Wedding Photography Business Strategies with Dennis Crider Photography

Dennis Crider, owner of Dennis Crider Photography, found out that he loved shooting weddings after starting out in family photography. He was immediately seduced by the natural smiles and the adrenaline of the wedding day. Now, he shares details with Pinhole Pro about his post-wedding follow-up strategy with the bride and groom as well as his favorite post-wedding marketing products.

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Why did you choose to focus on wedding photography? What is it about that genre that engages you?

I started out with family photography, but I always found myself wanting those organic smiles and unscripted moments that you can’t get with posed shots. When I photographed my first wedding, I found that weddings are just one whole day of fantastic moments and making people look beautiful! That hooked me into weddings right away.

Capturing weddings is different every weekend. It’s not the same bride/groom nor is it the same weather or the same people attending.  So every wedding should be uniquely captured and that keeps me engaged and challenged. I am beyond happy with what I do for a living.

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How much time do you spend on location before the actual wedding?

Time spent on location before the wedding is slim to none. Although, I will arrive early on the day of the wedding and look around to get a good idea of what I am going to do. Since I try to concentrate on moments, by the time we get to the poses, I am in full creative mode. I also feel that a good photographer should be able to make incredible pictures from any location no matter how ugly or mundane. Geometry in the buildings, finding light and your creative talent will prevail in any location.

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Do you have an assistant? How do you best manage your time, so that you are able to shoot all of the important events of the day?

I typically do not have an assistant but I’m not opposed to having one. I will add a 2nd shooter if the couple is willing to invest in one, but we carry our own stuff. I should get one.  (Is anyone at Pinhole Pro available to lug equipment all day?) Until then, every moment and every minute is dedicated to making this dream of mine a reality. It also helps that I challenge myself to limit my equipment choices at a wedding. I find that too many options leads to indecision and mediocre results.

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Weddings usually have a somewhat strict timeline to follow which means that there is only so much time for photographs throughout the day. How do you handle those instances when you’re crunched for time?

I feel I am crunched for time in almost every wedding. It seems rare that I get the time I want. I remember one wedding where everything seemed to be running way behind on deliveries. The bouquet’s were delivered late, the hair and makeup ran long and the ceremony was longer than expected. We were running to everything! That left us with 30 minutes to do everything else before the reception announcements. We went straight to the reception hall and shot everything we could on location surrounding the building. Because everyone was in a hurry, the entire party had a blast hurrying through the shots and I ended up with some of the best smiles and genuine moments.

What is your advice to other photographer’s who will inevitably find themselves in the same situation?

My advice for other photographers is that the party will feed off of your emotions. If you are calm and collective and have fun with what you do, then you will get what you want. If you are stressed and panicked, they will be too. Keep your emotions under control and have fun. You do this because it’s what you love to do – not because it’s a job.

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Shooting a single wedding can result in thousands of photographs. What is your approach to curating each event?

There are so many different ways to cull a wedding. Everyone has their own style on what works best. For me, it’s a simple process but effective. I immediately download to my two backup locations. I follow up (next available day) with picking out my favorites that are essential to telling a story. Those get edited, teased on social media and then blogged. I then go through them one more time to ensure I did not miss something important or another good photo. Upload the collection to the online gallery for the client to see and pick out their album pictures. This typically results in about 500-700 photos in the end product for a good 10-12 hour day.

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Post production can be a daunting task. What is your approach to editing? What is your primary choice for software? Do you ever use Actions or Presets to help facilitate your process?

My approach to editing is to do what I feel looks classic to the client and matches their personality style.  So it may change slightly but my post production lends itself to staying more clean and classic approach. I like how my pictures do not have a current “trend” or vintage look to them, but rather a clean style. I use lightroom for my post processing and two modified presets in VSCO action to match my style and keep it clean.

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You’ve ordered a lot of magnets from Pinhole Pro. What’s your feedback been on these products? Would you suggest these products to other photographer’s to include in their client packages or as client gifts?

The magnets from Pinhole Pro are amazing. Pictures that stick on a fridge for everyone to see. When new people get engaged or married and I am their photographer, I order my favorite pictures on magnets from Pinhole Pro. This gives them beautiful pictures that  they will constantly see everyday. Newly engaged or married people typically have a lot of guests at their house. Guests expect pictures on the wall, those get overlooked. They don’t expect professional pictures printed so beautifully on their fridge. It’s advertising for me and it’s a really cool gift for them.

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Dennis Crider is a wedding photographer based in Cleveland Ohio.  His expertise is in remaining very unobtrusive in his approach to capturing a day as it happens keeps him in tune with special moments as they happen.  With a sense of humor he captures those genuine smiles and laughs.  While he loves to make beautiful pictures, his concentration is capturing those rare moments that happen for families on their wedding day.  Starting in 2010 with his first wedding, he has come a long way in the local area and believes that he has a unique style that lends itself to a way that captures the day in a storytelling way, not just the details and beauty of the day but something that brings joy to the heart when you revisit the pictures 20 years later.  His philosophy is that the details are nice and add to the character of the time and age in which you were married, but those moments are ones that stay in head and heart for centuries to come. Which ones do you want to remember more.

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