so much to how beautiful photographing a wedding can be and not so terrifying as I've been making it out to be. I'm really so thankful to hopefully being a great wedding photographer and making more income for my family, while having fun creating something beautiful

Student Work