The Bride's Special "Requests"...

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by duanelokitis, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. be read: "restrictions". I've shot many events and have yet to be given "restrictions" by the bride... until now. I have been asked not to take any profile shots, not to cut off any body parts in the photos and not to zoom-in for photos. Now, I understand that some people may not like to see themselves in pictures, but I cannot understand why you would want to limit your photographer? My feeling is that you are trusting the photographer to make good artistic decisions when taking photos at your event, and limiting the artistic ability of the photographer might result in precious moments lost (due to these restrictions). What restrictions have you been given by Brides and how did you handle them? What was the result?
  2. You are an artist as well as a business person. The business person needs to keep the client happy, and the artist probably needs to make adjustments.
  3. Nish nailed it, however did you meet with the client before hand? Go over your style? Spoken with them about why they selected you? (did you cut them a great deal at a moment of weakness?)
    You are the artist, don't be an artiste, one stays in business, the other cuts off their ear, to spite their face.
    You can shoot precisely the way you want, but just...add a few extra images that include what the bride/client wants.
  4. Nish didn't nail it. If the requests produce a result that is completely different than what the artist (photographer) shows as a sample of his work, then I would politely refuse the job. This should come up in the initial interview.
    The restrictions place a lot of extra work on the part of the photographer to second guess every shot he's taking. If a client wanted to place that type of restriction upon me and the work I do, then I would suggest they find another photographer.
    There seems to be an odd idea out there that a business owner always has to do what a potential client asks. We don't....we can say no and try someone else. There's no law saying we have to accept every client.
  5. If this is not the sign of a bridezilla in her formation stage, I don't know what is. Chances are, no matter what you do, she'll never be happy anyway. Please have this in mind if you do decide to take her on.
  6. I would have said early in the initial conversation " I don't think I'm the photographer you are looking for, stylistically" and see how she reacts.
  7. Duane:
    Is this before or after the contract is signed? If before, I'd suggest selling an engagement session, with the option for them to pay for the session and cancel the wedding part if they don't like the results.
    Why did she choose you? Are you extremely price competitive in your area? Did she like how you presented past weddings? If she chose you by price alone, then...well...not sure what advice to give. If she raved about your past work, I'd shoot the wedding as normal and deliver as normal. It could be she's been getting advice, and she feels compelled to pass it on.
  8. I agree whole heartedly with the notion we don't have to take a job because someone offers. Nope we don't.
    However, making a little lemonade out of lemons here, there is no reason why this can't be a creative exercise. Suppose your telephoto lens got hammered somehow and you only had a few primes with you? Would you just charge in inches from the client to take the shot? Or would you recompose, use your talents as an artist, and then improvise. Adapt and overcome.
    Don't lose sight that I do agree with the idea that we can turn down clients, but as this client seems to have missed the note about 6-12 months ago, we have in front of us a learning experience on several fronts.
    I'll bet this client didn't state these requests in the initial meeting or followups
    and I'll bet there wasn't an engagement session.
    Again, I'll wager it's a client to whom a substantial discount was given, and now it's come back to bite our good friend Duane.
    Duane? any input?
  9. Thanks everyone for your comments. If nothing else, they help validate the thoughts that were running through my mind and make me realize that I am not alone.
    That being said... you are all correct.
    The Bride is a co-workers fiance. He has seen my work in person, on the Internet and has heard about me from others who have talked about their experiences - all positive feedback, I might add.
    We discussed their event at length and what my services would entail. I must admit, I gave them a great price based on my relationship with the Groom - and it seems to be coming back to bite me.
    We came to an agreement, which was modified far beyond anything I have or should ever give to anyone. The package DID include an Engagement session, which was taken a few weeks ago. I went through the entire session and made my cuts, color corrections and even a few artistic renditions of some of the best photos. 1&1 was giving me some trouble uploading (at least with Dreamweaver), so I used Lightroom to upload straight to the FTP server. In doing this, ALL of the photos made it to the site - even the rejects!
    As luck would have it, the Bride selected a photo from the "rejected" batch and asked for a Photoshop intervention. After completing the requested modifications and printing an enlargement for their sign-in board, the Bride had a few "requests" that I mentioned above. She indicated that, in the Engagement photos, there were some shots where body parts were cut-off, they didn't like pictures of their profiles, and they also do not like close-ups.
    Had I uploaded only the content I wanted them to see (my mistake), she wouldn't have seen any of the shots I was using for white balance or in looking for better composition. The photo she chose was a good one, but was a hair out-of-focus. The previous shot and following shot did not capture the same emotion as the one she chose, so I did my best and it turned out just fine.
