How to Make Photographers Love You  

How to Make Photographers Love You


As wedding videographers, we constantly have to get better at working with photographers, because so often:

  • We're upset with them
  • We ignore them
  • We could care less about building a relationship with them

Developing good relationships with photographers is one of the best things you can do to propel your business forward. 


  • They will share your work on social media
  • They will refer you to their brides
  • They will invite you to styled shoots
  • They will allow you to be more creative on the wedding day


But if you don't know how to work with photographers, it can be a nightmare. 

  • What do you do if the photographer is a jerk?
  • Or what do you do if you've never worked with a photographer before? 


Step 1 - Sympathize

I want you to put yourself in the photographer's shoes for a second. 

For us, as wedding videographers, every wedding we shoot has a photographer present. 

I think I've only shot one wedding in my entire career where there hasn't been a photographer there!

Photographers, however, rarely work with videographers. 

Most photographers I talk to tell me: “Last year I shot 25 weddings and only worked with 2 filmmakers. They were in all my shots and really made my life difficult." 

You need to realize that most photographers have had very bad experiences with videographers, so when you come into the wedding day, don't be shocked if they're a little standoffish. 

That is going to be normal because they hardly ever work with filmmakers. Breathe and ask yourself:

"How would I like to be treated if I had the perception of videographers that most photographers have?"

This will make the whole day go a lot smoother. 



Step 2 - Establish Trust

Next, you're going to want to establish trust. This is huge.


Engage with them on Instagram

Right before the wedding day, find the photographer on Instagram. Make sure to follow their account, and make sure to leave a couple of thoughtful comments on some of their most recent posts.

Make the comments genuine and specific:

  • “Wow, the colors and tones in this photo are insane. I can feel the emotion of the couple coming through."
  • “You have such a way of capturing the still, unseen moments of the day."

Next send a message that says:

  • Hi, my name is ____ from _____. I can't wait to work with you. I love that your work is _______. Let me know if you need anything from me. See you on ____.” 

30 days before the wedding, send the couple a questionnaire. In that questionnaire, ask the bride for the photographer’s phone number.

By sending that text before the wedding:

  • It gets the photographer excited to work with you.
  • It breaks down any walls they have and causes them to see that you care about them.
  • It opens up the idea that you are collaborating with them and are not going to plow through them on the wedding day.

Important Tip

When the photographer first walks into the room, stop what you're doing, put your camera down, and introduce yourself.

  • “Hi,____. It is so awesome to meet you. I want you to know that I'm really pumped about shooting with you. Let me know if you need anything during the day, or let me know if I'm ever in your way. I really want to make this the best for the couple.”

You don't have to copy that phrasing exactly, but the heart of it is: we're here to work together, not separately. 

At the end of the day, both of your bosses are the couple, and you want to make sure that the couple gets amazing photos and also an amazing film.

In the end, establishing trust is huge. It has really changed the game for me. 



Step 3 - Communicate 

Communication is key in any good relationship.

Especially with a wedding photographer–wedding filmmaker relationship.

Remember, photographers have no idea:

  • How you work
  • Where you place your cameras
  • What shots you need for your edit
  • How and when you need to capture audio
  • How long you need to hold on a pose for a usable shot

Imagine starting a brand new job and you're asked to deliver perfect results with a team you have never worked with.

That is what a wedding day is. It's a massive day that has thousands of dollars wrapped up in it, and literally all your fellow employees are people you've never worked with before. 

  • You don't know their temperament.
  • You don't know how they work. 

That's why it's so important to communicate. 

1 - Start of the day communication 

Before the day starts, walk up to the photographer and share who you are and how you shoot and operate.

  • Example: "Hi, I'm ______, and I'm super pumped to work with you. I love to capture authentic moments, so I don't do a whole ton of posing. Video is a bit harder to edit then photo, though, so I may need to move the couple closer to the light here and there. I also love capturing the portrait session with the couple. For me, authentic emotion is everything, so I usually bring music and just let the couple do their thing."

Usually the photographer will respond with how they work, and at this point you two can start collaborating on how to best work together to get what you both need. 

2 - Before the ceremony communication 

The ceremony is one of the parts of the day that creates the most friction between photographers and videographers.

How can we avoid this?

Explain everything:

  • Take five minutes before the ceremony starts and explain where you are going to be at each part of the ceremony.
  • Next, ask them where they are going to be.
  • Collaborate and figure out a game plan to not be in each other’s shots.

