1. Pinterest examples and being asked to copy specific poses makes me cringe.
Your wedding photographer never wants to be put in a box! More than that, wouldn’t you love the photos at your engagement session and wedding to be beautifully unique? Besides the fact that copying an exact photo is nearly impossible due to elements beyond our control, I hope that you hire your wedding photographer for their unique talent and artistic vision! Not their ability to copy what someone else has already done. I pour SO much of myself into every wedding I shoot and every single photograph taken, and your experience and images will be so much better if you trust me to do my job! So, pick the right photographer for you and ditch all those Pinterest boards and shot lists.

2. It makes me sad when you hire someone to document your wedding day based on budget alone.
I get that most every bride is working with a budget. I totally do. Unless you’re marrying someone in the NFL or related to the queen of England, chances are, you’re working with a tight budget! However, I’ve seen so many couples choose someone to capture the most important day of their lives based on budget alone, and have regretted it ever since! After the flowers are wilted, the cake is gone and the candles are melted, what do you have left? Your memories and the photos. I hope that you would take the time to get to know someone who will potentially be capturing those precious memories you will have forever! Looking back, I think you’ll be glad you chose someone who’s a great fit for you instead of that $200 Craigslist deal!

3. I get SO nervous before your engagement session + wedding!
Anxiety issues aside, you’re not the only ones who get nervous before your session and wedding day! Sometimes, I get even MORE nervous before a wedding than I did at my own wedding day! Mainly because I care SO MUCH about your experience and wedding photos. I realize that not everything goes perfectly according to plan on a wedding day, but I work my hardest to make sure everything goes as perfectly as possible!

4. I’m devastated when you put Instagram filters on my images or don’t credit me while sharing on social media.
Sometimes, I’ll spend an HOUR on a SINGLE image in order to make sure it’s perfect!! I will meticulously color correct your images if need be, so they look as beautiful as possible when I deliver them to you! When I see that you’ve put an Instagram filter on one of those images, it makes my stomach drop a little! As a wedding photographer, I pour so much of myself into every image I deliver and I hope that’s always reflected in my images! And word of mouth is a photographer’s LIFEBLOOD. It’s how we pay our mortgages and buy groceries. When you give us credit for our images on social media, we do a grateful happy dance inside!

5. I want you to do a first look!
And not for selfish reasons. I want you to do a first look for YOU. A lot of brides want the first time their groom sees them to be while they’re walking down the aisle, which I completely understand. I wanted that too when I got married, until I realized how beautiful and special the moment could be with just the two of us. There’s NO distractions of an audience and music when you do a first look. It’s just you, your sweetheart, and me hiding in a bush somewhere to capture it all. We’re able to get SO much better photos of your reaction to seeing each other for the first time when you do a first look and I LOVE being able to give those photos to a couple after their wedding day!

6 I love when you have an unplugged ceremony and tell your guests to put away their phones + iPads. 
This is so so important! Having uncle Bob step out in front of me in the isle to snap a poor quality iPad photo is not only frustrating to myself, but I’m frustrated FOR you! When I miss a moment due to a guest with an iPhone, it breaks my heart for you. You hired us to capture your wedding day beautifully, so why not kindly ask your guests to put away their phones and cameras, so they can enjoy the ceremony and let me document all those beautiful moments!

7. I want your ceremony AND reception to be outdoors. 
Yep. There’s nothing like photographing in natural light. The way it flatters skin tones and gleams across reception details is unmatched by yucky artificial light. Nothing makes me happier than when a couple chooses to have their ceremony and reception outdoors!

8. I don’t want you to look at me.
No seriously. During your engagement session and bride and groom portraits, I don’t want you to look at me! Unless I tell you to. The goal is to get you to interact with each other and share some beautiful moments together! I’m just there to capture it all. Of course, I’ll give you some cues and help you out along the way. But for the most part, just try to forget I’m there, and you’ll love your images!

9. The more you trust me, the better your images will be (and yes, your dress will get dirty). 
Fact. My favorite words a couple can say to me, are “we’re up for anything!” Those are the couples who get crazy beautiful images. We try things that seem nuts to them at first, but they trust me anyway, and are blown away with the results! This includes the time of day you get married, and how much time you give me for photos of the two of you. Lighting is EVERYTHING for photos. Yes, your dress will likely get dirty and you might think I’m crazy, but I don’t think you’ll regret it once you see your photos! The more freedom you give me to be creative, the better your wedding photos will be. Truth.

10. I’m not God.
Nope! I hope you already knew this. But I’ll say it again, I’m not God. I don’t control the weather, or the lighting. That’s up to the man upstairs. If it rains, I’ll roll with it! Shooting in the rain is less scary than it seems and we can still get some beautiful photos. But don’t expect me to have a tent and umbrellas for 300 people in my camera bag. That’s just silly.

11. If you see me sitting down for a second, don’t assume I’m lazy!
I love love love my job more than anything, but photographing weddings is exhausting! In between the events of the day, I’ll take a quick breather to check my equipment, change a lens, or grab some water. I’m not looking through Facebook or taking a Buzzfeed quiz, promise… I’m resetting for a moment so I can keep photographing your beautiful day!