    Daniel, you are very insightful. It was, however, the Engagement session that prompted her "requests". I firmly believe that, had she saw only the cream-of-the-crop, she would still feel the same way about their profiles, close-ups and chopped parts!
    I am learning over the years that our love for photography is often our curse. As much as I want to say: "that's it, no more weddings for me!", I just can't pass up an opportunity to capture a great moment on "film".
    I am shooting their wedding soon and will update this post with the results.
    Thanks again for your feedback... I knew I could count on you all to help me through this! :)
  10. Sorry for the trouble Duane, I remember an advertising professor of mine who would say that if you show a client a project with only a small thing wrong with it, the obsess on that small thing and lose sight of the rest.
    Think of it as a creative pursuit, but I would say to do your work, just fire off a couple more the way the client wants. Keep the shots that you do for yourself and display what they want to see.
    Go kick butt!
  11. ALL of the photos made it to the site - even the rejects!
    What was the result?​
    There, you have your answer! Sooner or later, something like this is bound to happen, don't get bogged down.
  12. IMHO, this is one of the reasons one shoots an engagement session--so the client can see how the photographer shoots. So I think it perfectly natural that the client then tell the photographer what they liked about the photos and what they didn't like. I appreciate such input, so that I don't waste time on setting up shots they won't like. This also tells me what each of them is particularly sensitive about re their appearance. I don't consider it being held back artistically--I consider it a chance to grow and meet challenges. I also consider it a chance to educate the couple re what is realistic.
  13. Why, oh, why would you put the rejects on-line for them to see??? The client must not see the rejects and should not know about their existence. That's why we renumber the photos at the export ex.: from IMG_0857, IMG_0863, IMG_0885 etc. to IMG_0001, IMG_0002, IMG_0003 etc.). Keep the rejects safe and use them only in case of great emergency - a moment that was captured bad, but the client saw the picture and want it bad.
  14. Why, oh, why would you put the rejects on-line for them to see?​
    The problem with showing rejects is that the client will immediately start wondering how many you've taken and not shown, and they would want them. It's a road with no end. Of course, I never show rejects and I'll just tell the client rejects are deleted on the spot to save me the agony.
  15. Duane, I haven't seen any of your shots, but perhaps her restrictions were actually an artistic critique that wasn't too far off. One thing Daniel reminded me of when I was starting out as a 2nd shooter with him, was a general rule of thumb, people have 2 eyes. It seems simple enough. But so many of us (myself included) are very sensitive to how we look in profile. Now, the whole day shooting, would I say OH MY GOSH don't you DARE snap a shot in profile??? No. If one is stunning and stellar, then put it in, but try to figure out creatively how to avoid these shots. In the end, you may find that Doing shots with 3/4 of the face or even 5/6 of the face will satisfy her and frankly will be much more flattering.
    As far as don't cut off body parts, find out if she means that you are cutting off body parts at visually unappealing spots, like at the joints. This can tend to make people look like amputees. Or is it that she just likes full body shots better. She may be thinking about the beauty of her dress and how she wants that captured. I would still provide some 3/4 or upper body shots, but knowing she likes the full body shots, I'd shoot wider than I normally would for a greater percentage of the wedding.
    Lastly if she says not to zoom-in for photos, it's unlikely she knows the difference between prime and zoom lenses and the pros and cons of them. Find out what she means by zoom-in, does she mean that she doesn't tend to like beauty shots of herself, that are just headshots? Perhaps she is concerned about showing off features on her face she isn't keen on like eye wrinkles, acne, big pores, etc. Go through the engagement session shots and find ones that are examples of zoomed in shots and close-ups that you consider to be good quality and flattering shots and ask her if those fall under her restrictions and why. Try to be empathetic rather than sounding critical or pissed off that she's putting restrictions on you. Tell her you just want to be the best photographer possible for her on her big day and need a bit more clarification. Show her from previous weddings zoomed in emotional shots, rather than just zoomed in beauty shots, i.e. first dance, or dance with parent. Ask her if this type of shot is ok. Perhaps these restrictions are just ones she is putting on the group formals section and bride & groom formals.
    Hope that helps and can't wait to hear how this wedding goes for you!
  16. If the requests produce a result that is completely different than what the artist (photographer) shows as a sample of his work, then I would politely refuse the job.
    Exactly what I would do. There are too many alarm bells ringing here for me; you're a friend of the groom's but the bride is the one who (typically) ermmmm calls the shots (pardon the pun!). Not to zoom in? What's that all about? I've had one bride who was very self-conscious about her chin and asked that I not do profile shots of her. In the end, I bore that in mind but shot in my usual style, and she loved the photos. I think there was even a profile shot that slipped in there ;-)
    As an aside, it's funny how the clients who get the best deals (friends, relatives, etc) seem to make the most demands :)
