At our talk at WPPI this past week, one of the ten things that we covered in “How to Make Your Work Worth More” was getting from Point A in the weddings that you might currently be getting to Point B in the weddings that you want to shoot. And this gap in between could be coming from a variety of sources: the budget you want to be shooting, the style of bride you want, the type of venue, etc. But the point is, I think we all at one point or another find ourselves in a place where we’re up against that gap: where the weddings we’re getting are not quite like the weddings we want to shoot. And how do you SHOW what you want to shoot when you don’t already have it?
The answer is to shoot for the wedding you want.
And what I mean by that, is to walk into the weddings that you have right now and figure out a way to shoot them and show them in just a way that highlights what you most love shooting, the thing that most sets your heart on fire…so that you can attract more of that. Because the thing is, there is a market out there for everything. And whatever it is that I’m showing on my blog and website….that’s essentially me putting out a HUGE billboard saying “this is what I LOVE to shoot. So if you love this too, then hire me!” And the disconnect comes when we continue to post things on our blog & website that aren’t what we love (an example for us would be the bridal party jumping in the air shot)…and it attracts the brides who either already love exactly that OR we end up educating them by what we post that they should want exactly that! So we continue to keep ourselves stuck.
I wanted to break this series up into a couple of parts because there is a LOT that goes into this, and for this first part I just wanted to tackle that first main problem we hear from photographers we sit down with: the weddings I’m getting are either too small or too challenging to shoot to be able to show them for what I want. To tackle that objection head on, we put together a slideshow in our talk (using the amazing program we JUST finally discovered & got to play around with- Animoto!!) that followed the story of two weddings that we shot that have become two of our most signature weddings of all time. Now don’t watch the slideshow just yet, until you read on below for the backstory!
The thing that most people don’t realize when they look at these photos is that the first wedding, Mel & Geoff, was a super small elopement in NYC with only 5 people (us being two of them! So we were not only the photographers, we were the witnesses and signed the license!) and the other, Elisabeth & William, was a gorgeous, larger wedding but all of it took place in the dark because it was shot in the winter in New England and it was really important to them not to see each other before the ceremony. So everything ended up having to be shot inside. On top of that, we had some pretty strict restrictions at the church where we couldn’t move at all and also a pretty tight timeline because there was no First Look with only 15 minutes or so for portraits. So we could have easily said “oh this is a challenging day” and just gone through the motions to get whatever we got.
But for Justin & I, we LOVED both of these couples! We ADORE these guys! And we wanted to be able to show both of their weddings in a way that felt like “Justin & Mary” weddings: classic & iconic couples, rich beautiful details with purpose & meaning, heritage, family, legacy, elegance, and a ton of gorgeous portraits and black & white emotional moments. And I think what’s really amazing there, is that by us walking into these weddings and saying how can we love & serve them by stepping up our game and shooting their weddings in the absolute best light….they have actually become the very weddings that are our signatures and attract us the exact kinds of weddings that we want! AND on their side, because these guys are such amazing people with such a natural grace & elegance about them who loved us and treated us like family, they helped show us exactly WHO it is we want to shoot! That’s a pretty cool full circle right there!
So now, scroll back up & take a look through that slideshow. You’ll see that we paired our favorite images of these two days, with some quotes about what we want our work to stand for, and then at the end you see a little glimpse of us. So in that one slideshow it’s: here’s our work, here’s what we want it to stand for, and here’s who we are together that shapes how we see the world. So this slideshow becomes a pretty powerful “commercial”, attracting exactly the people who love & see the world the way we do. We shoot for the weddings we want & then those weddings do the work for us!
On a final note, we were able to put this whole slideshow together in about 15 minutes (crazy!!) using Animoto, which I am now obsessed with and we will be doing a ton of these for our weddings this year! It’s such an incredible marketing tool! These guys gave us a code to use at our WPPI Platform, and they were so amazing to agree to let us share it here too! So after you check out the slideshow, if you want to give them a try you can sign up using the code “VEGASBABY” for 20% off!
And stay tuned next week for Part II in this series! M:)