3 - Portrait Communication 

Things get pretty heated during portraits because:

  • The photographer really wants epic shots.
  • The videographer wants epic shots.

This usually results in mayhem. 

Especially if the photographer’s style is 100% different than yours.

For example:

  • Your style is natural and unposed. 
  • The photographer’s style is very posed, and they use a flash.

This results in you not being able to shoot when they are shooting. 

Solution 1 - Let the photographer start

  • During the first 5-10 minutes of the session, let them take the reins. 
  • During this time, observe and shoot out of the photographer’s way.
  • During this time, ask yourself:
  • How does the photographer work?
  • What is this couple comfortable with when it comes to posing?
  • What's the photographer’s communication style with the couple?
  • Once you know all these things, you can come in and get your shots quickly and effectively. 

Solution 2 - Let the photographer lead

  • When the photographer has the couple in a really rad lighting situation or pose, I will walk up to the photographer and just really quietly ask: "Hey, can I just grab one thing at this location before we move spots?” 
  • Photographers actually really appreciate when you take the couple for a little bit. It gives them time to think about their next shot. Photographers are “on” the whole wedding day and barely have time to think. If you're taking over for two or so minutes at one location, it gives them a couple minutes to rest and to be like, "Okay, where do I want to take the couple next? What do I want to do with them?" 

Important Tip

When you do take over, and it should only be for one or two minutes, don't completely take over to where the photographer is overwhelmed and doesn't feel like they can get the shots they want. 

As you put this into practice, you'll find that the photographer will start asking you if you need anything before you move to the next location. 

That's really where you want to be, and communication is the path to get there!


Problem Solving - Photographer is a jerk

Now, I've had this happen a couple times in my career, and it's hard. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It is difficult, but it's only happened a handful of times. Most of the time, this is not going to be your experience.

There are some photographers who really just have a bad stigma about video, and they're not willing to work with you at all. 

First, don't change any of the steps: 

  • Make sure you reach out to them. 
  • Make sure that you really consider them throughout the day. 
  • Make sure they get their shots. 

For most of the day, just let them do their thing. Try not to step on their toes, and just be as accommodating as possible. It's not worth the fight that would happen by trying to get all up in their grill.

It's gonna make the couple feel awkward, and you really don't want to go there.

Usually, by treating them with respect, they will open up a bit and let you get what you need. 

However, if they still won't budge, use the take it to the boss method. 

Take it to the boss method

  • The photographer won't let you get any shots.
  • Don't panic.
  • Calmly walk up to the bride and groom and say:
  • "I'd love to get _____ shot with you two. It would be incredible for the video. Is that okay with you? It will just take 5 minutes."

If they say yes, the photographer is not gonna say anything, because the photographer is not your boss—the couple is. And if the couple wants to do something, the photographer has to be okay with it. 

That's how to respectfully bypass a jerk photographer and still get what you need when a photographer is really just not working with you. 

It's really sad when that happens because it's a disservice to the couple, and it just makes for really awkward vibes. 

However, when it happens, do not match their mean attitude. 

Say, "Okay, this is happening. And I'm going to work around it." If the couple asks you why you didn't get a certain shot, say:

“Hey, you know, I really tried to do that, but the photographer was making it hard for me to get certain shots."

There's only so much you can do. Don't beat yourself up. It's okay if you don't get all the shots you want from every wedding you shoot. 


Step 4 - Build a Relationship

I think a lot of videographers are scared of photographers because they hear a lot of horror stories and vice versa. 

We need to start thinking about photographers as our friends and as collaborators we can work with in the future.

After the wedding, if you really liked working with a photographer:

  • Follow them on Instagram.
  • Frequently leave genuine comments on their posts and stories.
  • Create a saved folder on IG with all the local photographers in your area. That way, you can always remember to follow up with them.

Really maintain that relationship, because it's probably going to be one of the best relationships you have in the industry. Don't just go in and go out of weddings. Follow up with these people, and they can become some of your biggest advocates in the future.



When you learn to work together with photographers in the ways I outlined, your weddings are going to be infinitely better. Who knows, you might even befriend a photographer at a wedding who then becomes your business partner down the road, which is exactly what happened to me. 

I met a photographer at one of my first weddings. We hit it off, and he now works on our team! He's our creative director, and he is incredible! 

Photographers are an amazing, amazing resource. And they're incredible at what they do. At your next wedding, remember: "Photographers are your friends, not your adversaries."

David Reynosa

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