Do you like it when someone doesn’t know your name and someone calls you “hey you” or “guy on the end with the red hair?” Yeah, probably not.
As a wedding photographer, I meet a new group of people every time I shoot a wedding: a new set of parents, new set of bridesmaids, new set of groomsmen, new set of vendors to work with. I cannot encourage you enough as a photographer to LEARN your people’s names! I’m not just talking about bride/groom. I’m talking about everyone involved in the wedding- work hard to memorize as many as you can. This includes pretty much anyone and everyone I listed a second ago.
The Mom/Dad of bride and groom are top on my list. They are most likely the ones paying you and will be your most powerful ally or enemy after the wedding. A referral from a bride goes a long way, but a referral from a parent goes even further in my opinion. You impress them and they will forever refer you to their friends who’s kids and grandkids are getting married.
In addition to the parents, I really focus on the bridesmaids names. I will be with them most of the day and it speaks volumes to have their names memorized- plus, if one of them isn’t married, they will remember these things for a future photographer! I normally come in the getting ready space and say “okay, so who is so-and-so” and go through all of the names. They’re always impressed when I already have the names memorized. Go a step further and look at your bride’s Facebook (if you are friends with her on Facebook- which I highly recommend- I’ll post more on that later!) and look at her friends list to see the girls. Have them memorized before you come and just start using their names the day of. I have my associate who works with the guys the most memorize the groomsmen’s names. I know at least the best man’s name. This can sometimes be close to 20 names I memorize just from the parents and the wedding party!
I also try and find out the vendors names beforehand, especially ones I will work with closely during the day. I’ll talk more in another post about vendor relationships and what I do pre and post wedding with the various vendors I work with.
I cannot tell you how much it helps in organizing people for the day if you know names, but more importantly how much it speaks to the people on the day when you learn their names. It’s a little prep work ahead of time, but so worth it. See some examples just from this year:
While I was taking family pictures this weekend, the mother of the bride told me how “nice it was that I memorized everyone’s names” and how special it was that I took the time out to learn their names and use them during the day.
A bridesmaid at a wedding (before seeing the pictures!) last month told me how sad and disappointed she was that she couldn’t use me for her wedding, because she already had hired someone. She said she might have even considered losing her retainer if I hadn’t already been booked the day of her wedding. I asked her what she loved so much about me and she said, “it’s about how much time you took getting to know us and have fun with us during the day. You were just awesome.”
A videographer at a wedding earlier in the year asked me if I was family friends because “I knew everyone’s names and used them during the day.” He was so surprised that I had taken the time to learn the names of so many people that he thought I was a personal family friend!
I’m telling you, if you’re not memorizing names already, you have to do it. It’s so important and speaks volumes to your clients!
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