My mom first let me know a couple of months ago, that someone would be contacting me regarding photographing their wedding. We first met Lisa and Adam in the new year and we instantly fell in love with them. Lisa's mom was also at our meeting, as well as her best friend, two dogs and cat. They are big huggers, which I love. There is a time and a place for formality, especially in business but I instantly know if a bride and groom hug me, that they feel comfortable. And comfort leads to trust, which leads to a great working relationship.
We pulled up my website during the meeting and Lisa was oohing and ahhing, talking about wanting those specific moments for her wedding. I explained to her that we rarely stage these moments, and that her day would be full of her own unique memories. They hired us, and were not that interested in an engagement session, since their wedding is only weeks away.
As part of our packages, we include an engagement session, not only for the couple to warm up to the camera and get beautiful photos taken, but for us to get to know them on a more personal level. When we show up to their wedding day, it as if we are old friends, which makes for some beautiful and relaxed photos.
Lisa and Adam weren't terribly interested in posed portraits, so I knew I had to be creative in my insistence of the engagement session. I emailed her asking if they would like casual photos taken of them and their animals. Their dogs are a huge part of their wedding day so it only seemed fitting. Lisa squealed at this thought and secretly I knew how this was going to go down.
We rescheduled our shoot on Saturday due to the wind and snow, but yesterday was a perfect day to play with the dogs in their yard. When the canines were tired out, I asked if it was okay to take a few photos of the two of them, and even Lisa and her mom who had stopped by for a bit.
The results did not surprise me. After an hour or so, the couple were getting right into it, and when I asked for ideas of their own, they had mentioned showcasing their full back and arm tattoos. I loved this, and got to see a different side to them. It is often the end of the photography session that, if I've done my job properly, they feel comfortable enough to suggest their own ideas. And I love that, as it means the client is also present and invested in the session. A photographer can only do so much directing to get what they want out of the client.
We have been changing things up over here a bit with our business practices. As our 2012 prices have increased, we have also paid specific attention to detail with the entire wedding process. We want to ensure our clients not only have beautiful photos, but an entire experience worth talking about. Throughout the year, the client is sent little mailed surprises, and in the weeks leading to the wedding day, we invite them to our home for a gourmet dinner cooked by Michael. We conduct most of our meetings at our home as we believe it better acquaints our clients with us; not only as a photography team but as a husband and wife who can understand and empathize the stress of planning a wedding.
We have created several detailed documents in order to further understand what our couples are all about, how they see their day unfolding and a detailed questionnaire which we were so fortunate to get from Nashville husband and wife team Zach and Jody Gray. I have really taken the time to understand where my time was wasted, what has gone wrong and most importantly, what I'm doing right.
We have been taking several workshops lately which have let us know that we are on the right track, and also offered areas where we can improve on. We are upgrading our equipment, booking less weddings and offering a more boutique approach to all of our clients. I've discovered that if you give your clients an amazing experience, they can't help but be your biggest fans. To this date, I haven't spent a dollar on advertising so I must be doing something right. In regards to equipment, I heard a quote this weekend from boudoir photographer Christa Meola. She mentioned that new photographers are often intimidated with their minimal equipment and she recalls shooting for three years on an entry level camera and one lens...she said that she wore that equipment as a badge of honor and not a badge of shame. Isn't that true of all things in life? When you have to work harder at something, when things aren't as easy straight away, aren't you better off for it in the end?
We are excited to kick off wedding season in 59 days with Lisa and Adam. It blows my mind that April of last year was my first wedding shot in Punta Cana.
I guess the saying rings true that luck truly favours the well prepared.
Lisa and Adam, we can't wait to see you soon. Here are some of my favourite shots from yesterday, and many more for your eyes only. Cheers to a beautiful couple.