The popularity and value hiring a wedding planner is on the rise. Not to be mistaken for an on on-site coordinator which venues often provide, an independent wedding planner is hired by couples who do want to host an elaborate detailed wedding and depending on the services requested, typically have a large budget.
Wedding planners have many duties not only for the couple, but for a wedding photographer, planners can help tremendously with the flow of the day. They control the timeline, help manage families and their personalities throughout the day, as well as offer design services that can create a stunning wedding to capture.
I have found that I thoroughly enjoy photographing weddings that have a wedding planner. In fact, I’ve unapologetically come to a point in my business that I require a couple yo hire a planner if I'm to shoot their wedding.
Here are a few things you should know about working with wedding planners and how the relationship can be mutually beneficial for the couple and your career.
1. Use the Wedding Planner to Help With the Schedule
While I typically try to give my couple a rough schedule of what I need, the planner can move things around to what they find suitable for the day. Be aware of travel time between venues if there are any and also relay any concerns to the planner if she has changed your ideal timeline.
The planner is there to make sure the timeline fits every vendor’s ability to do their job, not just hers. So if you feel rushed in one area, tell her and she will more than likely be happy to accommodate.
2. Let Them Help You Sell a First Look to the Couple
Sometimes you’ll get lucky and have a planner who has already discussed with your couple the benefits of a first look. Most planners favor the couple seeing each other before the ceremony because of benefits to the timeline.
If you can sell the first look schedule to your planner, you will have another experienced teammate to explain the benefits of one to your couple. I have had several couples decide to do a first look because they looked to their photographer and planner as wedding experts.
3. Honor Their Timeline
If you are running behind during a specific time of the day, it is important to communicate that with the planner, or try to find a way to catch up on the timeline. I find that I am usually able to catch up on time during bridal and family portraits.
Avoid going delaying the schedule, and holding up dinner. If something runs over, I’ve had planners switch things around to help me get my shot. This might mean cutting the cake as soon as they walk into the reception.
Also, arrive 15 minutes earlier to the event. You want avoid anyone ever saying, "where is the photographer?”
4. Shoot Photos for Your Planner
The general rule of wedding photography is to shoot anything that the couple has created or spent money on, you should do the same with wedding planners and their creations. If there is a backdrop they worked on, be sure to capture it.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are also shooting for the vendors that have collaborated to create the wedding. Your images can be shared and the planner will be elated to show off your images in her portfolio to her next client, possibly securing your next job.
This will also be beneficial when submitting the wedding to a blog to promote your business.
5. Remember the Power They Have to Refer New Clients to You
Remember to share and communicate with your planner to continue the referrals. Keep in mind that when a couple gets engaged the first thing they do is book a venue and/or wedding planner. From there, the next step is typically booking the photographer. If you have a good relationship with a few wedding planners, they can send you a lot of business.
Responding quickly and being an open communicator will give the planner the impression you are reliable to not only the couple, but them as well.
6. Good Wedding Planners Make Your Job Easier
They create pretty. My favorite part about working with planners are the pretty details they create. It’s enjoyable to shoot well thought out details, and by having so many, it increases your chance of getting the wedding picked up by a mainstream blog.
They act as a buffer. A wedding planner serves as an agent to the couple, a buffer if or when the schedule needs to be changed. They can be very convincing to the couple if there's a problem. Planners also alleviate stress the day of the wedding. The family of the couple are able to arrive and participate in portraits and not be occupied with set up or running errands.
They can assist you. The wedding planner cares about the couple just as much as you do. The entire day falls on their shoulders and they will do anything to help make your job easier to please their client. If you need to reshoot something you missed, or you need an additional hand, don’t be afraid to ask the planner for a favor and explain why. Just be sure to do it without coming off bossy.
7. Wedding Planners Can Elevate Your Brand to Attract High End Clients
I hope this tutorial may help calm any fears you have about working with a wedding planner. It's nothing to fear, and in fact, it can be leveraged to take your business to the next level.
Not every couple can hire a wedding planner, the ones that typically do are couples with a larger budget and want an impressive, detailed wedding. As a photographer who wants to continually attract high end clients, I am able to use the images from the weddings these planners have designed and showcase them in my portfolio to attract similar clients.
Planners can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 depending on their services. If you can capture a wedding the way that showcases their talents, they are happy to refer clients to you in the future and showcase your talents to their clients. Often one of their duties is helping to find photographers anyway.