In theory, the wedding photographer is invited, stays on the periphery, gets the candid shots, and takes excellent wedding party/posed pictures as well. That is what Mary experienced at her wedding – the photographer visited the site of the wedding and reception beforehand, met with the bride-to-be, discussed plans, timing, and locations. She scoped out photography angles, lighting characteristics, and got a sense for the theme and colors of the wedding. The wedding was beautiful, and everything was captured wonderfully by the photographer.
Mary’s sister Maggie had a different wedding photographer – this individual spoke to Maggie on the phone a couple times before the wedding and “didn’t have time” the week of the wedding to scope out the locations and plans with Maggie. Instead, he visited the wedding and reception sites a couple weeks earlier on his own.
On the day of the wedding he showed up – just 15 minutes before the ceremony – wearing his bright red shirt and tie – which stuck out like a sore thumb with the earth tones and white colors of the wedding. He continually moved during the ceremony to get the right shot – often distracting those in attendance, and he took way too many pictures – at least it appeared that way because of how much he was in the middle of all the activity.
He was as much of a wedding crasher as he was a wedding photographer.
When the pictures came back, there were several good, but too many were posed, too many had lighting issues, certain features of the reception location were missed, too many relatives and friends were not included, and – therefore – Maggie thought his fees seemed too high.
Sometimes the best experiences are made that way by talking to the customer first – what do they want, what do they expect, and how do they define success? Sometimes your planning process helps you paint a prettier picture with your product.
Don’t simply deliver a product. Engage the customer beforehand to see the desired experience through their eyes.