July 19, 2011

Featured: WPPI

Yesterday I tweeted (yes, I’m that girl who cross-references her social media…bear with me, I’m making a point I swear!): “Business is a lot like love: if you’ll hold out for the clients who love you for YOU, you’re going to be much happier in the end. If they ask you to change or compare you to someone else, it was never right to begin with.”

It got a lot of response.

And I think part of why it hit such a nerve is because what we’re really looking for, both in business and in love, is people who love us for who we are. To be able to say to the world, “Love me or hate me, take me or leave….but what you need to know is that I’m just like Popeye: I am what I am. And the people who love me, will love me without fail. And the people who don’t, were never going to anyway.”

Sounds pretty good, right? But it of course immediately begs the question, “Ok, so how do you go about finding the kinds of clients who love you for YOU…just as you are?”

And trust me, I don’t pretend to have it all figured out just yet. But what I can tell you is that over the past couple of years, Justin & I have been able to find and book exactly those kinds of clients. Couples who love us for who we are and who we love & adore in return. So how did we do it?

Well…I think the answer is two-fold.

1. Take the time to actually figure out who You are & put it out there. Dating wisdom tells us that you have to know & love yourself before you can expect anyone else to. I believe the same is true in business. So we went to work. And we spent some time getting up close & personal with all the little quirks that make us….us. Things like Justin drinking orange juice with his chocolate cake, our undying need for soft pillows, even the way we do dishes together. And then we put it out there for the world to see. Because we knew that the people who loved that about us, would love it without fail. And the people who didn’t, were never going to anyway.

2. Now figure out what you want your clients to feel in virtue of hiring you. Once we figured out the first part of the puzzle, this part came pretty easy. In short, we knew we wanted couples who believe that we can take the ordinary, run of the mill moments of their lives and reveal them as UN-ordinary for the rest of the world to see. Because what we believe is that it is exactly the quirky, mundane minutiae of their day to day that makes up their whole lives. Together. We want couples who believe that no one else in this world could possibly understand who they are together the way that we do, because of who we are together first. But that we could somehow take that and show it to the rest of the world in a way that makes it clear to anyone who sees it. That this is no ordinary love. There are no ordinary moments. And some of life’s greatest love stories happen just when we think no one else is looking.

We are incredibly honored to be featured this month by WPPI, where writer Nayeli Pagaza gets into a lot more about how we find couples who love us for who we are. And how we built a business around the only thing we had to start with: us. If you would like to read more about it, you can do that by clicking HERE.

But in the mean time, I would love to know: what do you hope your clients will feel because they hired you?

  1. ashley barnett

    La-la-la love this! This is exactly where we are right now in figuring out who we are and how to put it out into the universe! I want my clients to feel loved, valued, respected, completely affirmed in their decision to hire us and ready to shout it from the rooftops. I also want my clients to feel like they can call me on a thursday afternoon to get lunch or ask my opinion about things while they are planning their wedding. I definitely want to be seen as more than their photographers. I celebrate my client’s successes, both before during and after the wedding, and I feel for them whenever they are having a tough time. They become part of my family, and I want them to feel the same about us. :)

  2. Jennifer Langille

    I still can’t get enough of reading the first quote that kicked-off this week. Again, thank you. Behind the camera and in my day-to-day I feel like "Jenn" (aka. me)and when hired, I want the client to look at their photo(s) and feel like, "that’s me!" and when they feel that – feel really good about who they are – completely. Suppose I want clients who know I’ll make them feel good about themselves before, during and after the shoot – with their photos being something they can revisit over and over again to remind themselves how awesome they are… I feel corny when I re-read my comment, but hey, that’s me!

  3. Chelsea McGowan

    After Spread the Love in January 2010, this is the biggest change we made, and it has paid HUGE dividends to our business. Whoddathunk that we would be MORE successful by being more picky about who we worked with? But we have, and we are. We love what we do, because we love the people we’re working with, and they love us back. And our work is better because of it.
    We want our clients to feel comfortable with us. Not just in a clinical sense… but comfortable like old friends. We see them the way they really are, because they relax and show that to us. We want them to feel invested in us, and proud that we have invested in them. We love having dinners with our clients… we love that some of them send Christmas presents to our kids… we love that they hug us goodbye as they leave their receptions. We are blessed and honored to call these people friends, and that feeling only comes because we won’t work with someone we can’t see ourselves becoming friends with.
    Thank you for encouraging us to make this leap… we’re so grateful for you!

  4. Jessica

    This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately! And I had my ideal clients last week and it was a perfect wedding! I want my couples to know they can call me to vent when things aren’t going right or the way they want them to. Because family and friends just try to fix things. Someone (like me) might be able to come up with something better than they even imagined. And if not, lend a sympathetic ear! I want clients feel completely comfortable trusting me and getting advice from me…even when it comes down to cutting the cake (which I know nothing about):) But they look to me for the answers!!! My bride needs to feel like I’m more than just her photographer and I’m still trying to figure the best ways to do that but for now, I’ve got a strong headstart.

  5. Sarah B

    I love this post – thank you so much for sharing it!

  6. Lydia

    Thanks so much for sharing, Mary! Each time I read about this subject, I feel like I get it a little bit more!

  7. jeramy

    i’ll never forget the year sharon and i went to wppi and i saw you and justin…and i was too chicken to walk up and say hey. i regret that now. good luck

  8. MM

    @Jeramy: no regrets!! Just come up and say hi the next time you see us! :)

  9. Ray

    You guys are such wonderful photographers. It’s great that you know who you are, what you want, and that you’re
    SECURE with it. It would be a dream to have you shoot my whole extended-family. When I have the means for it (long down the road): I hope to be in contact with you. Or: my very own "Alice in Wonderland shoot." ^o^

  10. Kristin Nicole

    Love this! Congrats on the feature!

  11. Kristin Nicole

    Love this! Congrats on the feature!

  12. Gabby / En Route Photography

    Well… I really don’t think this post could have come in a better time… I’m just in the process of launching my business, my blog just went live TODAY! I have so much to learn goint to read the rest of your article right away! Thanks for sharing! You are AWESOME! ;)


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