As a bride when you browse wedding photographers websites you look at style, poses, personality, but do you know that probably the most important quality in a wedding photographer is his ability to manage time? As a Tampa wedding Photographer now for over 20 years, I continue to realize that time is so critical on a wedding, and the more time that is wasted, the less pictures will be taken, and the less variety of backgrounds you will be able to get pictures in front of. This will be a two-part blog; this week I will discuss, the photographers responsibility of managing time, and the next week, I’ll discuss what a bride can do in regards to time to benefit her own wedding photos.
It does not matter how good the poses look on a photographers website or on Pinterest, if he or she cannot move and pose people quickly, because there will never be time to re-create those poses. I have a unique advantage in that I regularly work with other wedding photographers in Tampa, being that I personally am a videographer on weddings most of the time. I see over and over, other photographers waste time and as a result the less pictures taken, the less locations you are able to take the bride and groom. A good wedding photographer must be able to move people quickly, of coarse in a friendly manner, and pose them, ensure his camera settings are right, all while maintaining a connection with his subjects. It takes a special personality and multi-tasking skill. We have had high-end photographers in other fields (Landscape, Real Estate, Corporate) wanting to join our team, and what they do not realize is; that weddings is all about time. The wedding day is not all about the photography. Unlike the engagement shoot, on the wedding day there are other variables. The venue has the food ready for a certain time, the DJ wants to get things started on time, most brides do not want their guests to be waiting for an excessive amount of time, so as a result a photographer must be able to move quickly. On the positive side, I have also worked with some of Tampa’s Best photographers, Carrie Wildes, Phillip Lloyed, Richard Harrell, just so you know that, this is not a self-serving blog to only boast about our own people, but we admire good photographers who make good use of time, even when it’s not one of our own photographers. When a photographer is efficient with his or her time, it not only helps the photography but also helps the video. I was shooting with one of the above mentioned Tampa photographers a few weeks ago, and we had a great rhythm going, because he was moving the bride along, getting a great variety of shots, and I was just loving it as the videographer, it was like working with one of our own photographers.
One of the ways a photographer will waste time is with questions to the bride. We train our photographers to limit the amount of questions on the wedding day. The time for questions is when they call the bride days before the wedding day. I’ve seen photographer ask brides during the formals “do you want this? do you want that?, every 2 minutes, enough to make a bride crazy. A well-meaning bridesmaid will then give her opinion, and before you know it you have a little mini conference, about something that should have been decided before the wedding day and 5 minutes have been wasted. Thats 5 minutes less time for portraits, shots you would of had enjoyed in your wedding album but shots you will never see. A photographer has to be a leader and be in control and limit the interruptions as much as possible. The more time spent with talking, the less pictures that will be able to be taken. There are times for questions such is when we’ve finish one side of the family, we will ask “is there anyone else you want?”, however we do want to limit the questions to the bride.
A wedding photographer must be able to prioritize. I have been on weddings where the sun is starting to set and the photographer is doing family shots. Recently I was working with a wedding photographer in Clearwater, and he was doing family shots as the sun was setting. I want to shout out, “are you crazy”. There was one point where he was adjusting his camera and bride and groom were standing there, so moved the family aside and did a pose with the bride and groom with the setting sun. When the sun is setting you have to be doing Bride and Groom pictures. One of our photographers in Tampa once said, in regards to family shots “you just document that they were there”. The background is not as important, so there shouldn’t be much time wasted in deciding where to shoot. We have a saying “the bread and butter is with the bride and groom shots”, those are the pictures that will be enlarged later on, so that has to be the priority. I was shooting video on a wedding at Lange Farm a couple of years ago, and while the sun was going down, and it gets dark there quick because it is surrounded by trees, the photographer was taking his time with family shots, showing the pictures to the bride and groom, and meanwhile I was noticing the sun setting, peaking through the moss on the oak trees, and I though, “this is sad”. This day for this bride will never happen again, and she’s paid a lot of money for this beautiful venue, only to have to photographer not take advantage of it.
When you are looking at booking a photographer, look at how organize he or she is. Notice the Photographers energy level. Is the photographer in shape? A photographers physical condition will affect how quick he is able to move, especially here in Tampa in warm months, a photographer has to be in shape to be able move around quick and deal with the heat. Now that we have covered the responsiblity of a photographer using time, next week I will discuss how a bride can aid or negatively affect her wedding photos in regards to her use of time. We hope this blog has been helpful and as always whether you are a Tampa Photographer or a bride we welcome your comments.