This fall, I will have been in this business for 7 years. SEVEN! It’s crazy to look back and see all that’s happened in those 7 years and especially how much my business has changed since then. I started out photographing children and families and now I focus on weddings and births. I started out with my trusty Nikon D90 an 18-200mm kit lens and now am using a Nikon D800 and several lenses that do things I couldn’t have imagined way back when.
And while those things worked for me then (photographing families and children with my D90 and my kit lens), as my business and understanding of my camera grew, things needed to change. My camera has grown with me (in ability and weight! The more they can do, the heavier they are!), my lens collection has grown with me and things about my business have changed and grown too. So I thought I would answer a couple of questions I’ve gotten recently about these things and explain the why behind them!
Why do you include an engagement session with every collection you offer?
This has been something that has changed a couple of times in the last seven years. I started out including it with every collection when I was starting out but it seemed like with every other inquiry I received, the couple asked about taking it out in order to save some money. So, in order to stop getting that question and to hopefully get more brides who were willing and able to pay what I needed to be charging, I began to offer it as an extra add-on. This worked well for a while because some couples had friends take their engagement photos and didn’t need another session like that before the wedding. And some people just weren’t interested in that kind of session.
But what I realized was that when we got to the wedding day, I could tell a difference in the weddings where I’d had that chance of working with the couple before the wedding and when I didn’t. If we’d had an engagement session, the wedding day seemed to go a little more smoothly in terms of the photography. There was less explaining with the poses, there was more confidence from the couple (because they’d done all of this with me before), and I was less of a stranger! So, soon after that, I included an engagement session with EVERY booking because I realized how valuable that short 1.5-2 hour engagement session actually was!
In a couple of hours, on a day when a timeline wasn’t dictating our every move, I’m able to get to know my couples and they get to know me. I get to show them how easy and fun it is to be in front of my camera! This is especially true for the grooms (and sometimes the bride too!). If the guys come to an engagement session, they leave realizing that photos aren’t all that bad. So when the wedding day rolls around, they get to see my familiar face, they know that photos aren’t going to be a form of torture, and they know that all I want as the photographer is to document their day with their beautiful bride.
There are a few rare instances when we aren’t able to do an engagement session before the wedding, but I would say I get to have an engagement session with about 90% of my couples now and it makes all the difference on their wedding day… for all of us!
Why do you now have different collection options when you used to only have one?
This is another one of those things that change when you don’t think they ever will. When I first started out, I offered different collections because I thought brides wanted choices. But then I saw the benefit of only offering one collection that included most everything a bride would need in terms of wedding photography with the option of adding on a bridal session and/or a wedding album. And this worked for a long time! It was wonderful because I wanted to keep things simple for my brides as opposed to overwhelming them. And it kept things easy on my end, especially with book keeping.
But one thing I realized that I wanted for my brides & grooms was for them to walk away from their wedding with a wedding album… an heirloom that would last for generations. A handmade leather book that their grandchildren would love flipping through one day as grandma and grandpa sat beside them reliving the first day of their very own family.
But not many of my couples were adding this onto their collection. So after asking several past brides, many of them said that more would have probably gotten an album if it had come with one of the collections. And as last year came to a close and I was dreaming up things for this year, I took my business back to the structure of having collections and giving my brides several different options. And you know what? More of them are choosing the collection that includes at least one wedding album! And I love it! It’s so much fun making these albums after the wedding, but even more fun delivering the finished product and watching their eyes light up (or glisten with happy tears) as they flip through the thick pages of their wedding day.
What are some good shoes to wear on a wedding day?
I see this question ALL the time in my photography groups on Facebook. And it’s a really good one because when you’re on your feet for anywhere between 8-12 hours a day, you need good shoes!
After shooting weddings for the last 5-6 years of my business, I’m finally realizing the importance of having good shoes on a wedding day. I’ve worn black TOMS before, I’ve worn some generic but decent black flats before, and I’ve been wearing my Mary Jane crocks off and on for a while and even though they are really comfortable, they just don’t fit my brand and what I like to portray when I’m photographing a wedding. I want to look good from head to toe AND be comfortable so I’m hoping that these tieks will do just that! I’ll be wearing them on Saturday for a good 10+ hours so I’ll let you guys know next week how my feet feel the next day!
I love answering questions like these on the blog so if you ever have questions about how I run my business, what I wear on a wedding day, or why I do the things I do, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Happy Thursday, everyone!