If you’ve followed me at all on Twitter, you know that I’m not one to pull punches. I think it’s one of Stacey’s least favorites traits of mine, but I’m stubborn when it comes to saying exactly what I’m feeling!
Stacey and I have been photographing weddings for a little over six years. and while our photography background reaches further back than that … suffice to say, six years in any industry isn’t exactly a career’s worth of work. But even going back a year ago, it’s crazy to see how much our industry has changed. How much it has evolved into a whole new animal.
When we started in this business, there were hundreds of new photographers joining the ranks of “wedding professionals” on a yearly basis. We were two of those photographers. Today, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was in the thousands.
New photographers in the industry are by no means a bad thing. In fact, I believe it makes an industry that was stuck in some pretty old-school ways a much better place. Instead of photographers going from wedding to wedding doing the same shot, with the same lens, on the same backdrop … successful photographers these days are constantly having to stay on their toes. New blood brings new ideas … and new ideas bring a whole set of new challenges to an industry that for so long has been going by the same book.
But with all the great new ideas out there … it seems like there are just as many bad ones.
Stacey and I started shooting weddings, because we loved photography and felt a desire to help give people an amazing experience on one of the biggest days of their lives. To be totally honest … we never expected to make a dime. That said, we’ve been blessed with success over the past six years … having grown both our business and our passion for photography in the meantime.
But looking out on our industry now, it seems like there’s a lot of people getting into wedding photography for what I believe to be the wrong reasons. For them, it’s not about improving your craft. It’s not about developing relationships with their clients. It’s not about providing a stress-free experience, and working selflessly to help their clients.
Heck, for a lot of these folks, it’s not even about the money.
It’s about the recognition. About being known by their fellow peers and becoming one of the “cool kids”. It’s about doing whatever it takes to be considered a superstar. Look around any photography forum, or travel to any photo conference … and I guarantee you the big topic of discussion is how to get featured, how to get published, how to get more money out of each client. Not because these strategies always lead to more bookings … but because they’ll give you something to brag about. Something to hang your hat on.
Few people are talking about caring for their clients, about helping make their wedding day a memorable experience. People seem to care less and less about whether their clients will be happy with their images, and more and more about if they’re worthy of being featured on a wedding blog.
That said, there are some truly inspiring photographers out there … photographers who we believe have their heart in the right place. They care more about their clients, than about their popularity amongst their peers. Photographers who’d rather go the extra mile, than make the extra buck.
You probably haven’t heard of many of these folks … because they could care less if you have.
Like I said … Stacey and I have been blessed with some great success in this industry. There’s no denying that with that success we’ve also seen our share of failures. We’ve been tempted to jump on the popularity train and try to make our way to the front. To be honest, we’ve even tried a couple of times and realized that we’re seriously lacking in the “coolness” area. :-)
But at the end of the day, we’ve found ourselves constantly enjoying the work that we do. We’ve found ways to not stress so much about being liked, and worry a lot more about being appreciated.
Not by other photographers … but by our clients. It’s our biggest goal, day-in and day-out. Our clients’ needs come first whenever possible … because in the end, a wedding day isn’t about us is it?
We’re so grateful to have some amazing role models in the photography world to look up to. People who’s hearts are in the right place, who’ve built solid (and very successful) businesses, and who haven’t let the hype of being great photographers get to their heads.
Don’t get me wrong … Stacey and I don’t consider ourselves amongst those great photographers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to be a little more like them every day. :-)
So why the big mushy speech about loving your clients you might ask?
Well with all of the new folks joining our ranks in the wedding photography world, we want to do our part to make sure they know there’s more than one definition out there for what it means to be a “successful” wedding photographer.
Having an eye for pictures and a knack for business are ABSOLUTE necessities for success. But having a goal for how you want to treat your clients, and a plan for the kind of experience you want to provide them with are just as important.
So we’re taking the knowledge that we’ve learned over the past few years, and offering it to anyone who’s willing to listen.
We’ve decided to host a small, intimate workshop here in our hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Almost weekly, we have inquiries from folks asking if we offer any sort of instruction … and up until now, we haven’t.
But our goal for this workshop will be more then just teaching folks how to shoot in manual mode and find the perfect light. We want people to come to the workshop ready to learn more than just the technical side of shooting and the nickels and dimes of the wedding industry. We’re hoping the folks who attend will be interested in more than just the popularity and “fame” that comes with being a successful photographer.
We’re calling it, “Man and Wife | A Picture Workshop”
The workshop’s main goal will be showing people how we interact with our clients, and how we try to provide them with an amazing experience that will hopefully be one of many highlights on their wedding day. Among other things, we’ll talk about our shooting style, equipment, post processing, business strategies and advertising efforts. We’ll do a couple of live shoots to show you how we like to work in the moment.
But we’ll also spend a good bit of time talking about client relationships. How to develop a friendship with your clients and become more than just another wedding vendor. How to give them an amazing experience … that in the long run, will help you succeed more than any blog feature or magazine ad ever will.
If you feel like your ready to take you new photography business to the next level, or simply looking for a change to the way you’re currently doing things … we’d invite you to consider coming to our workshop, and hearing what we have to say.
You’ll find all of the information you need to know by clicking here …. or navigating to this address: http://simple-color.com/man-wife-a-picture-workshop/
Feel free to shoot us an email, or post in the comments section with any questions you might have … or can’t find answers to at the above link!
Thanks so much, and have a great day!
– Brandon and Stacey