Best Practices for Working with Photographers

By: Keith Phillips, Classic Photographers

 As an industry pro, think about your process (creative or logistical) when it comes to working an event. Across the board, you and your team have your own strategy for setting up, executing your services, and closing up shop at the end of the night. Your process is different from another vendor’s, especially that of a wedding photographer. So what are the best practices to ensure a smooth event for you and for the hired photographer?

Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

While each industry professional and/or vendor has their own code of conduct within their company, photographers aren’t any less structured simply because they’re a smaller team, sometimes even as a one-man (or one-woman) show. They have their own agenda as well, and it’s important to keep in mind that they may be working with a tighter itinerary, as instructed by the couple on a task-to-task basis.

What you want to avoid when working alongside a photographer for an event is giving criticisms or making suggestions. Almost 100% of the time, the photographer is operating a careful plan when it comes to formal and posed shots. It can be intrusive for another vendor to suggest shots when there is already a limited window of time to get all of the pictures needed. That being said, a huge ‘do’ that photographers appreciate is to simply introduce yourself! We like working with understanding, friendly vendors and kindness never goes unnoticed.

Vendor-to-Vendor Communication

Aside from day-of coordination and pleasantries, it’s crucial that we stay in touch with other vendors leading up to the event. There’s a lot to be said about a well-rehearsed event, and not many people realize how important communication is until you’re stuck in a tight spot on the day-of and missing certain cues. For example, the DJ and venue coordinator should definitely make sure that the photographer is aware of their timeline for key moments like cake cutting, intros, first dance, and more. Everything goes much more smoothly with these things in place, and we need to be ready and in the area to shoot those moments.

The same goes for any tricky dynamics that the photographer may not be aware of. We aren’t necessarily in the loop every step of the way throughout the planning process, so we can’t always be aware that there are internal family conflicts such as people who shouldn’t be photographed together. Ideally, the wedding planner or day-of coordinator would step in to guide the photographer in these situations.

Navigating Tricky Topics

This topic in particular is one that pops up fairly regularly, and it’s the topic of how to approach the subject of asking a photographer to photograph your work at the event. Be mindful that even when we’re taking a break from shooting during the event, we’re still working! That being said, as long as you’re considerate and polite in asking, chances are that we’ll be more than happy to snap some shots of your work as well. Ask for a business card as well, and a nice professional email after the wedding is a great way to respect our time and work. Remember to always credit the photographer when posting their work on social media as well.

The key to any interaction with another vendor is to be respectful of the fact that they’re also attending the event to work. Give them space, but be kind! Working together on an event can establish connections and help you reap benefits in the long run.

Keith Phillips is the Director of Business Development for Classic Photographers, a company that provides high quality wedding photography and videography services for the budget minded couple.