As a wedding photographer, some of the most important relationships you can build are with wedding coordinators. If you are just getting started in the wedding world, these tips are a fantastic way to make a great impression on wedding coordinators. If you have been in the wedding industry for awhile, these tips will help you strengthen your relationship with wedding coordinators. This will also help your shoots go much more smoothly!
I recently sat down with two successful wedding coordinators in Austin, Texas, to discuss the relationships between coordinators and photographers. Thank you to Rosa Gibson, of Austin Wedding Planners by Rosa, and Amy Mader, of Amy’s Platinum Weddings Coordinating and Consulting Firm for their help and advice.
1. Send a Welcome Email
Ask your client if they have a wedding coordinator at the initial consultation. Once the client books with you, email the coordinator to tell them you’re excited to work together. Take a look at their blog, too, and let them know what you love about it. And leave a few comments, of course! This will make a great first impression. If you have worked together before, this will also strengthen your relationship.
2. Smile and Be Polite
This may seem simple, but always be as friendly, courteous, and professional as possible.
3. Copy them on important info
Whether your client is adding an extra hour to the wedding day, or discussing the timeline, email a copy to the coordinator. You’ll save them a few steps, and they will appreciate your professionalism. Some coordinators prefer to be cc’d on all email communication; ask if they prefer this and then follow through.
4. Respond to all communication quickly
This may seem like a given, but it’s important to respond to emails and calls from the coordinator. If you need extra time to review something, let them know, and always get back to them promptly.
5. Group Shot List
Discuss the group shot list with the wedding coordinator before it’s actually given to the client to complete. Some coordinators have their own list that they give every client. Typically, my clients prefer to keep their group shot list short, and this may pose an issue when coordinators present their own list. It’s best to discuss this in advance, so you are on the same page.
6. Buffer your Timeline
Things run late all the time. The timeline may change – even before our window of time for formal portraits has begun, things might be running late. This is why it’s important to add buffer for formal portraits. Always allow for more time than you actually expect the formal portraits to take, so you are prepared when things are running behind.
7. Walk-Through of the Venue before the Day of the Wedding
If you haven’t been to the venue, familiarize yourself with the property. Look for the getting ready rooms, the ceremony site, cocktail hour spot, reception area and the bathrooms. You might feel inclined to look at the venue the day of the wedding. It’s best not to wait, because you can ask any questions for the coordinator beforehand. You don’t want to have to ask the wedding coordinator questions when they’re busy handling other things. (Many coordinators do a walk-through with the client, so you might be able to go then.) The bonus of doing this is that you can pre-visualize certain photos, and plan your off-camera lighting setup.
8. Review their timeline in depth
Review the timeline from beginning to end, so you can communicate with the coordinator on any changes in advance. If you need extra time for portraits, or you plan to take portraits of the couple during a specific time, now is the time to change that if needed. Don’t just look at this section though; review the entire timeline. Then, carry extra copies of the timeline with you. This way you don’t have to ask, “What time does the first dance start?”
9. Plan a phone meeting
This is a great chance to ask questions about the timeline, or explain any needs for the wedding day.
10. Respect the timeline
The wedding coordinator is typically most concerned about the timing of the catering and the food. Not only are they worried about hungry guests, but they want to make sure to communicate with the catering team, so that delicately cooked food (such as fish or red meat) is cooked properly. This is why it’s so important to buffer your timeline in advance, and stick to it as much as possible.
11. Provide them Photos
Always give the coordinator images as soon as you deliver them to the client. They are more likely to refer you to future clients, and your watermark will help promote you. A sweet thank you note is always a great touch too!
About the Author:
Debra is a wedding photographer in Austin, Texas, who specializes in capturing candid wedding moments and stunning portraits in the Austin area and across Central Texas.