How photographers can manage a bride’s long pose wishlist

Four far-apart locations, hundreds of pose requests, sunset backgrounds, pyrotechnics, reflections, and ledge-walking? Hmmm…

The surplus of online bridal magazines and Pinterest boards dedicated to the big day have spawned countless creative ideas for wedding day photo poses.  Seeing the shots other photographers have taken has absolutely helped to spark our own creativity, as we’re always on the lookout for fresh, new ways to capture the special memories of our clients. However, brides, too, are more and more active in deciding which poses should make it on the photo agenda.  Every wedding photographer should know in advance what poses their couples want taken and should oblige…as best as possible.  After all, they are the client and it’s your job to make sure they’re fully satisfied with the images they’ll cherish of the most important day of their life.  But how do you handle a long, somewhat crazy, wishlist of poses the bride gives you?

Photo courtesy of Amelia J. Moore Photography
Photo courtesy of Amelia J. Moore Photography

Timing is Everything
Consider the time you have allotted on wedding day. How long will it take you post ceremony to shoot all her ideas, plus get the traditional must-haves? Even an extended session of an hour and a half doesn’t give you much time if you’re traveling between spots, and remember, the couple does have a reception party to get to!  Plus, if it’s an early-afternoon ceremony and there’s a tight agenda for the reception, a sunset shot may be hard to orchestrate.  Review the day’s schedule with the bride, and explain what’s realistic – and what isn’t – to shoot on the wedding day. If she’s not jumping on a plane to the Keys immediately following her reception, you can always offer her a day-after booking, where bride and groom can have more time to get adventurous and tackle the long list of shots they want. This allows you to focus on the family and the natural photo ops that arise on event day and have a more planned and posed photo shoot with them when the nerves are gone and they’re officially a happily married couple. Try saying, “Wow, you’ve come up with some great ideas for photos! I want to make sure I can get you all the shots you want, but I’m concerned about the time we’ll have on your wedding day. Are you open to booking a next-day photo shoot, where we can really dedicate the time needed to create these amazing poses?”  The next-day photo shoot may be just with the bride or groom, or depending on her wishlist, other members of the wedding party may be invited to participate too.

Location, Location, Location
When looking at her wishlist, consider why the bride loves the poses she has picked out.  Is it because the couple is surrounded by some exotic paradise that will be hard to find locally?  Is she getting married in a city center but showing you pictures with fields of wild flowers or a forestry background?  Consider the local area and suggest locations that may work best in recreating the images she has selected. If additional props need purchased in order to make a shot work, be upfront about additional costs that may be incurred or give her a shopping list of things you’ll need for backdrops. Try saying, “I think we can recreate the backdrop of this image by adding in X, Y, and Z as part of the backdrop. If you agree, I’m open to shooting this, but I’ll need you to either bring the props or let me add the extra expenses to your total bill.”

Safety First
Do the items on her list involve stunts, fire, mass transit traffic, or cliff hanging? Sure, you are pretty adventurous, but that doesn’t mean you need to put your life at stake to create awesome photos for your clients. If there’s something you’re concerned about, talk about the risks with the bride to see if she has some suggestions on how, exactly, you’re supposed to shoot the pose safely. Try saying, “This is an unbelievable shot. The photographer who snapped this is surely a brave soul. My fear is that something might go wrong if we try to recreate this, and your safety is my biggest concern. Do you have any thoughts as to how we can do this safely?” Wait for a reply, and be open to hearing her out. If nothing seems safe enough for you to be comfortable shooting the image, say, “I’m still not sure I’m the right photographer to capture this for you. I hate to tell any client ‘no,’ but I simply can’t see how this will work.  Do you have friends who are expert (rock climbers, tightrope walkers, lion tamers, fill in the blank) who might be able to assist you with this particular pose?”

At the end of your meeting, both the bride and you should feel confident with a reasonable list of key poses to capture on wedding day. Any other images you deliver will be a bonus!  When she receives her packaged photographs, she’ll fall in love with the work you did and forget about any poses that didn’t make the list.

What pose request has made your jaw drop? Tell us in the comments below!





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