After shooting over 400 weddings, I have finally been able to put together a few words to describe the experience. As I am a wedding photographer, and not a writer, this was actually much harder then I thought it would be, so forgive my use of examples.
So, what is the Wedding Experience? This is best described with how I view my role at before, during and after your wedding day. Before your wedding, I am almost always reachable whether it’s a phone call, text message, email or Facebook chat. I think this is the most overlooked aspect of what a wedding photographer is – an invaluable resource. Every wedding day is different, special and filled with love, joy and symbolism. One thing it is also filled with is surprises, both good and, unfortunately, sometimes not so good. Before the wedding, I am here to answer any questions, help with time frames, and identify things that may be difficult to achieve or just won’t work without changes. A common occurrence is trying to do to much in too little time. My job is to make you happy and get great photos… I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure your wedding day plans are, well, going to go as planned. If they don’t, it can affect the beautiful photography we are trying to achieve either because of a lack of time or being stressed that we can’t fit it all in. Either way, it takes you away from enjoying the experience. I welcome every wedding client to use me as a resource as I have been to many, many weddings and have the understanding of time lines, conflicts and dependencies of how everything fits together – and what gets affected when changes occur.
Weddings, portraits and any type of “personal session” has this energy that, unfortunately, I cannot fully describe. I felt it at my own wedding and I feel it every time I photograph. The funny thing is, it’s always unique to the day & time. I love to use this energy to get photographs specific to my clients. I rarely do “canned” posing because I feel it’s my duty (and honor) to give the gift of unique wedding day images to my clients. It’s also my responsibility, of sorts, to be prepared for any unforeseen things that arise. Loose buttons, ripped pants, broken bustles, forgotten flowers, shoes that are too large, dresses that are too large, forgotten props, etc are all things I have faced and directly fixed on the wedding day. Again, as I am your wedding photographer, I see that anything which could effect the mood or energy of your wedding day as my responsibility to help overcome. I have even gone as far as getting the necessary paperwork to legally conduct your ceremony in North Carolina, should the need arise. I have not had to do this, and I hope I never will, but just in case, I am here for you and your wedding day.
After the wedding… As you enjoy a well deserved break after your wedding and enjoy time with each other on your honeymoon, I am working on your wedding day imagery. Contrary to popular thought, digital wedding photography has actually increased the amount of time photographers spend on your images. My goal is to have the images to you as quickly as possible. The album design process starts shortly after you have your images. Another way I try to help my clients is by doing a “pre-design” for the album. This is a custom designed layout that I made for you using how I viewed your wedding. When you receive this pre-design, you can then make any changes you want. I do this for the because I found it it very difficult for my clients to choose a specific number of photos for their album. This delays the process and how quickly you get your album. With pre-designed, my “life cycle” of album design and ordering was cut in half. With you being able to change anything you want to, this doesn’t impede your ability to change whatever you like. I just find it makes it easier on you when you already have a “base” to work from instead of a blank piece of paper.
This is why I call it an “experience”… being a wedding photographer, to me, means being there to always serve my clients and their best interests.