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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old July 7th, 2014, 08:53 AM   #16
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

For those who promote a hands-off approach...

We do too, though it has its limits. If a bride is put off by your presence, then that's an issue, and you're not really capturing the day as is - the simple act of observing something, changes it. Trust helps a lot - having the bride/groom get to know you a bit before the day of.

The other side of it is, as an experienced professional, one of my goals is to help them. Normally, they don't need it, but I really don't think there is anything wrong with nudging them in a better direction when they look nervous, stressed or even angry, but don't mean to.

That's why I use our example of a groom waiting for the bride before a first look. Too often, he's still thinking about what he's supposed to be doing, what with the photog and video guy right there. I'll ask a single question, or say one thing, and try to get him thinking about what is about to happen - about his wife-to-be, instead.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 09:45 AM   #17
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Say "Pretend I just said something funny!". Usually works:)

TBH tho, be careful, it's possible the bride is not in a very good mood, and trying too hard to make her happy/smile will only annoy her. I just let it go, and stay out of it. I had a bride earlier this year who was similar, almost in a bad mood, and the photog & I just didn't seem to click with her. You can document the day, and capture footage, but you really aren't there to change/shape peoples moods. It's a pretty hard task in general. Sometimes asking "Are you excited?" can disarm them, and it's an optimistic question rather than "Are you nervous?" or "Are you ready?"
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Old July 7th, 2014, 09:56 AM   #18
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

David, that's why I think it matters if you've gotten a rapport it the bride before hand or not. Not all want to meet with us, and for them, I keep my distance. Others with whom we've met, I've got something to work with... a nice sense of their real normal, and some boundaries.

Sometimes their requests matter, too. One gal wanted family interviews and even some posed glamour clips (like a portrait). She would turn to the camera, reality show style, and tell a story or make a joke. For her, no problem with a little chat. The gal the next week.... how about no. We kept our distance. Could not have been more stand-offish. She was painfully uncomfortable in front of the camera, and the guests (which is obvious all through the ceremony), and immediately loosened after the ceremony. Since she had kept us at arm's length before the day, we respected that during the day. (even now, she doesn't want her highlights online).
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Old July 7th, 2014, 11:13 AM   #19
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Chris, I can't quite grasp why you would split things into false smiles for photographers and grumpy reality for videographers.

Its hard for us blokes to appreciate just what a big event this is for the bride. Its no wonder that her nerves and apprehension, her concentration on ensuring everything goes according to plan etc translate into furrowed brows and unflattering facial expressions whilst her thoughts are in several places at once.

If she were able to review her own appearance in real time on a monitor or laptop she'd soon see that she'd rather look somewhat different, more like she's on top of the world without a care.

An occasional gentle prompt in the right direction is doing her a favour, it is not an old-fashioned cheesy wedding video in the making. So long as its done right.

What one does say is very much down to personalities. Whats right for one shooter is very awkward spoken by another. I use lines such as .... ooooh you're looking very serious, and ..... could you have a little smile to yourself. I don't tell jokes, that would not work for me.

I suggest that if you were shooting a commercial video for a small business and the talent was sporting a pre-occupied facial expression you wouldn't hesitate to get that changed.

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Old July 7th, 2014, 07:14 PM   #20
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Hi Pete

I chat to my bride and the bridesmaids all the time (probably too much) but I really do try and shoot footage that is as natural as possible that depicts the day. My point wasn't making her smile/happy or whatever but was questioning the fact that she was asked to pose and smile which is perfectly normal for photography but for me seems so false in footage. When a poor bride has a thousand things to deal with the last thing she needs is being put on the spot and told to smile ...I just feel that posed video can be avoided .. the poor girl already has to pose and smile for the photog and then it probably just gets too much when the video guy also needs a smile.

Hopefully when you are shooting the stills you don't get false smiles but real natural ones.

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Old July 8th, 2014, 11:37 AM   #21
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

-1 for Darren Levine
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Old July 8th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #22
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
I can't remember where I heard it but....
What's the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur?
The professional doesn't show all their pictures.
So true.
When I was in graphic design I learned rather quickly to never show clients more than one alternative even if you have more than one. Always show the one you like best and only if they really don't like that you show/make an alternative version.
And these days especially it's true with photos. Any trained monkey with a decent camera can get a good shot if he takes hundreds. Knowing which ones are the good ones is where the skill is these days. And then hiding the ones that are not so good ;)
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