In the beginning of my wedding photography career, clients would often ask me to do non-photography tasks. I would regularly help with things like transportation, jewelry and floral arrangement, and overall event management.
While I’m still 1,000% a team player, there’s simply no denying that when you’re attempting to do the work of four additional people… your photography suffers. Looking back, one of the most pivotal changes in my work and business was when I began building relationships with wedding planners. A talented planning team allows me to focus on what I’ve actually been hired to do: create beautiful images.
In the beginning, the thought of networking with wedding planners definitely intimidated me. But I’m here to tell you—you can build these valuable relationships.
Keep Reading to Find What They’re Looking for in Wedding Photographers
I interviewed some of the best wedding planners in the industry to find out what they love—and don’t love—about working with wedding photographers. Here’s your chance to take note of what you could be doing to improve your chances of collaborating with wedding planners, and therefore, of building a reputable, profitable wedding photography business.
I had the pleasure of asking some of the top wedding planners in the entire industry all about what wedding photographers should and shouldn’t do if they want to attract the attention, respect, and coveted referrals from wedding planners.
Not limited to photographers: but at every event there is someone who did not read the crew briefing and fails to get themselves fed in the appropriate place at the appropriate time. Then they come to us – often we have had no time for a pit stop ourselves—and they complain that they are hungry and tired and can we arrange some food for them (please, always carry Trail Mix)!
We would say that in the beginning it was really hard to convince photographers to get the full event picture. The photos should tell the whole story and so many only focused on the couple, but in order for an event designer/planner to advance their career, for the photographer’s work to tell the whole story and for the client to have memories of every detail they need to work to capture everything and not just the big moments.
A few photographer peeves that come to mind include asking when the vendor meal is being served, when they don’t read the paperwork sent around in advance of the event, and last-minute requests and requirements.
Honestly, attitude trumps all. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the industry’s leading photographers, and the way that they carry themselves professionally speaks volumes. Our clients are demanding and the vendors we work with should accept and understand that, willingness to go the extra mile and remaining composed are proof of a professional photographer.
On the wedding day, with 100 other things to focus on, having to deal with photographers (or any vendors really) who place their needs above our brides and grooms, is really unpleasant and unnecessary.
Style & Personality. We definitely want the vibe of the client and the wedding photographer to match because the person the client really spends the most time with on their wedding is probably the photographer. If the couple is comfortable and connected, the photos are that much better.
As a planner, the ease of working with a wedding photographer is key when crafting our list of suggested photographers. Quality of work, timeliness of deliverables, and ability to stay on schedule are also factors when choosing photographers to recommend.
Your photos should be a beautiful and timeless account of the most important day of your life and should help every bride and groom to relive the romance and excitement all over again. Choosing a wedding photographer can be a daunting process but hopefully these tips will give you something to consider when making your decision.
1 – Image quality/style – The quality of a wedding photographer’s portfolio and their ability to offer clients a variety of styles, capturing the personalities of the bride and groom.
2 – Photographer’s personality – To get the best images and a true account of the most important day of your life, it is imperative that you feel comfortable and relaxed in their presence.
Initially we like to understand what style of wedding photography the client is seeking. Sometimes we have to tease that out of them. When we understand that, we look to direct them to the work of appropriate photographers at price points that reflect their budget. When we have narrowed it down to perhaps three at the most, we ascertain the photographer’s availability for their wedding date and arrange for them to either meet the client, or join a video call.
At this level, everyone we recommend is more than qualified for the gig, so it really comes down to the relationship —which is the same when clients are interviewing us and comparing us with our competitors: do they feel we are the best fit for them?
We do have a few favorite wedding photographers and we usually have an instinct as to who will be a great fit, but we also like to nurture new talent and are proud that some of the photographers we hired very early in their careers have gone on to achieve great success.
For us, those who enjoy integrating into a team are preferred; we know from experience that the best events are those where the team we have assembled feel invested in the success of everyone, and not just the individual service that they are offering. That is when the extraordinary occurs.
Luxury means the best quality possible within a given budget.
For me, luxury means access to exclusive experiences, personalized service, and unexpected moments of pleasure.
Luxury to our team is meeting all the touch points. True luxury creates an experience without feeling forced. It’s the hotel where every person knows your name, the paper that has weight, the carefully curated fabric and perfectly timed music or service. It’s creating the answer before there is even a question. Luxury is immersive and has a personality that is truly aligned to the client’s needs and vision.
Service, service, and service. The elite seek the journey of their event—as well as the experience we create at the celebration—to be personal, world-class, and seemingly effortless. That requires flexibility and an attitude of ‘we are here to serve’.
They crave something that tests the boundaries of what is possible. They want the impossible made possible. No request is too out of reach — we’ve secured access to private islands, orchestrated weddings under the stars, or high in the mountains. We bring their dreams to life.
Cohesive, effortless, and branded experiences.
The ultimate desire of luxury wedding clients is to create an experience like none other with one-of-a-kind experiences and personal touches.
In looking back at my work, you can see the swift change in quality of the images I created when working with an effective wedding planner or designer. As my career has continued, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the top planners in the world.
In addition to learning a lot from them, I’ve also been able to level up my craft while working alongside their talents. My portfolio looks better, my art looks better, and my reputation looks better. Having an expert planner by your side truly makes all the difference in the world. It’s vital that photographers learn how to work with them.
Ultimately, weddings are a team effort—and when we have a talented and effective team leader, we can all perform better. Keep the takeaways listed below in mind the next time you’re on a job—successfully networking with wedding planners starts with these key things.
Inside The Abundance Plan, I teach students how to network with wedding planners—I provide the full 100+ page Luxury Wedding Planner Guide (packed with more interviews like these!)—along with all the other insights, resources, guidance, and coaching needed to stand out from the SEA of struggling freelancers, and become the go-to choice for high-end wedding planners and luxury clients.
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've spent the past decade capturing love and chasing beauty across the globe, and I believe every story like yours is different and special, and deserves to be told exceptionally.
Drawing on years of experience in the fashion and editorial photography industry, my photographs are graceful, honest and boldly natural, while completely intentional. Whether it’s the opportunity to narrate the retelling of once-in-a-lifetime wedding days, or the ability to communicate issues of global importance, or all the stories in between, I look at photography as the method by which I get to leave the world a little better than I found it.
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