This is a guest post by Washington, D.C. photographer Sunny Mathur, of Photographick Studios.
Every wedding photographer dreams of the day when all their clients will completely and honestly open up to them, let their guard down and let their emotions flow; tears and all. Every wedding photographer is looking for the magic phrase that will allow this to happen; it’s a novel concept that seldom comes to fruition without some assistance and hard work (sorry no
From a client’s perspective it is difficult to open up to a stranger. It is even more difficult to tell this stranger intimate details about you, including how you met, proposed and details about your partner. Put yourself in their shoes, it’s already awkward to pose for pictures but intimate
pictures is a completely different story. Although this cannot be a direct correlation to our job as wedding photographers it does provide some insight into some clients perceived “stiffness.” To gain this all access pass into the lives of our clients we must earn it. This all access pass well worth its cost.
One solution that we particularly enjoy due to the financial reward as well as the emotional connection we build with our clients is to meet them before the wedding during an engagement session. We ask the couple to think of a location that is particularly important in their relationship, whether the location of their first date, where the groom proposed or simply somewhere they both love going. This allows your client to associate those great memories to their engagement session and thus their feelings towards you, the photographer. We ask them to reminisce about the location and more times than not the future bride will glow and recount all her favorite memories.
The groom will chime in with a few of their own and before long they are talking, laughing, smiling and kissing. This allows us to do three items all at once; befriend our clients, show them our value by taking some amazing pictures and prove to them that they can trust you.
At each engagement session we probe about their wedding preparations, ask them if they need assistance, provide vendor recommendations, bring up current wedding trends and past wedding ideas. We try to connect with the bride and groom to show them we are truly invested in the success of their day and the images captured. We work hard to build a strong rapport with our clients. Through this not so magical formula we build their friendship, their trust and after we blog a few of their images from their engagement session we gain their love. Through this connection, this memory and their understanding of our dedications towards them, we are no longer looked at as a vendor but as a friend who can share in their emotions, their love and perfectly capture their perfect day; tears and all.
Resource Tip From Seshu: If you are ever stuck for ideas on how to pose your couples, reach for the Design Aglow’s Inspire Me Cards: Modern Engagement Posing Guide. Those should fuel your imagination!
Jigar Champaneria says
Agree with the points in this article. A portrait session not only provides the couple with wonderfully personal photos, but it really helps the couple of the photographer build a rapport. In my experience, that rapport allows immediate “pick up” of the relationship when the wedding events start which goes above and beyond what could be developed during office/phone/email meetings.