How to collaborate with your perfect wedding photographer with Clare Kinchin
- 28th July 2020
What should couples ask when making enquiries to potential photographers?
I try to let the images on my website do the talking. When people make enquiries they already love my style and are generally enquiring about my availability and pricing. I definitely think as a couple you want to know that your photographer is experienced, suits your style and that you feel confident in their ability to deliver creative photography come rain or shine. Lots of websites can look great on the surface with styled shoots and a few sunny weddings, but couples should delve deeper, read the testimonials, stalk their instagram and facebook, make sure you are all over their blog posts too.
How flexible is your approach, have you had experiences with very different couples? For example, one that wants lots of styling and more formality and one that wants to imagine you are part of the crowd and more discreet?
My style is natural and relaxed, I can't really deviate, that's just how I see images. I have only ever booked the wrong client once, it was awful for them and for me. They wanted a traditional collection of images and it's just not my style but there are plenty of photographers out there that shoot more traditional work, there is definitely someone for everyone! Whilst I'm working for the couple and they have booked me for my relaxed approach, I do understand perhaps the parents want a more traditional image of the couple so I make sure there are one or two images that Mum and Granny will be thrilled with. I always do my best to keep everyone happy but ultimately my couple are my priority.
What tips would you give a couple who have decided on their photographer, but then need help identifying their personal style or preferences?
Finding your style can be tricky, there are so many options out there. Think about what you do at the weekend as a couple, are you nature lovers? Maybe a venue with epic views and access to a coastal path works for you. Are you city people, a high end restaurant or hotel may suit your style. Are you a glitz and glamour couple, so maybe you can reflect this in your dress and decor and if you are a camping kinda couple, there are lots of venues with yurts and teepees with a more rustic feel? If you love to travel, think about a wedding abroad, you can always have a party back home afterwards?
I have just recently got married myself and we wanted our wedding to reflect our style and love of travelling so we decided to have a small gathering just outside our favourite city Marrakech. It was the best day of our lives and exactly what we wanted, we are so glad we did it our way.
When the big day arrives, how do you navigate the needs of the couple with getting all the shots you need in order to create a perfect package?
My work is very organic, I shoot what I see and like to tell a story, no wedding is ever the same and I never approach a wedding as a tick box exercise. I do like to know my couple and their family dynamics, so I send my clients a questionnaire about 2 months before the wedding asking who's who and what's what. Some of my clients are fun outgoing couples who throw a wild wedding party and that is the energy you will find in the photographs whilst some of my clients, especially those who choose an elopement wedding are shy, quiet couples and this will be the energy you will feel in these photographs, each as beautiful as the other and both documented in the same way. I am always looking for details so I naturally photograph the dress and all the lovely bridal elements, I am also an outdoorsy kinda gal so the location is something I shoot too. The one thing I always make sure is that I have a list of the group shots. Whilst my photography is relaxed, I understand the importance of having photographs with your close family, I make sure I know exactly who we need to find for the group shots and I photograph them as quickly and efficiently as possible so the bride and groom can get back to the party. Around 6 group shots is a good number to photograph the family and not be standing around for hours. A handy little guide to working out timings for groups is to give each group shot 4 minutes, you can do the maths!
How do you make sure your couples are comfortable with you on the day and there's good communication?
I offer all my clients the opportunity to have an engagement shoot. It's a great way to say hello and to experience having your photograph taken by a professional. The phrase I hear all the time is, "I hate having my photograph taken." I get it, I do too! So this is why my relaxed approach helps with the awkwardness and nerves. We do lots of walking and chatting and getting to know each other and we just happen to take a few photographs along the way. I very rarely ask clients to look into camera, and I don't do any weird posing. Most couples by the end of the session are surprised at how ok it was and I find this helps on the wedding day, it instills confidence in your clients and you are not a stranger on the big day.
What do you think would surprise couples about your role?
I have attended hundreds of weddings over the years and have found myself lacing brides into dresses, fixing button holes, keeping the bridal party calm, keeping a check on the time, helping buckle shoes, fixing makeup. My job is endless, but I love it and feel like I'm part of the team.
Just lastly, any funny moments where things didn't quite go to plan for one of your clients?
There are a ton of things that can go wrong on your wedding day and you just have to remember the most important thing is that you are marrying the person of your dreams. I've had weddings where the dog has eaten the cake, the wedding car has broken down on the motorway, the bride forgot her shoes and walked down the aisle barefoot, children who need the loo during the ceremony and let everyone know about it. These things make it your day and your stories to tell in years to come.