  17. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - obviously the bride and perhaps the groom are a bit self conscious of their appearance.
    At this point you really can't back out, so I would shoot the wedding keeping the list of don'ts handy when shooting and even more handy when editing.
    Be grateful she told you upfront instead of waiting until after you shot to say - oh - no close ups, no profiles and no crops - we only want full length shots. After all it is much easier to crop later than it is to try to add legs, arms, torsos, etc...
    Also keep in mind that this post is now public viewing, so if she or future clients happen to google your name, guess what is going to pop up?
    Finally, in response to the comment about how all the photos got up on the photographer's site, the OP clearly stated that he was having difficulty with his normal workflow, stepped outside of it and used LR to upload directly and boom all photos where uploaded, not just the "keepers". I put this one firmly in the "stuff happens" camp. But it could have been avoided had he done a quick review / check of the uploaded images and found the test shots.
  18. My feeling is that you are trusting the photographer to make good artistic decisions when taking photos at your event.
    Not necessarily. Technical competence, limited choices in smaller-population areas, cost, customer ignorance of alternatives, and other factors also come into play. Some photographers see themselves as artists and think they know better / have better aesthetic taste than their clients--and sometimes they're wrong. I'm not here to tell any photographer whether to take a particular job. If the customer's requests are outside of your comfort zone, then it would be better to tell the customer that and politely decline the job on that basis, recommending a more appropriate photographer if you can. But if you can do a reasonably good job capturing the shots the customer wants, and are willing to do so (and maybe thereby work as a craftsman / skilled laborer instead of an artist), and if you want to take the job, then do so.
  19. What's the knock on profile view? If the subject has good facial bone structure, profile view could be very dramatic. It doesn't work with subjects with round face, but for subjects with strong jaws and high straight nose, I actually quite like the profile view.
  20. One of the many reasons I've stopped doing weddings. One bride wanted me crop out her butt in every photo. Please crop out Aunt Martha from every shot from another...etc, etc. I agree with one of the comments to get all this out before the contract is signed then, if need be, then say, "I'm not the photographer you want. I can give you a few referrals". I did this on a number of occasions, then, just got out of that end of the biz altogether. Yes, a wedding is event photography. One bride and groom said, "And we don't want any of that artistic (stuff)!" Good money at times, but not always conducive to applying one's "art".
  21. " Good money at times, but not always conducive to applying one's "art".​
    Most people don't do it at the art level. It's a commercial product with the art label attached to it to spice things up. I recently did an older couple's wedding and after just two romantic couple's shots, the groom politely told me they would rather like candid shots done. So all I needed to do was to shoot people drinking, talking and smoking for a few hours and the couple was happy about the result.
    What's the art and skills required to do this? Hardly any but I earned my pay and made the couple happy.
  22. Refer her on to another photog. She's obviously got some serious self image issues, and it is likely that she is not going to be happy with any photos that include her in them, no matter how good they are.
  23. I'd have to agree with Nadine. It is far better to know preferences going in than find out afterwards.
    Rejecting this client is a moot point, she is signed and the commitment has been made. I also wouldn't pass judgement on this client until the process is complete. It'd be great if you bookmarked this thread and came back afterwards to tell us how it turned out in the end.
    Part of the "art" of wedding photography is grasping the artistic principles of portrait photography ... which focal lengths, at what distance, at what angle is most flattering for different types of faces and body types. The "art" part of this more formal or directed work is making people look their best.
    If a client seems sensitive to close-ups for whatever reason, then study the places you'll be and shoot "environmental" type full length portraits that include more of the setting ... and there is no reason this can't be applied to more candid work also. For closer work shoot the details of her dress, rings, shoes flowers and anything else that is special about this specific wedding to complete the story.
    For a recent wedding I shot, the Bride told me up front that she didn't like how she looked in photos ... pretty directly I might add. While relatively tall and slender, she had very pronounced features and was probably used to being shot with a point-and-shoot with a wide-angle zoom. I carefully studied her face and which angles to concentrate on ... in the end she looked like a NY fashion model ... most of her friend's wedding shots looked like do-do in comparison. This is what we do, it is our artistic job.
  24. I NEVER cut off part of the face or hair. You can do this in post after and print it 3 or 4 ways. Leave the first in color without the heads cut off or the hair line cut off, B&W, Slanted ,cut of the heads and B&W with the heats curved without cutting off the hair line.
  25. You can still make amazing photos of the bride without cutting off her head and other body parts.
  26. sorry for the typo - lact- lack
  27. Wow! I forgot about this thread! I want to thank you ALL, each and every one of you for your support. I think I needed to vent as badly as I needed your support!