12 I CRAVE your feedback!
After months (sometimes years), of chatting with you about your day, coffee dates, going over timelines, shooting your engagement, spending time with you on your wedding day, pouring into your images for weeks and sending them off, I’m always waiting on pins and needles to hear what you think!! SO much of myself goes into the final delivery of your images and I CANNOT wait to hear what you think! You being overjoyed with your images is just as important to you as it is to me, and my heart is always so full when I get excited texts or calls from my brides!

13 I’ll cry at your wedding.
Every. Time. While I try to avoid ugly Kim Kardashian crying while you’re sharing your first look or during an emotional daddy-daughter dance, I’m secretly wiping tears away and hiding my Kim face behind my camera. After getting to know you and your family and sharing in all the preparation for you big day, I can’t help but tear up with happiness when capturing those beautiful moments! Cheers!

XX Kristen

Kristen Kaiser is a central Illinois (Peoria) based engagement, elopement and wedding photographer specializing in authentic, intimate imagery for adventurous couples who are wildly in love. Based in the midwest, travels often.

 

 

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16 COMMENTS
Celia Carroll

Hi Kristen!

I found this post on a random scroll through a photographer’s group on FB and had to see if we shared the same thoughts – and largely, we do:
1) A part of me DIES when a client uses a social media filter on their photos, so I added a contract portion that finds them in violation of the contract if found doing so — I even went so far as to add a portion that they are responsible if they share the photos and a party they shared it with is found in violation (helps to have a lawyer husband haha!). I also communicate upfront and at the delivery of the photos and explain why I ask them not to and instead say they can send editing feedback to me if they want something a different way… I’ve had almost no problems since then, don’t be afraid to protect your work and your brand!
2) I am a nervous WRECK before every shoot… headshots to weddings, I get twisty stomach knots and literally quadruple check all my gear/timelines/email conversations/etc. so everything goes as smooth as possible! And then of course I get there and everything goes fine and I feel like a weirdo.
3) I get so nervous to take a potty break or check my phone or sit down or get water EVERY time I’m shooting a wedding… I’m always such a worry wort and basically ask the bride/mother of the bride/some major person in the wedding if they mind… and of course they’re always like OMG, are you kidding, take care of yourself! I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be "on" and busting butt the whole time and forget the B+G and their families want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a good time – even us workin’ folk! 😉
4) #UNPLUGGED, yessss…. I HATE going to IG or FB and following the wedding hashtag and seeing all the either a) crummy photos blown up before the couple is even frickin’ announced, OR b) people taking photos over my shoulder of various posed/styled moments and posting them right away. Ew.
5) Only thing I have to disagree with is the outdoor thing because, well, I’m in the DEEP south and sometimes the heat + humidity + bugs get really bad… ha!
6) And agree-but-have-made-peace-with about the first look. I’ve always given impartial pros/cons to my couples, but overall I let them go with their gut – I know it’s nice for us to have lots of pretty B+G photos, but honestly if my couple is adamant waiting until the ceremony, I try to guide them on what to expect (i.e., we may not have time for lots of portraits). Most of them listen and make timeline tweaks to hopefully make it all work, and that’s really our job — to capture their day as best as we can based on what they want. At the end of the day it’s THEIR day, and sometimes we have to say "OK!" and go for it. (Same can kind of be said for the dress getting dirty – if they say no, we respect it and use our creative brains to come up with something else!)

Either way, totally was there with you!

Preach it sister!!! ??????

Candis

This is all well and good, but weddings aren’t all about the pictures, and remember, it’s not all about you

Kristen Kaiser

Oh, of course not!! That’s precisely why I wrote this. 🙂 It’s all about creating trust between myself and my clients! I want their images and experience to be just as beautiful as they do, so that’s why I try to educate brides on the importance of lightening and planning other elements of their day. 🙂 Thanks, Candis!

sergio mottola

Thanks for writing this, I agree with all of them!

So glad to see this post getting the attention it deserves! I wish every wedding client would read this!

Brianna Rannells

This is soooo perfect!!!! Love!

Paul

All true. I’ve always hated the budget one and agree that finding out you hired the wrong person after the fact can be hard.

Shane Coker

Really great post Kristen! As I’m still in my early days of shooting weddings I can already see where most of these come into play. I whole-heartedly agree on everything you stated. Really great stuff! 🙂

Kristen Kaiser

Hey, Shane! Thanks so much for checking the post out! So glad you found it helpful. Sounds like you’re in an exciting time in your career. Good luck this fall!

Eda

My daughter is a professional portrait photographer and I see what goes into a PERFECT MOMENT! Every single word written is TRUTH! This profession is nothing short of a LABOR OF LOVE ♡ Great post.!

Edrian

Hi there! I very much loved your article, except for the part about having an outdoor ceremony. Being both a wedding photographer and a videographer myself, it is the worst dealing with audio as a videographer unless if they are mic’d up.

Jill love

Excellent article. I no longer photograph weddings but can so deeply appreciate your words. Thank you.

Lisa Lucas

Brilliant post!!! As a photographer I couldn’t agree with you more on all your points.. Every bride and groom should read this blog xx

Natasha Huisman

These are all so good. I am first a family photographer and dont do as many weddings but how I wish all the ones I shoot were outside and that more couples would be up for anything!! I’ve had brides refuse to even sit down because of fear of getting their dress dirty 🙁 Thanks for this and I hope more couples see this beforehand!!

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