So you’ve got the camera, you know how to use it, you even know how to use it well! That’s all you need to shoot a wedding right? Not so fast. There are so many skills you need to have to be a successful wedding photographer, and some of them have nothing to do with your camera. One of the most important is how to manage emotions on a wedding day.
There’s the bride of course, who experiences all types of emotions: happiness, stress, nerves, nostalgia, joy, giddiness and love. And then there’s everyone else who’s also riding an emotional roller coaster. Mothers, fathers, bridesmaids and grandparents.
There are a few important rules of thumb that you should abide by as a wedding photographer when it comes to managing emotions.
1. Let the Good Times Roll
When it comes to all of the warm, fuzzy, positive emotions, it’s best to just let them flow. Bride seeing her Dad for the first time? Perhaps not the best moment to step in and pull her away for a beauty shot.
Allow those moments to happen and for your brides and grooms to feel the full effect of them. Not only do they make for some of the more meaningful images you’ll take that day, but your clients will appreciate that you didn’t completely take over the day with posing and formal photos.
It’s your job to honestly document what’s happening, so let the emotions flow.
2. Be the Shield
Maid of honour having a mean girls moment? Cake delivery running late? Do NOT let your bride and groom be exposed to that negativity.
You may have to use some of your wedding photographer jujitsu. That could be anything from distracting your bride with a little portrait session, to simply chatting with her.
If there’s a wedding planner or coordinator around, they can also be a great help in dealing with issues that arise so your bride and groom don’t have to. So feel free to lean on them.
3. Photographer = Therapist
Without over-stepping boundaries with near strangers, you may have to put on your therapist hat from time to time. If one of your clients is having a stressful/anxious/angry moment, feel free to talk them through it.
Be reassuring, be positive, let them know that everything will be fine. Because it will be! Remind them of what’s really important, their love for each other. Everything else is secondary.
4. Don’t Let Your Own Stress Show
This is a really important one.
Hey, I’ve been there more times than I can count. The make-up artists are taking waaaaay too long, the father of the bride ran off to the bar right when family photos are starting, or “Uncle Bob” won’t stop taking photos during the ceremony. All of these things can lead to even the most zen wedding photographer getting frazzled.
You also need to manage your own emotions. If your bride and groom see you getting stressed, they’ll feed off that energy. So keep calm, and photo on.