    In the days leading up to the event, I met with the Groom several times at work and even saw the bride again before the big day. I was showing the groom some photos I took during their engagement session that I cropped and was using as a custom business-card/party favor for their event. It was one of their images, nice and close, but in black and white. He literally did a double-take on the sample and couldn't stop smiling. He took the sample home and called me that night. The bride-to-be loved it.

    Wedding Day...

    My wife and I have shot many events together. She knows my style and has also learned some great techniques along the way, while incorporating a bit of her own style in her photographs, so we make a great team. She took to the 16-35, so she had a great time taking photos all night with the ability to get up-close and personal, without presenting that in the images... because of the wide angle, there were full-body shots-a-plenty!

    I was a good boy and took all of the shots the Bride requested, but would follow up with a shot of my own throughout the day. I showed her a couple of "extreme" close-up shots that were just too good to pass up! She fell in LOVE with the way they looked and took my camera from me to show a few of them off to her girls that were getting ready. She came back in the room with a smile on her face and told me she trusted my judgement and basically let me do my job. At the end of the night, I stayed an extra 2 hours and even got myself a rather large tip!

    About a week later, when I uploaded the photos and let her see the proofs, she had MANY retouch requests... mostly for her mom. I think I removed so many wrinkles over the next few days that I could hardly tell the difference between a feature and a wrinkle any more! HA! In the end, the Bride was so pleased with the results that I earned yet another large tip when I delivered the photos the week after.

    The best way I can explain it? The Bride was just nervous in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding and had gone a little over-board on the "planning" of her event. Once the venue she selected provided her with a wedding planner, things started running smoothly. They spent a lot of money for their special day (wedding was in Malibu, up in the hills)... I think she was just feeling overwhelmed by the number of things she was trying to wrap her arms around and I was feeling the pressure too!

    Funny how some of the events we anticipate being the bad ones turn out being some of the very best!

    Thanks again for your support!

    (and sorry it took so long for the update)

  28. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for coming back. . . better late than never!
    "The Bride was just nervous in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding and had gone a little over-board on the "planning" of her event. . .
    Funny how some of the events we anticipate being the bad ones turn out being some of the very best!"​
    There's a lot of learning in that.

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