March 19, 2019
This blog post is for both our future clients and new portrait photographers alike! Today, we are talking about the five mistakes that we made at the beginning of our photography business that we promise we won’t make again! And to the new photographers reading this… learn from our mistakes! As for our previous clients, our MWP family members, thank you. Thank you for trusting us when we first started this journey. Thank you for loving our work even though we were still learning what that even looked like, for supporting us from day one, and giving us the opportunity to practice and learn from these very mistakes!
This mistake almost did us in and made it so difficult to provide the brighter style we were trying to achieve, and this was before we found our love for the light and airy images! We were so excited to photograph one of our favorite families down by the water at Eden Mill, in Pylesville, MD. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining! When we arrived at the location, we started to panic. It was dark. Not to mention all the heavy trees surrounding us and the high elevation allowing the waterfall at the top of the stream.
Instead of (a) identifying the sun would set earlier at this location, or (b) taking control and adjusting to a new location as we would now, we stuck it out. In a constant state of “oh, shit.” Photographers, don’t make this mistake with your own clients! You are the professional, you are in control. Plan, prepare and think of any situation that could occur prior to the session and have backup plans in place! Future clients, we got you! We have lived and learned and now we are on our “A Game” when it comes to lighting.
In the beginning, we thought it was up to the client to tell us what THEY WANTED. They knew what THEY wanted to wear, how THEY wanted to pose, and what time THEY wanted to have their session! Sounds like a great plan, right?! Oh Mylanta were we wrong!
We absolutely love all of our clients and they have been some of the smartest and well-educated people we know, but if they knew all about getting their photos taken, they could just take the photos themselves! They hire a professional for a reason, and we realized that we needed to be that professional. Now, at MaeWood Photography, we educate and prepare our clients for their session and assist them every step of the way. We only schedule sessions just after sunrise or (most often) an hour before sunset (depending on the elevation and treeline!).
A guide is provided with outfit ideas, color palettes, best locations for lighting, tips on how to enjoy your session fully, and more! We are always on call for text messages of outfit approvals or inspiration, updates, or a “HELP I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING TO WEAR!” During the session, we also educate our clients with posing that flatters their body type and gives them opportunities to interact naturally with each other! We are in complete control of the session before, during, and after, so that our clients can relax, have confidence that we have their backs, and just be themselves so we can capture their joy and their love for each other!
Photographers, we recommend a plan, checklists, and lots of practice to get this process and workflow to run smoothly and become second nature! Future clients, we got you. We are here from you every step of the way, and although we are ALWAYS here to listen to your dreams and desires for your session, we don’t expect you to be the expert here.
This one is going to be short and sweet. We had to live to learn, unfortunately. But if you don’t back up your images on multiple hard drives and online clouds, YOU WILL LOSE WORK THAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE! Today, we back up our images on two hard drives and upload the final images to a cloud. And, we don’t delete any images from an SD card until we have delivered the images to the client! This way our clients know that they can trust they will receive their images.
Side note, if you have a camera that holds two camera cards, ALWAYS SHOOT ON BOTH OF THEM! Saving photos to multiple locations will help keep your images safe, but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a corrupt card! Being able to record images on two camera cards has been invaluable in our business!
During our sessions, we would start chatting and getting to know our clients in the beginning, but as we started shooting and concentrating on posing, lighting, and all the things… we became silent. Our poor clients would stand there, stuck in one pose as we tried our damn-dest to get the perfect shot. When we were sort of confident that one of us achieved the photo, we would talk again and put our clients into a second pose. SIGH! Our poor couples!!! We were doing nothing to make them feel confident, beautiful, keep them moving and engaged and JOYFUL!!!
During your sessions, we NEVER STOP TALKING! This might be easier for us now because we both love talking and we truly love our couples and want to get to know them! But we also want to make sure they are feeling confident, beautiful, joyful, comfortable, etc.! We keep the session in flow and we guide our couples every step of the way.
When we first started doing weddings, we were WAY OUT OF LEAGUE! But everyone has to start somewhere, are we right?! During our first few weddings, we showed up and documented the day. We did our thing, shared a few dance moves, gave a bunch of hugs, and we rolled out. Mission complete! Cue the cringe!
We realized as time passed that we are MORE THAN PHOTOGRAPHERS! In order to provide our couples with beautiful images on their wedding day, we need to educate them just like we would help them prepare for their session.
One way we do this is by assisting our couples in creating their wedding day timeline based around a recommended first look and the sunset. However, we learned after a few more weddings that this doesn’t do much good if no one is assigned to keep the timeline on track! Now we understand the importance of either doubling up as a wedding coordinator for the sake of our couple and their photographs, or we team up with the coordinator/planner to make sure that keep everything on track! This not only ensures we are able to get all the photographs we have promised to deliver, but it also provides an experience that is more carefree and enjoyable!
Need other tips and inspiration for your wedding day?! Check out a few of these other blog posts!
No. 1 | Phoenix Metro Wedding Venues
No. 3 | A Bride’s Story