Where do you start first when running a business so heavily focused on people?
In my very personal opinion – if you are a wedding photographer, you need to like working with people. A lot of different people. I’m not just talking about your couples – you’ll be working with their family and their friends – the people they value the most. If you didn’t know photographing someones wedding day is not about you or I. It’s about them. All about them.
Next week I’m going to do post on posing because it’s where we all fluster a little bit, even the ones that have been shooting for years. But today I just want to touch on working with people. Some people are naturally better at this than others, but we can all improve on it. One of the best books to read is How to win friends and influence people. It’s a classic and pretty much a must read for anyone starting in business. As wedding photographers I think that is what our businesses are all about. So how do we do it?
- Be thoughtful : Remember this isn’t your day. This is theirs, you are there to capture it in your signature style. But, at the same time, think ahead for them – can you help make little parts of the day easier? Be flexible when things don’t go like you planned – because they won’t always. Be friendly with people -interact – talk – it’s a social event 😉 Be conscious of timings. Yes, they want pictures – but they also want time with their family and friends.
2. Smile: Wedding days behind the scenes can be pressure cookers, but really guests don’t care. They are having a great time. So even if your running of the day is running to an inch of it’s life, keep smiling because that’s what people remember.
3. Make them feel good : People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. This is probably one of the best things you can take with you to a wedding day. Compliment your couples in an genuine way. This is their day that have been planning for such a long time, so take time to get excited with them. Enjoy what they have planned and take some time to appreciate the day as they will see it.
4. Spoil them : People love gifts , surprises and just to be thought of. You may not be able to afford the earth but a little print of a gorgeous picture of them after the day in my opinion goes a long way. People normally get bills but through the post, so let some snail mail happy pos drop through their door instead.
5. Be reliable. Be considerate of your couples time. They will be working just like everyone else, so reply as quickly as you can. Keep them informed each step of the way. This is probably the first time they will have used a professional photographer, so take the lead and try and pre empt any questions rather than just waiting for them to ask.
There are a trillion ways to work with people and other people will have better ways than me. But these are just a few ways to make the experience they have with you a brilliant one!