Notes from Behind the ATM Lens

A "good photographer" realizes early on that it's about showing the client in their best light. Whether it is a business meeting, wedding, specialty gala, class reunion, prom, school graduation or family event.

A client almost always has their own ideas about how they want to look in photos but often, the "look" will fall short for many reasons. It could be the wardrobe, the weather, the venue, makeup or the photographer themselves that contribute to the disappointment or disapproval of finished product. But for clients and photographers, "listening to each other" is the most important thing.

Today, I'll speak from behind the lens. It is important that clients are clear about what they want and what's happening at their special events. A wedding, a casual party and a photoshoot are three different animals. Photoshoots are the easiest in some cases because of one reason: If it's not working, we can try different looks, wardrobe changes, change the lighting, models, etc. Special events such as family gatherings, weddings and milestone events are not that easy. You only have one time, 97% of the time, to get that one special moment. For that reason, it is imperative that that client and the photographer communicate and listen to each other.

When a photographer looks at a subject, views ambience or thinks about the type of event, our main focus is "lighting". How can we get the best photo shots with the "light" we have or can have? If the area is dark or too bright, we have to make adjustments in order to get a good shot(s). When it is a once in a lifetime event, it is imperative that we make those adjustments before the event takes place, hours and sometimes days or even weeks before. If the lighting is not there, you are extremely limited with the outcome of the photos. The end product is hit or miss at best and with "once in a lifetime events", there are no do-overs. You cannot redo a wedding, a funeral, a prom, a graduation, etc., so it is important for clients to listen to suggestions from photographers and photographers to listen to the needs of the client in order to help achieve the best results possible.

Some examples that can help: When a photographer says, "It's too dark, we need better lighting." Listen. When a photographer says, "To adjust and prepare for the bad lighting, I need to view the venue to access what "extra" equipment is needed ." Please allow.

When a photographer asks before the event, "Do you mind if we remove or move these items to a different location for better shots?" Consider it. Decorations are sometimes be not the best ideas for photos.

When a photographer asks before the event, "Do you mind if I add extra lighting here for better shots?" Consider it. Night events and dark rooms are a little more difficult to shoot.

When a photographer says, "I need the participants to be at the location at whatever time." We all know that things happen, but please be there.

When a photographer says, "To ensure you have the best photos possible surrounding your special day, I would love to get post or pre-event shots at NO EXTRA COST." Take them up on it. The more gorgeous photos celebrating your special day, the better.

When a photographer asks, "What type of event is it?" Be truthful so that the photographer is prepared to get the photos you want.

These are just a few observations on my photography journey. A "good photographer" will not be happy if their clients are not happy. Communication is key for both sides in orderto get the best photos possible. The focus is presenting the client in their best "light".

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