Be my friend!
Let’s start with a couple of fairly fundamental questions: are you more comfortable around your friends than people you don’t know? Do you feel more relaxed and more yourself in the company of people you’re used to than complete strangers?
If you answered YES to both, then you are the same as approx 90% of the population: it is only natural to be able to be yourself with people that you know well, and trust implicitly. It’s also normal human nature to be a bit reserved and maybe hold back a bit with people you don’t know.
This is why I am very clear from the start, I want to be your friend, as well as your photographer. I AM NOT a photographer that will take your booking, not speak to you again before the big day and rock up blind. For me to do my job properly, give you photographic and photofilm memories that last forever I NEED to know you, how you work as a couple, the little body language tells between you and most importantly find out how you react to having a camera with you.
A wedding day is frantically busy: everyone will tell you how quickly it goes. But I want you to spend plenty of time with your friends and family not just with me. I’ll often tell you to take a break, have a drink together, spend time with Nan or similar: it’s BECAUSE I know you that I’ll know when you’re ready for a break, and most importantly know precisely how long it will take to do the photos you want with as little fuss as possible.
This is also why we ALWAYS do an engagement shoot: yup you get some lovely photos but the photos are an added bonus not the reason I do it! The reason is to see you being yourselves in my presence, work out how best to let you be yourselves, know what little things I can do on the big day to make it as easy and fun as possible. It’s also for you to get to know me: what I’m like, how I do what I do and most importantly reassure you that we will be having a LOT of fun together!
We will also, as long as you’d like to, meet up regularly in the time between us starting talking and the big day. We will almost certainly visit the venue together so I can give you some ideas about what will work, where the sun will set and so on. Often we’ll also catch up for a cuppa or a beer: sometimes it’ll be dinner. The point here is that we’re not strangers, but friends.
This also extends to your children (if you have them of course): the last thing I would ever want is your little ones being scared of the BFG taking photos! This is why I take the time to get to know them well in advance so they know me, trust me and are super comfortable around me. It’s far from uncommon that they like being my little helper for the day: basically you’re getting a photographer and a babysitter!
One story key explains this better than just words: one wedding the couple had three little ones. They were 13, 5 and 3. The 13 and 5 year olds were fine with me from day 1, as cuddly and friendly as I could dream for. The 3 year old on the other hand was a very shy little lady: not just me but with everyone. So once a month after work I’d drop round for a cup of tea to continue to break down the barriers and try my best to bridge the gap. After 6 months I’ll admit I was a little worried: she was still being shy and whilst starting to be friends still a little wary. Next month was the moment I’d been waiting for: Mum opens the door and little lady wanders up asking me if I’m here to do colouring in with her. Of course I was!!! Every time after I went around I did colouring in, and on the wedding day I did too! Come the evening when little lady was tired she wandered up to me and asked me for a cuddle: totally broke me there and then!
Finally parents and group photos are always going to happen during a wedding day: let’s face it mainly for the older generations! Because I know you, I also know the makeup of your family and how they function (or not) together. We will together have put together a plan on how best to do these photos and get everyone on one page regardless of the politics involved.
Be MY Friend!
I will of course always be your photographer and a professional one at that. But if I’m also your friend it will make your day so much more relaxed, so much more enjoyable and the smiles and happiness on your faces will be REAL, not FAKED.