10? 20? 50? Where Do You Draw the Line and How to Control That List…
If you shoot weddings for long enough, maybe even during your first time, you will come across a couple, or at least a bride, who give you 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 and 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, whether as a guest or as a photographer, you will realise that things don’t always go to plan.
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 let alone make her way up or down various flights of stairs or out to the location you have planned.
You see there are way too many variables to consider when shooting the groups and 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 and 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.
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 and 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.
Again, I have had on many occasions, either a load of magazine cuttings handed to me or a long list of website 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 meets and 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.
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.
If you are serious about wedding photography and haven’t seen our Wedding Photography Blueprint 2.0 yet, please check it out and grab a copy…it really does have everything you need to know about photographing weddings for a living (and a whole lot more).