Taking Pictures People Want
When a family is relying on you to be their photographer, you must be sure to meet their expectations, both stated and implicit. It is absolutely essential that you meet with them beforehand so they can see your work and understand your approach, style, and skills. It is important to bring a professional-looking portfolio with samples of your work representative of your approach and expertise. This is why amateur photographers sometimes volunteer to shoot events for friends and family. While gaining valuable experience and providing a service, you are also building a portfolio that can help you make the leap to the next level.
When people think of event photography, they often have very specific expectations. Find out what style they want and what pictures are important to them. If you understand their expectations, you will ensure that at the end of the day everyone is happy with the results. If they are insisting that a certain approach be used, it also helps if they bring examples of the approach to the meeting. The less ambiguity there is, the better.
Everyone has a different expectation when it comes to the sort of pictures they want of their special day. Don't ever assume you know what people want without a detailed conversation about it. They may want to see traditional images, or they may prefer something new, different, and innovative. Before you agree to be their primary photographer, they must be sure your style and quality match their expectations. You must be sure that you have the equipment and expertise to properly do the job. Show them your typical work, and in the case of those who would like to see a more innovative approach, show them your experimental and artistic work as well. After this, both you and they will know whether or not your style suits their tastes and standards. This will help you sleep better as you anticipate the big day.
If you are being compensated for your work, a written document (in other words, a contract) that specifies the terms of the agreement is always a good idea. In it, all the particulars of what they want and your reimbursement and responsibilities should be spelled out. This doesn't have to be a big deal or drawn up by a lawyer, but it must contain what both parties expect from the other and be signed and dated by both sides.