“It was February of 2005, and we were on our way to yet another client meeting.
The sample albums had been packed. The gift had been wrapped , complete with a brand new box that we had just spray painted earlier that day in our drive way. So it was now a rich shade of chocolate brown…or, y’know, whatever Krylon’s version of chocolate brown was that year. And the ribbon was tied in our signature teal. Bought for $5 a roll earlier that week at our local craft store.I mustered up every ounce of courage & faith I could find. And we walked out the door. Together.
When we got to the couple’s house, we passed another photographer on his way out of just finishing up a meeting. We danced a sideways shuffle down the narrow walkway, as all three of us did everything we could to avoid eye contact. And as we rang the door bell holding our bags of sample albums, I couldn’t help but feel like the vacuum salesman. Readying myself to dump dirt on their floor. Instantly, my only very recently mustered courage & faith deflated. Like a Thanksgiving float, speared by a stray dart gun. They deflated. And right then I knew: this meeting was over before it had even begun.
We sat at their dining room table over stacks of wedding magazines and one “my dream day” binder, and made awkward chit chat. As my mouth grew dryer I silently prayed for a glass of water, but none was ever offered. And when we tried to find out something, anything, that we might have in common they just asked for our price list. Or more to the point, and what it felt like at the time….our resume.They were in the driver’s seat. The interviewer. The judge and jury of our fate. And we, well we….were in the hot seat. As we sat there waiting for our verdict, I couldn’t help but thinking: this couple is NEVER going to book with us. Right? Who among us hasn’t spent two hours getting ready for a meeting, only to be two minutes in to realize that this couple is never going to book with you? And yet, you still find yourself praying that they will. Because you just need to make rent that month. Your dog (or even better, your children!) have gotten accustomed to having food. And as you watch them scan that right column of numbers, adding and comparing you apples to apples with every other photographer they’ve met with that week without ever once asking to look at one of your images, you silently ask yourself if this….THIS….is what it is to be living the dream.
The first two years of our business are what we refer to as the job interview days of our business. These were the days of feeling like the traveling vacuum salesmen, of driving out to meet at the couples’ houses only to come back home empty-handed & empty-hearted, and finding ourselves sinking further and further from the dream. During this time with the job interview days of our business, we were booking maybe 1 in 5, or on a really good streak maybe 1 in 3, of the couples we were meeting with. And that’s a really terrible booking rate. Because it meant for the 4 out of 5 couples we were meeting with- or 80% of our resources, our time, our money, our energy, how we felt about ourselves- 80% of that was being wasted. More than that, we just started to feel really bad about ourselves.
This wasn’t life unordinary. The road less traveled. This was every cheesy wedding photographer in every movie ever made. And we started to ask ourselves is this working anymore.
Is it worth it any more?
Introducing: The Guide
The above is a passage straight out of The Guide, our brand new e-book all about how we took our business from those “job interview days” of just getting started and feeling like we constantly had to sell ourselves, to being in a place where we are attracting the kinds of clients who have already sold themselves on the idea that we are the only photographers in the world for them. The kinds of clients that we are actually really excited to work with every weekend. People who love us, and who we love in return.
The Guide is over 50 pages of new ideas, images, and information that breaks out step by step how we went from barely booking in our business, to actually getting to pick & choose our entire calendar’s worth of couples. We’ll talk about how we got our names out there, what we did to build up momentum when we were just getting started, and everything that we do to give potential couples the ability to decide that we are absolutely the photographers that they have to have with them on the wedding day….or not. And why either one of those outcomes is a win. Just some of the features that The Guide includes are things like our ideal client profile: what we look for in our clients. the top 5 red flags to look for when filtering, 10 easy ways to create more connection on your site, meetings in a box: 4 complete plans for how to set the room, what to serve & booking gifts depending on your brand, the three things we always say in the course of a meeting that allow couples to build the right package for them without ever once resorting to high pressure sales, 3 clauses you should always have in your contract to protect your bookings, our Lexus Theory of Pricing, and our complete a la carte pricing menu with all of our current prices included & more!
After working on it all summer, we are THRILLED to announce that we are now ready to launch The Guide & it is now officially on sale! The regular price of The Guide will be $150, but all this week to celebrate the launch you can grab it for just $99 when you use the code “JustinMary” at checkout! If you’re ready for a shake up, we would love to have you join us!