As a wedding photographer, I shoot a lot of luxury weddings and work with incredibly talented planners and designers. They tend to have a ton going on detail wise. While this can be amazing, it can also take a lot of time to get all of the shots needed to cover all of the details. A few weeks ago, I decided to try a new system, and it worked!
I have always prepped my shot list with a little “Details of Note” section. Here I listed anything special that me and my team need to know about, whether it is decor or little details throughout. This means the list is not just the basics like “the wedding cake table”. But more like, “whiskey station”. Things that are unique to that particular wedding.
However, this last year I have had a few occasions when my team members have missed something important. And these are incredibly talented, experienced, and capable people. So I know I needed to make a change!
Frankly, some weddings have A LOT of DETAILS and sometimes it’s hard to see the woods from the trees (or this case the trees from the woods). When I recently shot a wedding with a lot of special touches, and many details from the creative bride, I knew I needed a way to fix it. I didn’t want us to miss anything she was poured her heart and soul into! These details are important to me, too my clients and to my wonderful vendor friends and colleagues.
How did I solve it? By creating a complete detail checklist. In fact, this wedding had 2 full pages of detail shots!
First, I review the planning documents that were sent over from the planner. I pulled together areas from the layouts, the rental lists, and the questionnaire.
Next, I put that all in a GoogleDoc, and reached out to the planner to review. She was able to take a look, and make sure all items were covered.
By taking the time prior to the wedding to see the layout and rentals, and confirming with the wedding planner, I am ensuring I get each and every shot. To provide the best service for my clients, I need to make sure I don’t miss a single detail. And while this isn’t something you have to do at each and every wedding, it is important to do for the detail-heavy weddings you shoot.
Everyone’s business should always be a work in progress. It’s important to always evaluate and look at ways you can tweak your systems. For more information on the coaching services I offer, visit here!
Although I have over 10 years of experience photographing weddings and have managed to see and work through every possible scenario, I still get pre-wedding anxiety. My heart races and I become a bear on the morning of a wedding! A wedding is a huge event, and no matter how many you do, there will be some stress involved. These are my top three tips to manage pre-wedding anxiety!
Pack the night before so that you’re not scrambling the day of, and forgetting something. It’s important to not wait until that morning – do it the night before! This will prevent you from forgetting something very important.
Create checklists lots of checklists! I have one for my everything I need to bring to a wedding, which includes my gear, client products such as a bridal portrait or guest book I need to bring, snacks, an extra change of clothes, styling kits, my lighting gear, EVERYTHING!
I have a checklist that I prepare seven weeks prior to the wedding day. This is my photographic timeline and shortlists that I have at every event. This includes groupings, as well as the little things that I need to remember on the wedding day – such as take a break and snack!
Arrive early. And I mean really early, like an hour early. Running late causes me so much stress! So being there early to take my time to unpack and get my head straight and look around and start slow helps reduce stress. That extra hour gives me time to really focus, get my gear ready, and go over the timeline again. It allows me to decompress before the chaos of the wedding day.
I am grateful for this stress – it’s what pushes me to do better! And it means I care and want to do the best job I can. And what I have learned over the years, the people who are at the top of their game also have this stress that pushes them to do the best they can.
I don’t want to get to the point where it’s debilitating stress. But some stress is good. It helps us to react to the pressure and perform do our best. By having some strategies in place prior to the wedding day, you will ensure that you are not overwhelmed on the day of, and can do your best work.
Sometimes life happens, and you get behind on editing. That might mean late image deliveries! I have helped photographers in this same situation, so here are some strategies! I recently was helping a client who was SIX months late delivering images. This person had gotten themself in a situation and needed to get out of it. So I was there to help him manage this crisis and wanted to share some of the tips that I shared to help him.
Set yourself up for success and add a few weeks to your promised delivery time. If you are promising photos in six weeks make that date close to 8-10 weeks. My delivery is for 12-15 weeks. This has allowed me wiggle room over the years for life’s unexpected moments and when the season gets super busy.
This year I managed to have a baby and still deliver photos within the promised timeframe because of that wiggle room. Your personal deadline should be BEFORE this buffer deadline your clients are expecting.
First, contact your client NOW with an update. Like RIGHT THIS SECOND. If you have been burying your head in the sand and avoiding contact because you are embarrassed of your tardiness – this is the time to head the problem right here right now. A personal phone call is best when it comes to late image deliveries. But, if you just can’t bring yourself to this, an email with do.
1. Say hello and put their fears at ease – when you are late delivering, clients fear that you may be lost the photos or they didn’t turn out good. Their brains can go wild with fears. Put these to rest by reassuring them the photos are safe and look beautiful.
2. Acknowledge the problem.
4. Set expectations – set a date when they will be done (and then you better deliver 2 days before that!)
5. Offer a thank you remedy for their patience. This could be prints, more album spreads, etc. This doesn’t have to be defined right now. You can even just say you are going to make sure they are taken care of.
6. Listen if they are upset, and let them know you hear them and apologize again. Listen, apologize, state how you plan to fix it …. repeat.
7. Repeat that you will be in touch on x date
Then my friend – GET TO WORK. You have got to get this done. And you have to have it done BEFORE the deadline you set.
Once they are done and delivered – you need to surprise them a special something. Send some unexpected prints to their doorstep or offer to send prints to the parents. One or two portraits and the family photo usually does the job. Something that can be in their hands super quick.
From here on out… you respond to every email within the same day – immediately if possible. And you go above and beyond in your customer service experience. If they ordered an album – get the design done ASAP. Or offer print credit or discount code. You are on damage control but it’s possible to bring this situation back around and having your clients love you and their experience.