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How to keep your photographers happy (& ultimately give you better photos)

How many times do you walk into a restaurant and think… “How can I make life better for this waiter?” If most of us are honest, we rarely, if ever think about those thoughts. We expect to be served, to be treated well, and when things don’t go the way we expect, we rant and complain. It is probably true for a lot of people working in the service industry… hotels, hospitals, tour operators…

And even photographers.

When I first started working in this industry, I knew that it was the little things that differentiated a good service from a great one. The client and their needs are always top on my mind, and I made sure to communicate that to our entire team… from our communications to the photographers on the shoot, and up till delivery stage. Someone told me once, that if you show genuine care to your clients, they know it. It has always been our principle to make sure our clients get the best experience from us. So it does sadden us sometimes when we get the occasional client who doesn’t treat us the same way.

I do admit, most of our clients are amazing. They are thoughtful, kind, generous… even when there’s a million other things to think about on their wedding day. It makes us feel so appreciated. To know that we’re not just another ‘vendor’, but that we’re treated as friends. Ultimately, we just want to do even better and more for these clients!

* The Stories team at work (left to right, top to bottom): Johan, Diane, Ben, Weiming, Felicia and Mark

Here are some simple ways that can keep your photographers happy throughout the wedding day:

1. Do remember to feed us – Being on our feet for 10 hours on your wedding day, carrying kgs of equipment is not an easy task. Most Malaysians are really hospitable and make sure that we are well fed during lunch and dinner. We do not expect to be seated at the table with your guests since we’ll be moving around a lot during dinner anyway. It’s always best to just order a vendor’s meal like fried rice or a burger from the hotel for the team. Sometimes though, there were days when all we got for dinner were soggy McDonald’s that were bought hours ago, or a pack of egg tarts for dinner. A hungry photographer can sometimes turn a little grumpy. Sometimes.

2. Please prepare a room at the hotel for us – This is relevant if you require a same day slideshow to be created by us. Our base is in Petaling Jaya, so sometimes it may not be feasible for us to travel 30 minutes from your home in Klang to PJ, work tirelessly without a break to create a slideshow and then drive another 30 minutes to a hotel in KL, all within 4 hours. Photographers hardly get any rest. It would make our life a lot easier if we didn’t have to spend so much time traveling, but can go to a dedicated hotel room just for the team to work, take a nap if necessary, and have a shower to freshen up.

This room should not be shared with other guests because it’s really difficult to work comfortably when we have people looking over our shoulder, expecting to see images or wanting to talk to us when we really have a deadline to meet. Sometimes, we are given function rooms to use, but that is not really ideal. Most of these rooms do not have shower facilities, nor proper seats to rest comfortably. I find it sad when a client or wedding planner expects us to shower in the public toilet at the hotel, or not freshen up at all prior to dinner. Even sadder when we are placed in a store room somewhere to prepare the same day slideshow (thank God this only happened once).

3. Do give us sufficient time for portraits – We know time is precious on your wedding day, but we want to do the best for you too. Do allocate at least 30-45 minutes sometime during the day for a portrait session for the both of you. We know that sometimes, this eats into your mingling time with guests, but we feel that it’s important to make time for it. Please be patient with us if it seems like the portrait sessions take a while, or overruns in terms of time.

4. Do tell us how you feel at the end of the day – We love to hear feedback! If you are happy with our service throughout the day, do let us know before we say goodbye. Those little words like thank you goes a loooong way! 10 hours (and sometimes more!) of exhaustion is worthwhile knowing that our clients appreciate our work and attentiveness.

*Mother hen – Grace