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Reluctant Bride
  
 
Boss302
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Reluctant Bride


Was asked by an good acquaintance to do his informal, afternoon wedding (older widower, second wedding). I Said yes and did all the communication through him - as he was the original contact and we know each other. Couple of emails outlining basics of what they wanted, family groups involved and so on. When he replied with the answers he indicated that the bride was very tense/nervous and didn't enjoy being photographed and jokingly wished me luck.

He wasn't joking.

As the church was right down the road I attended rehearsal and did candid shots. At this time I introduced myself to the bride and reviewed the list of what the groom had sent and asked if she had thought of anything else she may want. Little to no response. As a matter of fact - one off handed comment from her was along the lines of "...was doing fine til you showed up..." Hmmm? What to do? I did reassure her I would take care of her and work to keep her in her comfort zone - no magic promises. Her wedding day response wasn't much better.

As the wedding was very informal - we did standard outlined wedding shots, family groups, etc. but when it came to her before the ceremony - I felt like doing prep photos was only going to add to her nervous/anxiety emotions. So When she was ready we did 6 - 8 photos, natural window light, same location/basic pose with changes only in where she was looking and slight expressions. Done.

Walking down the aisle she never fully looked towards the camera's direction. She was better during recessional and the traditional cake/toast couple images during & after the reception. She seemed more relaxed after the reception and we did get a couple nice sets of photos - she actually smiled. Overall we got through it.

Hopefully something like this won't happen again - but would like some input on how some fellow FMers would work with a bride such as this.

Comments? Ideas?




Jul 25, 2017 at 03:13 AM
gnjphotography
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Reluctant Bride


This is the purpose of engagement shoots. Get the couple comfortable with the photographer and for you to get a feel for their style and the direction to go for the wedding.
Sorry, but you should have met with the bride prior to rehearsal. Not meeting you until the wedding day can create more tension on an already stressful day.
Even if they do not ask for the engagement shoot, throw it in as an extra. It will help you in the long run. Allows you all to get a feel for how each other work and it also makes them feel like they are getting something extra.

-Greg



Jul 25, 2017 at 04:01 AM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Reluctant Bride


Some clients want a wedding, not a photo shoot. I actually prefer those.


Jul 25, 2017 at 05:17 AM
glort
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Reluctant Bride



Not every job is going to be dished up on a plate. It's the harder jobs where you earn your money and really learn and develop your skills.

This isn't Fashion Photography where you get to chose the model, location, outfits, time of day etc and give yourself a head start. You work with what you have and make the best of it. Sometimes they aren't ideal. Makes no difference to the couple, still thier big day.

I have had heaps of couples like this. Sometimes the brides are nervous and sometimes it's the groom and frequently the ones that weren't so over the top about pics on the day are the ones that love them the most afterwards.

You do your best with what you have to work with and that's it.



Jul 25, 2017 at 07:32 AM
mikethevilla
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Reluctant Bride


This is exactly why many of us are "wedding photographers", not just "photographers". Composition, lighting, flattering angles, portraiture, photojournalism... All of that is by far the easiest part of my job. The difficult side of wedding photography is what happens beyond the camera. It's about entertaining the groom who thinks wedding photos are bull***, creating photos that are meaningful to the bride but still fulfilling artistically, ensuring that all of the vendors get incredible photos of their various contributions to the wedding, managing uncle Bob and his 1DX in the middle of the aisle, and making a group of half-naked girls feel at ease when you're the only guy in the room.

Needless to say, those sorts of things take just as much practice as the photography side of wedding photography.

If you went into the day having not met the couple before (which it sounds like you did), why would they have any reason to trust you? We almost ALWAYS instinctually distrust those who we've paid or will pay for services until they give us reason not to. You'd be foolish to walk into a car dealership, bank, travel agent, etc... and not have your guard up. The same is often true with wedding photography (and I'd imagine, most wedding vendors).

Even as a wedding photographer, when it came time for my own engagement session, I felt super uncomfortable. I knew my photographer did great work, but the way he worked with us was very different than I was used to - and this is from someone who has shot hundreds of weddings! Can you imagine the experience of someone who's never experienced professional wedding photography before?

I always tell my clients that the first 20 minutes in front of the camera are terrible, no matter what. It's the awkward first date. Trust comes after you prove yourself to them - after you build a rapport. In person client meetings, engagement shoots, and even just showing them the back of the camera are all ways to start to build that trust.

Something to think about: the most successful wedding photographers in the world are almost never the best photographers (although they are the best WEDDING photographers). They aren't the best because of their photos. They're the best because of how they make their clients feel and how they communicate with people.



Jul 25, 2017 at 08:43 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Reluctant Bride


Just do the best you can. They are responsible for the outcome too so don't tie yourself up in knots over it.


Jul 25, 2017 at 10:21 AM
InSanE
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Reluctant Bride


Boss302 wrote:
Hopefully something like this won't happen again - but would like some input on how some fellow FMers would work with a bride such as this.

Comments? Ideas?


Just do your best and fuck all the rest. No time for complex psychiatry.



Jul 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Reluctant Bride


InSanE wrote:
Just do your best and fuck all the rest. No time for complex psychiatry.


Also, don't get overly attached to the outcomes of work you do for money. I doubt you want more people like this via WoM anyway.



