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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:08 AM   #1
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How do you calm down stressed brides?

So, she's sitting in the make-up chair, and you're lined up for a nice shot, but she's too stressed to smile, and even if you say, 'Hey Jane, could you smile?", or you get is a weak, fake-looking smile that lasts for about a second.

What do you do?
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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:23 AM   #2
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Don't tell her to smile :) Like you said you can get a forced looking one. I have had an asian bride a few years back telling me how happy she was that I had so many smiling people in my film, this is often a bit of luck, I try to let the camera rolling long enough hoping I get a smile because it just looks much nicer, but if I get to deal with a bunch of boring grumpy people, so be it, I can only try but I won't ask them to smile as I would like to have as natural as possible behaviour and not a fake posed one like on a photo.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:50 AM   #3
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Thanks what great about doing video ..we don't need to try and get smiley posed shots like we do if we are getting photos ... I chat to the bride, make her feel at ease and film what comes naturally. Let the ohotog struggle with the smiles and just film the prep as it happens. Even so, if you are nice and chatty and don't put any pressure on her it will all fall into place. I think you did say some time back, Adrian, that you are not comfortable interacting with guests and the bridal party so maybe just be yourself and let things just flow and you should get some nice shots anyway.

I often see this in videos of the prep where there are more shots of shoes, dress, jewellery and makeup bottles than people and that usually indicates that the videographer is a photographer who decided to do video as well so I guess old habits die hard .. I have never asked a bride to pose or smile otherwise the shot ends up looking like a still.

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Old July 4th, 2014, 08:07 AM   #4
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

IF I have a connection with the bride (or groom) that makes it appropriate....

Get them to say, out loud, "I'm excited."

That's all it takes. Turns out, we can trick our own brains into turning that nervous anxiety into positive excitement. Here' the science: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/rel...e-a0035325.pdf

There is also priming. I do that reasonably often to set the bride or groom into the right mind set. Ask leading questions to get them thinking about what you want them thinking about. For instance, we'll have a groom standing there, waiting for the bride and the 1st look, and his head is with us. He's thinking about the camera in his face. So I'l start asking him questions, 'Are you excited?" or mention 'You're about to see your wife" and try and get his head there. Help get a great bit of footage....

And if you ever go to buy a used car, don't take the hot drink they offer you. That is also priming. Turns out, just holding a hot drink (tea or coffee) makes you more maleable. And, yes, holding a cold drink will make you less agreeable. Feel free to use that info at your next client sales meeting.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 11:06 AM   #5
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

ask her if her left eye has always been just slightly higher than her right :)
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Old July 4th, 2014, 11:45 AM   #6
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Last week I did one with a bridezilla who just wouldn't show a happy face to the photog the entire day. She warned him about her double chin and best side of her face several times during the prep. She was big like 300lbs+.She was getting dressed up in the hotel room instead of her house and man, that small hotel room was messy. I mean the beds were undone and all clothes, shoes, flowers, were on the floor along with 6 bridesmaids, 2 flower girls, both her parents, grandma and her uncle. There was absolutely no room to move. The photog suggested they all move to the hotel lobby for some photos. He started with the bride alone next to the garden area, where he would show the bride the first shot with "how;s this one, do you like it like this"? She would say " No, no, absolutely not, take that one out now, and I mean NOW, do another" after which point the photographer told her that there is no way that double chin would not be visible. I mean she was unstoppable, insulting the poor photog shot after shot. Her mother tried to calm her down and calm the situation to no avail. All day the bride had that depressed look on her face which showed. Once it starts off bad, it is difficult to correct. The photog said to me that he wanted to just leave an refund her the money and be done with it. I felt the same way even her not seeing a vid clip. Thank God she didn't ask. I told him to never show off the pics taken to anyone, especially the bride. He could just say that his camera is a special model splatzflex that has no display feature. Sure, the bride would eventually see them and blow up later but she would not steam off at her big day. I never, as both a photographer and videographer show anyone what I got in the cam.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
What do you do?
Keep rolling.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 12:29 PM   #8
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

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Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis View Post
the bride would eventually see them and blow up later but she would not steam off at her big day. I never, as both a photographer and videographer show anyone what I got in the cam.
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.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 02:27 PM   #9
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

I'm with Bruce on this, it's not my job really, we do what we can to make things easier but if it's a bridezilla/diva, well she'll just have to live with it (and probably her hubby too!)
I leave that sort of thing to my partner she's much better at the emotional stuff than me and does seem to have a better connection with all the females present, suits me fine.

