Welcome back to our Vendor Perspective Series! Today we have a real treat for you. Meet Ash Simmons. She is a photographer on the Gulf Coast and she has some really great advice for newer wedding planners just getting into the business. Please go check out her work! Get inspired!
Photographer’s Role When Planning
Name: Ash Simmons
Name of Business: Ash Simmons Photography
Favorite inspirational quote?
Photography related: “Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” —
Don McMullin Non-photography related: “Don’t Let Yesterday Take Up Too Much Of Today.” – Will Rogers
What brides think you do:
Carry my camera around everywhere taking pictures of everything.
What wedding vendors think you do:
Take photos the day of the wedding, then spend like 1 hour editing.
What you actually do:
Spend 8-10 hours at a wedding. Then spending another 20+ hours editing that wedding. And somehow managing to run a business, reply to emails, look active on social media, update my website, research marketing techniques, spend time with family/friends, eat, and shower.
How do you feel about working with a planner?
I prefer to work with a wedding planner. When a bride tells me they are not working with a planner or AT LEAST a day-of coordinator, I panic. As a photographer, you sometimes get stuck as the makeshift day-of coordinator if the bride doesn’t hire anyone. I already try to assist as much as possible in timeline creation (no biggie), but on the wedding day, I have a million and one things running through my head and keeping everyone else on schedule is not one of them. I am so focused on getting everything I need in the limited amount of time I have, that everything else becomes a blur. A planner helps keep things on track making sure the non-photography related things are running smoothly. Which in turn, allows my day to run smoother. In regards to the bride, this take so much pressure off of the bride and the family. Everyone is able to sit back and enjoy the day vs. running around calling vendors or making sure everything has fallen into place. Planners are God’s gift to brides.
How do you know you’re working with a Newbie wedding planner? Any tells?
Someone who doesn’t communicate well or at all. I expect the planner to reach out to me and chat about the day-of timeline. If I don’t receive an email or phone call, I will attempt to reach out. If the planner never responds, it generally shows they either don’t know what they are doing or they just don’t care. Both are bad signs on my end.
What do you want a planner to know about your industry?
The wedding photography industry is growing super fast and most markets have over 100 options for wedding photographers. My hope would be that planners can mitigate and help sway brides to hire professionals. I have received quite a few inquiries last minute where the couple’s photographer took their deposit and is now not responding to emails or calls. Often, someone gets a camera for Christmas, starts shooting families, someone asks them to shoot their wedding. This is NOT a professional photographer. Always check for business insurance, proper licenses *if needed, how long the photographer has been in business, are they local?, do they have an office space where the client can meet and see them regularly, how good is their communication? Look for things that tie them to the area that show they will be sticking around and not run out on the bride the day before the wedding. Just because a photographer is super famous on instagram, doesn’t mean they have what it takes to make it in the industry.
How can a planner assist you more in preparing for a wedding and at a wedding?
I like to have open communication with the planner. I want to advise them on when the best time for portraits will be, when the sun goes down, where we will be taking family photos, etc. And I need the planner to send me updated timelines, give me all the details about special ceremony happenings, when and where. On the day-of, I just want to be kept in the loop if anything changes. Has the timeline changed, do I need to cut down on something, a family member is no longer able to attend, the ceremony site has been moved indoors, are they now doing something super awesome at the reception like a dance, etc. I may need to grab something from my car or prepare for these things and need time to do it. Letting me know far enough in advance helps my part in the wedding seem smoother. Obviously, things out of our control happen, but being there to help me figure it out and roll with the punches helps so much.
Regarding wedding day timelines, what do you want them to know or keep in mind?
Detail/getting ready shots take approx. 45-60 min depending on how many pieces are important to the bride. Family portraits take approx. 3 min per family grouping. *its really like herding cats on a wedding day so please leave lots of time. Bridal party shots should be given about 45-60 min depending on how large the group is. Couples portraits should be done 45-60 min prior to sunset and I would like at least 30 min to take them.