A little while back we got an email from a sweet bride. Like we talk about in The Guide, we use a lot of the questions on ourinquiry form to help us filter our clients to make sure we’re only taking the weddings where we are truly the best fit for that couple. Because, of course, what we’ve found is that when we’re only taking those couples where we’re truly the best fit for what they’re looking for….they’re a lot happier & so are we!
One of the most helpful questions on that inquiry form to help us figure that out is just an open ended comment box that says “Tell us what you’re looking for.” There is no character limit, so that couple can tell us as much as they want. And in doing so, they’re really giving us an idea of whether we would be a good match with them or not. This particular, very sweet bride filled out her answer and when it was all said & done, it may as well have said “the exact opposite of what you guys do!” :)
To give you an idea, one of the things she mentioned was that she didn’t want a lot of “dark, black & white photography.” I don’t know if you guys have noticed or not :) , but we LOVE us some black & white photography around here. It’s become a huge part of our style and our work. And for us the moodier, the better! So I pretty quickly knew we were probably not going to be the best fit for her. I wrote back letting her know, and she responded asking if we could just change up our style for their day and then go back to how we shoot after. I responded with a very kind, but firm “no,” and I did it for three major reasons.
*In the heat of the moment, we’re always going to shoot the way we see the world Even if I promised to change up our style and go for more of what they were looking for just to get the job, the truth is in the heat of the moment, when push comes to shove, and when things are happening a mile a minute like they always do at a wedding, we’re always going to revert back to how we shoot naturally. When that moment is unfolding right in front of us, we’re always going to end up shooting from the gut….from the heart. The way that we see the world. And that’s always going to lead back to that style we have already.
*We’ve spent a lot of time figuring that style out & we believe in it Our style doesn’t just come from what aperture we use or what photoshop actions we put apply. Our style is driven by a fiercely believed in Why that guides every action. A belief in the beauty of light, a belief in the truly authentic moment, and a belief in what these images will stand for over the test of time. We’ve spent years figuring out exactly why we do what we do & the how that goes along with that. And for me, I would rather lose a job than ever waiver on that.
*The clients who love us for US are going to help grow our business much faster anyway. I could say yes to this bride, knowing full well that I’ll probably disappoint her in the end anyway and tie ourselves up in knots in the process. Or I could say “No, but let me help you” and help her find someone who really is a good match for her. And for me, that move has way more integrity because we’re looking out for her interests as much as our own. In doing so, we’ll keep a good referral from her if any of her friends do happen to love black & white photography. And it keeps the door open for us to hold out for those clients who truly love us & the work we do just as it is. Because those are going to be the clients that we work the hardest for, get the best work at their weddings, remind us of why we love what we do, and they’re also the ones who go out shouting our praises for the world to hear. Those are the clients who will go to bat to make sure we keep getting inquiries from people just like them, and that we have a calendar full of clients who were looking for exactly our style. So in the end, it works out best for everyone involved.
I know that whatever stage you are in your business, it can be really hard to think about turning work down when there are bills to pay & mouths to feed. But if you could see it from above & over the long haul, trust me being willing to hold out for the clients who love you for YOU (and will help build the business with their two hands alongside you) is the far less risky move. And…the MUCH happier one!
Happy Pancake Day y’all!