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Photography/Wedding Photography Chattanooga Tennessee


Hi John, I see you've been doing wedding photography for over 27 years. Just wondering if you can share some of your worse experiences and what you learned from them. I'm starting a photography business and it is hard to find "war stories". I want to be prepared as much as possible to handle bad situations the best way possible.  Thanks.

Hi Sherry,

I've not had many really bad situations. The first things which come to my mind are just a few little things. It is easier to start with the most recent in my memory.

This past year I've had two different grooms tell me they expected me to tell them jokes in order to make them smile in their photos. When I worked for MasterPortrait studios, I would kid around with children and act the fool to get smiles. But to have to tell jokes to make a man to get him to smile on his wedding day and when he knows the woman he is going to marry has showed up - nope.

VERY VERY OFTEN I see so-called wedding planners who plan the entire wedding day WITHOUT HAVING A CLUE WHAT KIND OF PHOTOGRAPHY COVERAGE THE BRIDE PAID FOR! Every photographer I know talks about this situation happening very often.  Most CERTIFIED wedding planners have the experience and competence to know better.  Most professional photographers provide at least 8 hours of coverage and hundreds of shots. Most all the group formals MUST be done BEFORE the Ceremony if the bride & groom want to be able to go the reception sooner and not leave guests waiting. When the bride & groom choose NOT to see each other before the Ceremony, this means that much more time has to be spent AFTER the Ceremony getting all the group shots with the bride & groom together. . .

Cherry and I provide TWO consultations with our customers. Even during the first consultation we go over the concept of the photography time-line. It is so very frustrating when a customer just a few days before the wedding tells us they got a wedding planner who did NOT take the photography time-line into consideration when planning the entire wedding day. But we have the 2nd consultation usually about a month before the wedding so we can get all this ironed out.

The answer to your question is probably COMMUNICATION. We have the two consultations.  We talk about the IMPORTANCE of the photography time-line in both consultations.  We also have a lot of items listed on the contract to help make sure we are protected from customers who do not perform according to the photography time-line and which results in their not getting all the pics they might have requested.  This is covered in the very first provision of our contract. If customers would cooperate and respect the photography time-line it can sometimes be ABSOLUTELY AMAZING ALL THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHS THEY WILL GET in contrast to running late, posing for amateur photographers, not telling all the family, friends and wedding party the photo time-line and more.

But I recommend DETAILED COMMUNICATION. I think I will also be including more discussion about using a CERTIFIED wedding planner and providing more written materials to re-inforce everything we discuss with our customers to help them to remember their part to make sure they have a great flowing wedding day.

Wedding Photographer John Wilson
Chattanooga, Tennessee


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I have over 30 years of experience. 12 years portrait studio experience. I can comprehensively answer questions relating directly to the art, science and business of photography and the portrait studio business. Photoshop and other photo editing software.


Over 30 years photography and about 4 years working as a portrait photographer for a studio in Chattanooga and eight years as a portrait studio owner.

I have attended numerous workshop, seminars and photography conventions over the years. I continually self-study from my library of over 100 photography, video, digital photography, photoshop and other books.

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