by Brian C Idocks
I read a lot. A lot on the internet about my industry. I see other's experiences, and sometimes I can relate, sometimes I wonder if we work in the same industry. Over the years, I've found quite a few things that I would have assumed people knew, but... they don't, for whatever reason. So, I compiled a list, and, since it's me, I made a few jokes along the way too.
1) We work weekends. It amazes me how many times we will get a call on Saturday or Sunday and people (usually potential clients) ask for us to call them back ASAP. Well, sorry, but that call won't be returned until the weekday. Chances are, we're at a wedding! I simply won't return calls while we're at a wedding.
2) Pinterest is not really all that good for your wedding plans. I can feel the rotten fruit being tossed already, but, it's the truth. So much of what you see on Pinterest is fake. Fake? Yes, it's from staged events or "Stylized Shoots". What are they? They are planned out, staged, fake weddings just to create images for portfolios or for vendors to show off with. They are so far removed from a real wedding that they create false ideas of what can be accomplished at a typical wedding. Yes, let me have 10 hours, professional models, the perfect location at the perfect time of day, no guests, and the absolutely most perfect props and I can produce better than what you see there, but... is your wedding going to be like that?
3) If you don't have a date yet, I can't really help you... yet. Simple really. You have to have a venue booked to secure a date, otherwise, your date can change, no matter how much you think you are getting married on that day... if you can't book a venue, you will have to change it. I really don't want you to hire me then have to change your date. What if I'm not available on the "new" date? Ugliness ensues, and... I don't want that any more than you do!
4) The Bride and Groom are my clients. This is a bone of contention for some people, but... it's the way we do things. What does this mean? Well, I know parents pay for or help pay for a lot of things for weddings, but... if their ideas of what you want differ from what you and I spoke about, I do what you say to do. I don't care who paid the bill, as... someone had to, but that hardly makes them the boss of me for the day. For example, what if (insert random loved one here) paid for your wedding photography? Does that mean they get to tell you how it should be done? They get the images? They get the right to tell me what family or friends get photographed? You see where this is going, right? We keep it simple and that way the two people who the day is really, really about get what they want from the photography. Sure, we try to make everyone happy, but... sometimes? Ehh, gotta just do what's right.
5) We don't hold images back. This comes up now and then. Sure, we take duplicates of a lot of images. Then, like any good professional, we cull those down so you don't get 20 shots of the EXACT SAME THING. We of course give only the best ones. We also ditch images throughout the day that don't live up to our standards, such as... obscenity, embarrassing moments (well, depends), bad facial gestures, basically, here's the gist: You get all the images worth giving and worth having. No, we won't go back and show you all our mistakes, err, the cast outs. They are deleted pretty quickly in all honesty, no one needs to see our mistakes.
6) We don't do Video. I know, common sense, right? But no, it's not. This is probably the #1 question we get. The sad part is... I know when I say no, we just lost the client. I think this is a bad thing. If I did Video and Photography, which do I do best? Being a great photographer is a lifelong pursuit, not something you "pick up" in a month or two. Video is similar in that respect, but that's the only way they are similar! They are different mediums, requiring different skills and different tools. It's like going to a Podiatrist and asking if they do Dental too. Sure, they're both doctors, but... not the same. When planning a wedding, hire specialists in each field, that way you get the best of the best. I don't dilute my skills by doing other things, we just do one thing the best we possibly can.
7) We are people too, and this is how we make a living. I'll say it, being a Wedding Photographer is a pretty thankless job in reality. Sure, sometimes people go out of their way to thank us, we often receive tips, and it's all VERY appreciated. That said, we need to eat too, and drink water, since... it's hot in Florida. So many of our clients really take care of us, but every once in a while, we feel... forgotten. Also, we really do this for a living. If you love what we did, tell the world. If you love your images and want to share them on social media? Go for it! But, if you could, please mention who did them for you? I don't need watermarks and logos everywhere, but, a simple "photos by Brian C Idocks Photographics" and maybe a link to our page would be nice. So many times we see great customers that loved us showing hundreds of images and no mention of us at all. Why should you care? Well, our marketing involves referrals and Google. If forced to, we will pay for advertising, but that just raises everyone's costs, and at the end of the day, it affects what you pay! So, keep it cheap and spread the word. If you really want to do us a favor, go to Weddingwire, or Google and leave us a great review too!
8) Read. Yup, just read. Read our words on our website, read our contracts. We go out of our way big time to give as much information as possible. So many times we get questions like, "What is your pricing?", yet... it's right there on our site. We test all our systems, all our instructions, and adjust them constantly to give the best customer experience we can. But... it's depressing to send out instructions for say, downloading a gallery, only to get an angry email back like, "Hey, where's my pictures? I should have them by now!". It happens, but, if they read the email that I know they received (since they replied to it!), it would have been avoided. Trust me, we didn't stay in business since 1984 by NOT delivering on promises. If somehow we really did miss something? Oh, hells yeah, we will make it right. Then again, if you read that, you're probably not the people we're talking about!
9) Keep an open mind. Once you hire us, let us do our thing. After all, you did the research and we won the competition, right? That means... you chose us. There's likely a good reason for that. If you loved our work, and can deal with me for more than 15 minutes straight, yeah... we can work together. Just relax and let us do our thing. Trust me, we do this all the time. Sure, there might be a few awkward moments (for me too!) and you might not be too sure about some of the posing or whatnot, but... there's a reason for it all, and sometimes it's just to loosen you up! Others, it's to get a specific reaction, or look, or to see what works best for you! There's more to photography than clicking a button. Actually, Wedding Photography is 90% people skills. Love that really dramatic, romantic photo you saw on our website? Yeah, that didn't just "happen" on it's own, nope, we crafted that, using our experience, knowledge, knowledge of the client, and a zillion other little things. That's what being a professional is about!
10) Cocktail hour is for photography. Trust me on this. Yeah, I know, you want to spend time with your friend and family. Umm, that's why you're having a RECEPTION. Small factoid: Before wedding photography was popular, there were no cocktail hours, people went right to the reception. Cocktail Hours were LITERALLY invented to give your guests something to do (eat and drink and be merry!) while you get your photos taken. We do family, bridal party, and couple's photos in that hour. We don't run over, we actually pride ourselves on keeping your day on schedule. No, you really don't want to do family photos before the ceremony, trust me, someone will be late and we have to do them afterward anyway. We have a system, tried and proven over 30+ years that works, and keeps it moving quickly. This is why you hire us, we know what we're doing. Weddings are complex, no need to make them even more complicated. Just do your photos during cocktail hour and all will be well.
There you have it... my "Top 10 List", just a fraction of them really... and maybe I'll write more eventually. Hope some of this helps and makes sense.
In the meantime, enjoy planning your wedding, whether you hired us or not, but if you didn't.... Awwwww, just think of what you're missing!
If there's something I missed (and I probably did), there's a simple thing you can do to rectify that situation:
ASK ME! Yeah, pretty simple. firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-885-8855.