Many times, you can see bridezilla from a mile away. You know long before the wedding day that you may have a bad situation when you’ve been hired to do the wedding photography. My advice is to avoid these people altogether. Whether you choose to take on these kinds of clients or you get stuck with an angry bride by surprise, there are ways of mitigating the damage and still delivering for your client. Use some of these tips to turn things around.
1. Be prepared
When you have all your ducks in a row and are professional and courteous, it gives the bride little reason to take her stress out on you. So start there. Knowing she is working with a competent professional goes a long way. Also, if you have the feeling that your client is bridezilla, prepare yourself for harsh words beforehand.
2. Be flexible
By all means, prepare for the day. Have your schedule and your shot list and your plan together. But when the bride throws you for a loop, do your best to go with it. After all, it is her day, not your day. Be accommodating, within reason, and let her know that you are on her side. Try to realize that the stress of the wedding may be causing her to act irrationally and she may say things that she doesn’t actually mean. I think there is a point up to which you can be flexible and let things roll, and a point where you need to stand your ground. Unfortunately, this isn’t a clear line, so I would just be more flexible than most of the other people around during the bridal preparation time.
It may be that the bride just needs to blow off some steam and everything will be back to normal. Listen to what she has to say without trying to escalate the situation. Once her concerns are out there and known, they may not be a problem anymore or you can find a way to diffuse them.
4. Focus on the experience
I think that the wedding day experience is more important than the photos. That may sound weird coming from a wedding photographer but I believe it. When a bride and groom are having a good time and not stressed about the photography, I can get better photos anyway. If your bride is stressed out about something you can help with, that is a good time to put down your camera. If she is hungry, it’s worth missing a few shots to grab her a snack. If she is worried about her grandmother not getting a corsage, take a few minutes to find grandma’s corsage. It will make the experience better for her and make everyone’s jobs easier.
If it’s 110 degrees outside with great light and you have the option to do portraits in an air-conditioned room with artificial light, consider what will be less stressful on your bride. It may be worth having a better experience over slightly better photos. If you are unsure, it may be a good time to ask your bride which she would prefer. You may be able to compromise and spend a couple minutes outside in the heat and the rest of the time in a more comfortable setting.
I’ve been fortunate to never have had a real bridezilla as a client. This may have to do with the great wedding planners, mothers of the bride, and bridesmaids I’ve worked with making sure that every bride had a good perspective on the relative importance of little things that had gone wrong.