“When clients demand something, it’s mediocre at best. You don’t have to shoot it the way they want you to shoot it.” Ewan and Brianna Phelan (out of this world amazing boudoir photographers you can read about here) said this once at a seminar I was lucky enough to be present for and the statement really resonated with me.
In wedding photography, we often get wrapped up in client requests that make us groan. Not only for the simple reason that they “saw it on Pinterest” and it’s blatant plagiarism to be copying the exact image, but from the standpoint that it’s coming from a source other than ourselves. As creative, the best stroke to our ego is coming up with an idea all our very own. Playing the copycat game isn’t gratifying to our souls and we’re left feeling shoddy and hollow about the work.
Ewan and Brianna reminded me that we don’t have to feel like that. We have the power to say no to ideas. We have the power to take a crummy idea and elevate it. Really work our creative brains out. We have the power to look at a situation and ask our clients why they want that photo. What is it about that photo that makes them like it? Is it the lighting? Is it the mood? Does it make them feel happy? Does it make them feel hopeful? Does it make them feel beautiful? What IS it about the image?
In the case of the image featured above, I decided I didn’t have to listen to the bride’s mother when she said the bride wanted her privacy before she got her dress on. I knew I could give them a more meaningful moment than they could even think of to want. I cracked the door ever so slightly and quickly got this frame of the bride reading a letter from her husband to be. It’s one of their favorite moments from the day. I knew it would be. I listened to them talk about the special relationship this couple had. I listened to them talk about how romantic everything would be, how special, how timeless. I knew they would respond to a moment that captured that.
That’s all it is. Once we narrow down what it is that they’re responding to, we have our own creative toolbox in our minds to come up with ways to create that feeling the client is after, inspired from that image, but totally our own. We are business owners and we are creatives. We have no limits to what we can do and how we can interpret it, so make that brain work for you! Ask questions and find your own solution. You don’t have to shoot it the way they want you to shoot it.
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