Wedding Couple’s Photo Requests

10? 20? 50 Special or group photos? Where do you draw the line and how do you control that list?

Wedding Couples Photo Requests Beach Shot

Note: The groom forgot to take his drink to the beach for this shot. I had to Photoshop it in : )

Wedding Couples Photo Requests are Important: If you shoot weddings for long enough you may come across a certain type of couple. It is normally the bride that has a definite list of images they "definitely want" taken at their wedding.

Not normally a problem as this usually involves a short list of family group shots, special friends or family from afar or the children. However, you will get the request now and again that goes a little too far.

Huge Group Shot Lists

It has happened to me on many a wedding where the couple hand over a list of photos they would like taken at their wedding. I notice that the "groups" list is huge. I have counted more than fifty (yes 50!) shots requested for one wedding which is crazy ridiculous. The average seems to be between 20 and 30 which is still far too many. But why?

If you think about it and recall your experiences from other weddings, you will realise that things don’t always go to plan. This is whether you are a guest or a photographer:

  • Ready for the bride’s family group shot?
  • Where’s Dad?
  • At the bar?
  • In the toilet?
  • Having a sneaky cigar somewhere?
  • What about aunt Flo who finds it hard to get around?

You see there are way too many variables to consider when shooting the groups. If you say on average that it takes just 2 minutes to set up and shoot each group, even with just 15 shots to take you are looking at half an hour minimum.

Factor in various issues stated above as well as a larger list of 25 group shots and you could well run into an hour or more just for the groups. Then you need to whisk the bride and groom off somewhere nice and pre-planned for the special portraits. It all adds up and time is a rare commodity at a wedding.

My Suggestion

I would recommend that you nip this in the bud long before the big day.

When you meet with the couple after being booked, talk to them about all of the above. Explain that you don’t want to encroach too much on their special day. When they see sense in how long each shot could take, they tend to trim the list a fair bit.

After all, the day goes quickly enough and people always get fed up with long group sessions.

Magazine Cuttings

I have had on many occasions, either a load of magazine cuttings handed to me or a long list of website links. Links to images that the bride would like taken. Again, this is pretty ridiculous for a number of reasons. Think about it. The bride has more than likely scoured a whole range of photographers with;

  • Different shooting styles
  • Different equipment
  • At vastly differing locations
  • At different times of the year
  • With hugely varying lighting scenarios

Asking a photographer to produce all of those images at a single wedding is like a football manager showing his team a video of last year’s "greatest goals" and requesting that they score each one in a single game. Not going to happen.

Again, I would suggest that you cover all this during your pre-wedding meetings. Re-assure the couple that you know what you are doing.

All weddings are massively different for all sorts of reasons and they also have a habit of changing last minute. Explain that you are a professional and that you will photograph the day as it happens. Naturally with the occasional posed shot thrown in.

Time flies when "they're" having fun!

It is important to establish that you simply cannot plan the day to a fine T and expect it to go according to that plan. I seriously can’t remember a wedding, even the ones planned like a military operation, going completely to plan. They are usually at least an hour over time at the end of the day.

It is your job to be able to adapt and cope with any changes, as stressful as they may seem, and still produce the goods at the end of the day.

This is why wedding photographers charge a premium over "Uncle Bob" and his new DSLR. Wedding couples photo requests need your full attention!

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