Jul 25, 2017 at 11:22 AM
ZachOly
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Reluctant Bride


Mark_L wrote:
Just do the best you can. They are responsible for the outcome too so don't tie yourself up in knots over it.


Exactly.

It's easy to say "just make the clients comfortable", but some clients simply have a lot of baggage which may or may not have anything to do with you and your photos.

Expecting a wedding photographer, who at the end of the day is just another wedding vendor regardless of your overly emotional FB post, to also be your best friend, comedian, personal motivator and physiatrist is stretching it.



Jul 25, 2017 at 11:56 AM
jmraso
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Reluctant Bride


I offer it as an extra !

ZachOly wrote:
, to also be your best friend, comedian, personal motivator and physiatrist is stretching it.





Jul 25, 2017 at 12:36 PM
 

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MikeMancil
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Reluctant Bride


Well, no one will ever say your shots aren't natural because anyone with the introverted personality you described will certainly be that way daily also. Years from now the grandchildren will pull out the wedding album (probably at it's first viewing) and say, "Yep, that was Grandma". So, go with the hand your dealt, the next hand is always the winner .... Mike


Jul 25, 2017 at 02:32 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Reluctant Bride


I kinda wonder why people like this hire a photog in the first place


Jul 25, 2017 at 03:10 PM
mikethevilla
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Reluctant Bride


Mark_L wrote:
Just do the best you can. They are responsible for the outcome too so don't tie yourself up in knots over it.


I would hope that you "tie yourself up in knots over it". Just do what you think is best and then don't care how the client feels about it? This doesn't seem like the best advice.



Jul 25, 2017 at 03:20 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Reluctant Bride


mikethevilla wrote:
I would hope that you "tie yourself up in knots over it". Just do what you think is best and then don't care how the client feels about it? This doesn't seem like the best advice.


No I wouldn't, I understand what is the client's issue(s) and what are mine. They have a part to play and some responsibility for the final product.

I'm not from the school of 'bend over backwards and try to please neurotic clients at all costs' like many wedding photogs though. Imo if you try and engage with people's psych issues you'll drive yourself crazy.



Jul 25, 2017 at 03:25 PM
mikethevilla
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Reluctant Bride


Mark_L wrote:
Imo if you try and engage with people's psych issues you'll drive yourself crazy.


Again, in my mind, this is what makes the most successful wedding photographers the most successful wedding photographers. But I will concede that it isn't an easy thing to do.



Jul 25, 2017 at 03:53 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Reluctant Bride


mikethevilla wrote:
Again, in my mind, this is what makes the most successful wedding photographers the most successful wedding photographers. But I will concede that it isn't an easy thing to do.


I guess what I'm trying to say is in this instance OP may be fighting a losing battle



Jul 25, 2017 at 04:54 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Reluctant Bride


Many people have terrible photos taken while in school or family snapshots or the DMV photo on their driver's license. Some have terrible pictures taken by a for hire wedding photographer as well.

Any pre wedding shoot where you can casually work with a couple and show them the pictures as you are taking them will greatly reduce any anxiety on their part (guys are often as nervous as the women only less vocal about it).

I like this time with a couple as they seldom know how to stand or sit together for their picture. Couples will stand toe to toe and make a large A that looks very awkward when one of them should put a foot or two between the feet of the other person which is what they would do if I was not there taking pictures of them. I am not so much posing them as getting them comfortable being together having their picture taken.

I big benefit of this first session is that I will learn which of them may have a lazy eye and which eye it is. This is much more common than most photographers realize. I notice now even with actors in movies as I have learned to spot it. When the day of the wedding arrives the B&G are going to be very tired, especially the bride, and any lazy eye tendency will be much more evident as a result.

A great gift for a friend is a guest book that you create with a few images from such a session. It makes it more personal and they are not difficult to do and not expensive to have printed.



Jul 25, 2017 at 05:39 PM
Boss302
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Reluctant Bride


gnjphotography wrote:
This is the purpose of engagement shoots. Get the couple comfortable with the photographer and for you to get a feel for their style and the direction to go for the wedding.
Sorry, but you should have met with the bride prior to rehearsal. Not meeting you until the wedding day can create more tension on an already stressful day.
Even if they do not ask for the engagement shoot, throw it in as an extra. It will help you in the long run. Allows you all to get a feel for how each other work and it also makes them feel
...Show more

Yes - you are correct - I should have insisted we meet up before that time - as it was an "informal" affair and the groom is so very easy going (known him for quite awhile) I wrongly "assumed" there wouldn't be an issue...won't do that again.



Jul 25, 2017 at 05:57 PM
rw11
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Reluctant Bride


a couple jugs of cheap white wine (re-bottled into more expensive French bottles) can be added to your "difficult bride" auxiliary kit


Jul 25, 2017 at 06:47 PM
Elijah
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Reluctant Bride


I actually like these types of weddings.
During my meets with clients, I always tell them "I document moments during YOUR wedding day, not try to make a photoshoot out of it"
Then I go into telling them that I will need to get a few normal portrait shots of them at some point.
The rest of the wedding? just go with the flow.

Unfortunately, half of my slavic weddings EXPECT me to literally lead most of the wedding... "tell us what to do, what's next, where do we go, do we need this do we need that..."

HATE those kind of weddings.



Jul 25, 2017 at 08:41 PM







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