I always let them know, during the consultation phase that I do documentary style, which i explain is recording the day as it unfolds. if they're grumpy or whatever - there's not a huge amount I or for that matter a photographer can do about it.

so yea generally I'd keep rolling.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

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I told him to never show off the pics taken to anyone
That's a new trend these days, photogs running up and down to the couple showing what they just made a picture off, why?? Imagine me shooting a bit and doing the same? It's as if some are insecure and want to get direct feedback to see if they are on the right track.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:10 PM   #11
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Thru out my time as both a still photog and a vid guy I've had my fair share of brides who appeared, mmmm shall we say, grumpy. Now as a still guy back in the 70s and early 80s of course I was shooting film so there was no way to show anyone the shot until the film was developed etc although many people said to me that they wished they could see the picture before the proofs were done and once I went to video, I never saw a reason and in the beginning I never had the capability to show anyone what was on the tape until it was finished.
I DID however develop a line that I used perhaps a dozen times over all the years and it was very simple although I won't suggest it to everyone and it went like this.

"Hey (insert brides name here), are you feeling happy today?" 100% of the time her answer would be "Yes". I would then say with the biggest smile I could muster on MY face, "Great, would you mind telling your face!"

In almost every case they would glare at me for a moment then start to smile and laugh realizing that they hadn't been smiling and that they wouldn't like the way they looked in either the still photos or video.

In the occasional case where it didn't work, well OK they were unhappy and it showed and are now probably just as unhappy as they were then but I tried and while I was there to document the day I knew they wouldn't be happy with the product if I couldn't coax a smile or 2.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 03:52 AM   #12
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

Dead puppies!

Trust me, say that and watch the smiles.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 07:20 AM   #13
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

One thing I sometimes do is enlist a bridesmaid. "Could you make the bride laugh, please?" It only works for a few seconds, but anyway...

On one occasion, the bridesmaid's attempt was

BRIDESMAID (to bride): The pageboy farted.
BRIDE (confused): What?!
BRIDESMAID: I don't know. The videographer asked me to make you laugh.

Bride glances over at me, hiding behind furniture with my lens pointed at her, and laughs.

BRIDE (to bridesmaid, laughing): That joke was fail.
ME: Yeah, but even though it failed, it still worked.

More laughter.

I can never get beyond random one-off one-liners like this, though. The better photographers seem more like Chris, constantly talking, constantly telling jokes.

Most stressed bride I've had was shouting, shouting on the phone to the venue, because someone had told her the crew's table was missing a flower arrangement. In that situation, I didn't work up the courage to try anything. Just stayed out of the way. She did calm down considerably after the ceremony though.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 08:41 AM   #14
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

We start shooting at the beginning of the bride's prep and pretty much fade into the background, we become invisible. One shooter with a DSLR on a Manfrotto 561 monopod. From there, whatever happens, happens. Our videography is candid and captures things as they are. We don't try to make the bride laugh or calm down or do anything contrived. Many couples seek us out because our wedding films aren't posed.

Hope this helps!

John

Summerfield Films
Summerfield Films | Toronto Wedding Videography
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Old July 7th, 2014, 08:55 AM   #15
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Re: How do you calm down stressed brides?

I must admit I'm chatty but I still shoot what's happening during the day and never ever pose shots..EVER!
I might position mum so I can get a clear shot of her putting on her daughter's bracelet but normally I just position myself and record the prep as it unfolds which, to me, is the way it should be shot. You are telling a story here are you not so saying "smile" to the bride just isn't film making ..it's photography!

I think the posing thing is an old habit from photogs that have turned to video rather than genuine film makers who do weddings. You can spot a photogs video very quickly when you see multiple slider shots or shots of the dress, the shoes, the jewellery, the bottles of perfume and make up which is exactly what a photog would shoot and a film maker would not shoot. They usually also have precious little live audio and usually rely on a music track. I always get mystified when I see a prep video like this ... why not just shoot stills and pan over the still image .. better resolution from a 24mp still image even if you zoom up on it.

It seems that photogs who have switched to video rather apply photography rules rather than film making rules hence the different approach ... I guess if the bride loves it then pose all your shots but I really do prefer to tell a story with live audio and images that actually move rather than moving over static objects and setting it to music ... each to their own
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