Post # 1
I recently photographed a wedding (advanced amateur) & did not get their only wanted shots & I’m not quite sure what to do about it. Here’s what happened:
The couple said the most important photographs for me to take were of them & their son, that’s all they really cared about. However, I have NO photos of them together :(. At the wedding I asked them a number of times if they wanted to add their son & told them before I left I did not get any of them & their son & they still said no. Technically I have 2 shots including them & son with the bridal party, but that’s it. I feel bad because I know that’s what they said they were most looking forward to in our meetings & I have nothing to give them. They also only gave me 5-10 minutes of photo time with just them, so I have very few photos of just the couple. Basically, I have lots of ceremony, reception & family shots, & that’s about it.
The wedding was 3 1/2 hours. They were excited for me to be their photographer in our meeting but the day of I felt like they wanted nothing to do with photos.
What do I do? I feel like they’re going to get their photos back & not be happy because the main photos they wanted, they wouldn’t let me take. I asked them for more time but they did not want that.
Post # 3
Well if they didn’t give you that much time, it is hard to do a lot of anything. Along with them saying no to your request of getting the images with them and their son. Just ask, now that the wedding is over, since you didn’t have images of them and their son, if they could spend an hour or so with you to do some portraits.
Don’t feel terrible about this.
Post # 4
Our job as a photographer is to get all the important shots while being the least intrusive that we can. I try to get these shots using a photojouralistic approach, but if I can’t get some, I make it clear to the couple that in XX minutes I would like to spend 5-10 minutes taking some formals. I will remind them in the 10 minutes and gather the group together. If they refuse, there is nothing I can do and I don’t worry much about it, although this has never happened.
I agree with the poster above, perhaps offer them a followup session.
Post # 5
This happens sometimes that prior to the wedding, a bride or groom gives you a list, but the day of the wedding, their mind is elsewhere and they are scattered, emotional, running late, distracted, or just no longer care about photos and want to focus on the moment. You have to work with it as is.
You covered your butt by telling them you didn’t have their requested shot and they said it was okay. I’ve had that happen, the bride says “Oh, forget that shot with Aunt Edna” or what have you.I say “Are you sure?” and if they say yes, then I move on.I always stay a little later than planned and check with the bride and groom, asking “Is there anything else you wanted?” so that later, they can’t say I left without completing my job.
Edit and display your work proudly. If they question you, you simply tell them that they specifically did not want to get that shot on the wedding day.
In the future, as a CYA, you can have them initial on their shot list that they are declining additional photos. You can also set the timeline FOR them, so they don’t only give you ten minutes of photos. Also, I take notes throughout the day including the time “Bride 15 minutes late,” “Church pastor, pastor Jim, only will allow us in third pew in contrast to previous discussions,” or “Limo arrived one hour late, therefore, no photos with limo,” “Wedding party children not cooperative-bride stated to let them out of photos.”
These cover your butt notes can be extremely helpful later to remind a bride why things happened the way they did.
Post # 6
Thank you for your responses!
@TedNghiem: That’s a great idea but they’re out of town (3 hours roundtrip), but I’m going close by them for my friend’s wedding in 2 weeks. Do you think it would be a good idea to remind them that I have no photos of them & their son & offer them a mini session before they even get their cd? Or should I just wait until they have their cd & see if they say anything about it?
@USER876: I tried to get photojournalistic shots of them & their son, but they weren’t with their son at all while I was there, except maybe for 1 minute in the bridal party shots, then they let their son go off & run around in the yard while I took more bridal shots. Their son was always with another relative or running around the yard. I have shots of their son with other relatives, but none with the couple.
@kwynn: I love your notes idea, I’ve never done that with a wedding before & will start now. Thank you!! Also, no one really knew what was going on, there was no timeline. This is definately a learning experience. Before I left I asked them if there was anything else they wanted & they said no & thanked me & said that I could leave. A few others heard it as well so I should be covered, but I want the couple to be happy. I stayed about 30 mins longer than scheduled as well.
Post # 7
@Canonite: I would mention it to them and not wait till they get the CD. At least you have been proactive about the “supposed” image that they wanted. But if the images of them, the bridal party, and the son are enough… then you do. Still let them know and if you can squeeze in a little time when you will be at your friend’s wedding, the day before or after ask to do a half an hour to do some portraits.
Post # 8
@TedNghiem: I took your advice, thank you for that idea! I left them a message a few days ago letting them know I would like to offer them a complimentary session in 2 weeks. I’m waiting for their reply to see if they want to take me up on that or not. Thank you!
Post # 9
@Canonite: I wouldn’t have. They hired you for a specific time frame, you fulfilled that contract. You TOLD them they didn’t have it, they told you it was fine. End of story. Either you can run your business as a business or you can let it run you… and it won’t last long. Once you start to give in, bend your rules, or make it an emotional and not logical decision you are not acting in the best interest of your business. It’s one thing to offer a session if you screwed up the images, lost them, or in some way were responsible but you were not. So just let it go… They did. If anything, I would have mentioned at the wedding, “Are you sure? Because you told me this was THE most important image to you. If they say yes and later want it… great…here’s portrait session rates. I’ll give you a discounted rate for a short session so we can get that shot.
I had to do that this weekend. The bride saw rocks that weren’t scattered on a table and started doing it… I stopped her and said, x, It’s OK, just leave it for now… someone else can do that. You won’t regret blue rocks not being on the table but you will regret not getting these pictures on the beach you really wanted…. She looked at me and said, “You’re right, thanks for reminding me” and we were off. Often it doesn’t end the way we think… so many times they really want something and then the day of, realize it’s not important anymore… or don’t care as much… The best thing you can do is try… let them know and offer to do it… and if they decline… move on.
Frankly, this discussion belongs in a wedding photography forum and not a forum for your target market. I’m getting the impression you’re new to wedding photography and running a business… so keep up your hard work. You’ll get there… it’s a learning process… just don’t forget… you’re a business… not their best friend (unless you are a best friend which I don’t rec b/c that can destroy your relationship).
eta: I just read this over and hope it’s not coming across harshly… just a fact driven response 🙂