Business + Marketing

How to Strengthen Wedding Photography Client Relationships

June 17, 2021

By Maddy Morgan


Gina Brocker and Angie Bonin of Angelina Rose Photography banded together to start a workshop, Revealing the Narrative, that guides other wedding photographers through how to set up a thriving business post-pandemic.

Updated as of 7/29/22.

Wedding photography client relationships are at the heart of Angie Bonin and Gina Brocker’s individual wedding photography businesses as well as their shared business, Revealing the Narrative, an online course that walks wedding photographers through creating a sustainable photography business. They build wedding photography client relationships based on a foundation of trust and communication and then document these personal connections on clients’ wedding days. Without access to the intimacy of these relationships, Bonin and Brocker wouldn’t be where they are today.

[Read: RF + WPPI Wedding Photography Tips and Trends]

Over the past couple of years, documenting these wedding photography client relationships has only become more central to their work; our collective isolation allowed everyone the opportunity to reassess what’s truly important. In the wedding industry, some couples made the difficult decision to postpone their weddings until they were able to hold them with family, friends and loved ones. Others decided that their love was the most important part of the wedding, and held elopements or micro weddings with only those closest to them.  

How the Pandemic Affected Wedding Photography Client Relationships

two grooms getting ready at a wedding
© Angelina Rose Photography

“Our collective isolation has allowed all of us the opportunity to reassess what’s important to us,” the partners explain. “In the wedding industry, some couples decided to postpone their weddings until thy could hold them with family, friends and loved ones. Others decided that their love was the most important part of the wedding and held elopements or micro-weddings with only those closest to them.”

[Read: A Guide to Elopement Photography When Couples Downsize Weddings]

For Bonin and Brocker, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic hit at a particularly challenging time, just as they were preparing to launch a new facet of their business. They had combined their individual strengths, along with their years of experience in wedding photography, into an online course for current and aspiring wedding photographers to hone their skills or launch a successful business. Rather than being sidelined by the shifting state of the world (and the accompanying changes to the wedding industry), the duo used the opportunity to fine-tune their skills and dig deeper into what has set them apart as wedding photographers.

[Read: Making the Leap to Full-Time Wedding Photography]

“This year ended up being a great year to challenge and tighten up our documentary-style photography,” Brocker says. “We got to capture connection and relationships in this small, stripped-down setting after being deprived of that deep connectivity for so long.”

bride and groom hugging at southeast asian wedding
© Gina Brocker Photography

“One simple thing I would have never thought about without this pandemic is how much we both use our smiles and our faces to reassure and communicate with our clients on their wedding day,” Bonin adds. “It really made us dive deeper in the wedding prep to allow them to trust us and gain more comfort with us beforehand.” 

[Read: Yes, Wedding Photographers, It’s Worth Attending Your Clients’ Rehearsal Dinners]

The solution to the pandemic wasn’t to shift their approach or compromise what they strive for, but to instead show how their services could work perfectly due to the focus on human connection and storytelling.

Build Comfortable Levels with Wedding Photography Clients

Bonin and Brocker both found that the wedding photography client relationships they built became more important than ever because it allows them to document a client more authentically when they forget about the camera and feel at ease. Topics like these are included among the modules in their course, Revealing the Narrative, where they walk through how they impart this feeling of trust from the very beginning.

Brocker explains that from the moment a prospective client visits your website, you want to build a connection with them and allow them to feel comfortable. As you talk with them on the phone, explain your process further so they understand that they can relax, interact and be themselves while you photograph. On the day of the wedding, read the room, ease them into the photography and always put their comfort first and foremost. When you do this, you set the scene for authentic moments to unfold throughout the day because they’re not looking to you for direction; they know they can do their thing, forget about the camera and trust you’ll photograph it beautifully. 

flower girl in black and white at wedding
© Angelina Rose Photography

Spending time with the couples before the wedding is essential for building a level of trust and comfort that allows them to be themselves in front of the camera. “For me, being unobtrusive hasn’t meant to sit on the side and shoot things with a 70-200mm lens,” Bonin says. “It’s meant to get in there. Be part of the action and embrace that wider lens. Talk to the client and their friends and family, interact with them at the beginning of the day, and they will start to treat you like a guest and just accept you as being there.” 

generations of wedding party guests offer a wedding photography moment not usually seen.
© Gina Brocker Photography

By getting even closer to the action, Bonin and Brocker have been able to capture a whole new level of emotion and connection in their photos. This kind of closeness would be impossible without building that relationship with the couple ahead of time. 

3 Tips to Creating Close Connections with Wedding Photography Couples

To get started, here are some easy tips to help build close wedding photography client relationships and a level of trust that will help you get those authentic, moment-driven photos:

  1. Ask about the couple and their relationships with their friends and family beforehand to gain insight and know what types of interactions to look for.
  2. Look for and follow sentimental moments—the best images are usually created as these unfold in real time.
  3. Create a space where couples can interact naturally during a portrait session. Observe how they interact with each other and then create more authentic interactions, rather than going through a series of poses. 

Choose Tools That Free Up Your Time as a Wedding Photographer

bride and groom hugging at home
© Gina Brocker Photography

[Read: Navigating the Micro Wedding for Your Photo Business]

Another secret to Gina and Angie’s success that they teach in their course is how to choose and use the right tools. At first glance, this may not feel like something that has to do with strengthening a wedding photography client relationships and trust, but it is. Bonin and Brocker realized that every minute saved in running the business allows them to spend more time with clients, (or with their families when they’re done working), and the smoother the process is, the more trust their clients gain in them as photographers.

They use the application Dubsado to manage client workflow, such as tracking leads, canned emails, PDFs, questionnaires, contracts and, of course, a calendar. Dubsado can be synced to cellphones for reminders about meetings, sessions and events, which gives Bonin and Brocker additional peace of mind and allows them to be present when they’re away from their desks. All of these things help them focus on what matters most, while making sure they’re providing a high-quality experience and staying on top of all the details for each client, which in turn helps build more trust and a stronger relationship. 

Why 2021 is a Good Year for Moment-Driven Wedding Photography

wedding photography moment of bride and groom at wedding ceremony outdoors in covid-19
© Angelina Rose Photography

By adapting to the changes in the wedding industry, Bonin and Brocker have been able to grow their skills and develop new insights about the industry they’ve been part of for so long. Luckily, the changes that became necessary this year happened to align with the way they already run their businesses. Small and intimate events lend themselves nicely to hyper personal, moment-driven photography, and with every social experience so carefully monitored and planned, the relationship between photographer and bride or groom was that much more important.

It also turned out to be very timely to offer a course that helps others strengthen their wedding photography client relationships and business in these ways. If there’s one thing that the Revealing The Narrative team cares about, it’s creating the most personalized experience possible, and they’re determined to help others do it too.