Becoming a better photographer is not all gear and technique. Implement these three aspects into your life to see your work and business improve.
That dude loves his job!
Nothing is worse than a photographer who doesn’t bring positive energy on a wedding day. Family members and guest not only have their eyes on the couple, but find photographers fascinating to watch as well.
Being a wedding photographer, you have a major impact on the energy level, flow, stress level and mood of the day. If you don’t have a positive vibe, how do you expect your couple to?
Rock the day with smile. Enjoy it! You're a photographer because you chose to be, I hope.
Speak your mind
Throughout the day, we are constantly raving on how good the couple looks. This not only brings the couple confidence, it helps to relax their frazzled nerves and allows us to photograph at a high level. Someone once told me,
If you think of a compliment, say it.
So many people think of compliments yet never voice them.
Another thing I do is looking over at my second shooter and say, “OMG, look at this image!” This builds anticipation and confidence in he couple and keeps their trust level high. If I am crazy excited about an image, the energy level will be high and they will be stoked about creating more photographs together. Bringing positive and enthusiastic vibes is key! My goal is for people to look at me and say, “That dude loves his job”. I can’t tell you how many times, guests come up to me during the reception and rave on how good I was, and yet they haven't even seen a single image. My enthusiasm and positivity is what sold them! Be Enthusiastic!
2. Be Personable (Be Likable)
Hey you, on the end, in the blue dress…no not you…yeah you! Next to the tall guy. Yes, you. Could you take a step forward?
In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnagie talks about the power of your name. On wedding days, one of my biggest goals is to become personable.
One simple yet powerful thing we do is learn and call everyone by name throughout the day. Calling someone by name purely shows that you genuinely care about them. Throughout the day we are constantly introducing ourselves and learning the names of the wedding party, family members, and guests.
Even if you fail to remember someones name, showing that you're trying is near as good, and everyone has grace for you as you are learning 20 new names and faces.
How could I say no to such a genuine invitation! It pays off to be personable photographer!
Care & Respect
Care and respect come hand in hand. When guests feel cared for by you they will have more respect for you. Once you have gained that respect & appreciation, “uncle bob” is going to be more aware giving you that same respect when he barges in with his iPad in hand. The more relationships you build, the smoother your day will be. You will be surprised how many “assistants” you will gain by simply calling people by name and being courteous. Furthermore it is much easier to direct a wedding party when you get to simply say “Stacey, could take a step forward” rather than yelling “hey you, on the end, in the blue and black dress…no not you…yeah you next to the girl in the white and gold dress! yes, you could you take a step forward?” That is not only obnoxious, but innificent, and unlikeable.
Learn more about the power of influence through in Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. It has been a huge game changer in our business!
3. Confidence is King
You have to believe you are talented before anyone else will.
One of the best things you can do on a wedding day is exude confidence. I remember early in my career there were times that I had zero clue of what I was doing. I would be at an engagement session with my Canon Rebel, 50 1.8 and was about to freak out. All I can remember is how much the couple kept asking me if they should be doing something different, or if they could see an image. I was so stuck in my head about whether or not I was doing things technically correctly, that I was failing to engage with the couple and give them any feedback. I had zero confidence and they had zero confidence in me.
Confidence comes from abundance. It could be abundance of knowledge, abundance of clients, or abundance of shoots under your belt. The problem is ultimately abundance doesn't happen overnight.
Fake it till you make it
There is certain saying of “Fake it till you make it.” If you don’t have confidence in your craft, fake it. (I do not recommend faking anything when photographing a wedding!) This is much more for when your still 2nd shooting, assisting, or picking up portrait sessions
Confidence has a waterfall effect. The first thing it will do is make you look like you know what you are doing (whether you do or not). When you look like you know what you're doing, people will trust and listen to you! When people truly believe in you, you will begin to believe in yourself! When you believe in yourself, you will get the most out of yourself and achieve great things! Finally, it's going to help you love what you're doing! I remember when I had my breakthrough and really started to love wedding photography. I quickly realized that all I wanted to do is become a full time wedding photographer. It all started from being confident in myself and doing everything in my power to be the best photographer I could be!
Practically, this translate to less Chimping (looking at the back of your camera) and more interaction with people. Know your gear so you don’t get yourself into a frazzled mess in front of the bride. The more you can seamlessly interact with your gear, the more engagement you can give your subject to give them the confidence they are searching for on the other end of the lens.
Confident people attract confident people.
This translates to your business too. Your confidence will manifest itself in your brand and in the type of images that you capture. It will come out in emails, and over the phone. Ultimately you will find yourself booking more brides that have that same confidence level that you give off. Wanna keep photographing brides that lack self-esteem and don’t value photography? Me neither. Address your confidence and start to to see the changes immediately.