I’ve always felt you can make a job out of just about anything if you do it well enough. I want to share a few touches I’ve added over the years to go above and beyond for every couple.
It’s extremely rare I have a wedding with under 10 hours of coverage. There aren’t many photo opportunities at the very beginning or end, but it’s about more than that. Arriving early gives everyone time to relax, so it’s easy to get genuine reactions. Staying later means I’m there for that heartfelt goodbye, or sweet move on the d-floor. I often get asked if I’m friends with the couple (even if we’ve just met that day) and sticking around is a huge part of that.
NO CUTTING CORNERS.
Did you know that some photographers downsize the photos they send out to couples? This can lower their storage costs and encourage print sales. I was blown away when I first heard of it. Every file I deliver is full resolution, so prints always look their best whether you order direct from me or not. There are no watermarks on the files or brand names debossed on your album.
THE BEST YOU CAN GET.
My gear is the best available (at any price). My cameras are designed for fast action like at the Olympics or for capturing wildlife, but this also makes them incredible wedding cameras. They make zero noise, which is hugely important in quiet ceremonies or emotional moments. They recognise faces and eyes, so every photo is perfectly focused – even for dogs and cats. I can work in darker scenes than ever without having to use annoying flashes. Photographers always say they use ‘professional equipment’ but this could mean anything, way back to a Canon 5D3 from 2012. There’s more to photography than just gear, but when you’re paying for a professional you deserve the best.
TWO IS ONE, ONE IS NONE.
At a wedding, there’s no time to run to the shop if something goes wrong. My kit includes 3 cameras, 9 lenses, 4 flashes and plenty of cards & batteries. Any item could break and it wouldn’t affect my coverage at all. My options are never compromised, even if I need to send something for repair in the middle of a busy season.
I always err on the side of caution. I only book back-to-back weddings when they’re close together, so I can be fully rested for wedding #2. For jobs with travel I stay close by the night before – car troubles, traffic or other hurdles can pop up any time. If you’re hours away, any issue can easily make you miss your start time. Some photographers cover interstate (or international) doubles/triples/etc, driving through the night or stepping off planes to begin coverage. To me this sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Photos on a screen are nothing like holding them in your hands. Ordering prints is one of those things you might never get around to doing, so I deliver a set for free to get people started. I print these myself on beautiful fine art paper to guarantee they look exactly as they should. This is a process that has really improved my editing, as the tiniest detail jumps out once you see it in real life. I also love producing albums – these are the ultimate way to enjoy your images. I offer unlimited revisions of the album design before we send to print to make sure you are 100% happy with it. It’s going to be in your family for generations, I want it to be just right.
BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP.
Initially, each photo exists on one memory card, which is a huge risk. Everyone makes some sort of copy, but I take a few extra steps.
– I use two cameras. If one falls in a lake or gets burned in an unfortunate sparkler incident, there will still be images from each part of the day.
– My cameras have two memory cards each, so every photo is duplicated instantly. Some photographers don’t bother enabling this, or have cameras so old that it isn’t an option. This is like jumping in a taxi to find out there are no seatbelts.
– Images are copied again across a series of nine hard drives. They also back up online, so a few hours after the wedding has ended everything is safe even if my house is burned to a crisp.
– I use a large set of SD cards. This means I never need to format a card before the wedding is delivered.
A WORD OF ADVICE.
Unless your job is in events, the planning process can be a bit overwhelming. I’ve taken my years of experience and created an advice section of my site to help you out. It covers things like planning your runsheet and organising family photos, as well as recommendations for all of the best vendors. I share this publicly instead of keeping it just for my clients, as I want to give everyone a leg-up in planning their day.
BACK TO BASICS
Unfortunately in this industry, you can’t always count on minimum levels of responsibility. If you’re offered a discount for paying in cash, chances are it’s for tax evasion. That means the business is one audit away from going under – taking your deposit and your photographer with them. It’s also worth checking things like insurance – some venues will require proof. Ask if the person you’re dealing with will be the photographer, or if they send out associates. Be cautious of photos from styled shoots or workshops – these don’t have the same constraints as a real wedding and aren’t comparable.
Some of these things take more time, most cost more money, and often it’s about preparing for situations that hopefully never occur. I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life trying to polish every bit of the process. Your wedding will be one of the most exciting days of your life, and your photography should fit seamlessly into that experience.