When I first dove into being a wedding photographer, I knew there would be the expectation that I knew how to work my camera and work in a fast paced motion. I knew that I would be expected to capture all the "shots" to preserve after the big day was over. I also knew that finding my target client and getting to know them was key. But, what I did not expect was that being a wedding photographer was so much more than meeting you, having many conversations, signing a contract, and showing up ready to go. It was so much more than what any course would teach me because what I have learned, is the experiences with each couple builds a better connected photography experience, with the result of a long time friendship born.
Each wedding is a new learning opportunity that offers lessons for the next wedding, and so on. Here are 10 things I have learned from being a wedding photographer.
1. It's not just about the pictures. As wedding photographers, our goal is to deliver visual memories that capture the best and most real parts of the day, but the more weddings I have captured, the more I realized, it's not just the pictures. We are there to add to the day and help make it the best experience possible with everything we do. We are not wallflowers, and we are asked to be involved to assist. And we do it, happily.
2. We are confidants. When you contact us, we speak with you on many different occasions, and as the conversations go on, the trust builds. Inevitably, details and sweet secrets are shared with us that sometimes, the bridal parties don't even know until the day of. We are total secret keepers.
3. We are a calming voice. When things get hectic during your day, and we are in the mix of things, we can help reel it in and be that voice of reason that everything is going to be okay. Because, it is. The wedding will go on, and this will be a great day.
4. We help set the tone for the day. Arriving to meet with you right as the day begins, the nerves are sometimes high. But, with a happy, calm and confident demeanor, we definitely help those nerves subside and keep the mood positive. Plus, there's no way you can focus on nerves when you are smiling and talking about other things.
5. We are noticed. Our ultimate goal is to be invisible, and with every fiber in our being, we don't want to be seen. But, it does happen, and guests do watch us. And that's okay. They are watching us in the moments we live for, and watching us at our best to help you be at your best.
6. We are messengers. Throughout our movements during the day, we are asked to deliver messages or gifts to various members of your party. Bonus: We get to capture you receiving these gifts, and those moments make us happy.
7. We get hands on. Sometimes, in a pinch, we are asked to help tie knots, tie ties, and fluff dresses. There are those moments that we put the camera down, and help get you ready. There are those times that no one else knows how to tie a knot a certain way, or can help you balance while your bridal party is taking care of the final touches. We got you covered. And, we will photograph it.
8. We make friends with the Bridal Party. Your friends are our friends on your wedding day. We make it a point to talk with them and get to know them a little more so we can nail your shots and make the experience fun for everyone.
9. We give advice. We have been to many weddings. We know about many situations that come up during the wedding preparations, including good things. And we know how to handle them. When things get crazy, we are looked upon for advice and we can pull from previous experiences to help you improvise. There will be hiccups, but we will get through them- everyone and together!
10. We are friends. Throughout the entire course of planning your wedding, there is no way that we spend that many hours together talking, that we don't become close. And your wedding day is bittersweet for us because we are used to talking with you about planning. Now, you are a client turned friend. And we couldn't be happier.
Being your wedding photographer is so important to us. It's not something we take lightly, and you probably aren't told too often, but you teach us how to be better professionals. You are also sort of passing the torch to brides after you, because you teach us so many new and amazing things, that the camera can't, and we carry those little lessons with us. So thank you for being a teacher, a confidant, and a source of inspiration. Because you are.
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