Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
In the first couple years of my career I often felt that couples, particularly those older than me, would look at me as if I was too young and that given I was single I was therefore, unqualified to photograph their wedding well. After years of experience and gained confidence, I now know that was untrue and that my age and relationship status was completely irrelevant to the quality of product and service that I offered clients. We’d love to tell you that getting married gave us brand new wedding photography superpowers. The truth is less spectacular. Getting married hasn’t taught us anything about cameras or lighting. We still have to experiment with creative angles and posing. And marketing and advertising (i.e. keeping a blog) can still be very time-consuming.
But getting married has significantly enhanced our most important skill as wedding vendors—the ability to serve and relate to our clients.
We’re fortunate to work alongside many vendors who truly understand the value of caring for people, and put it into practice with excellence. But we believe that many more in the wedding industry have lost sight of the simple reason that our jobs exist in the first place. The wedding industry exists to help people get married. So shouldn’t we care just as much or more about marriage? It’s no secret that the more someone cares about something, the greater effort they’ll pour into doing it well. Of course we have always cared about photography, and we’ve poured a lot into it. But in the process leading up to and following our wedding, we have discovered that we have an even deeper passion for marriages and relationships. This whole industry is devoted to one day in a couple’s life. If we’re passionate about what we do as wedding vendors, our first goal should not be to take excellent pictures, or craft exquisite flower arrangements, or plan a seamless event. Our first goal should be to make weddings as meaningful as possible. And after our own wedding, we have discovered a deeper level of care for our clients and their marriages.
“So what?” you may ask. “Just because you care about people, does that really mean my wedding photos will be better?”
Yes! Yes it does.
True, technical photography skills are crucial, and being a caring person doesn’t directly result in creativity or expertise. But when passion for both the relationship and the skill are married, here are three important ways that getting married has improved our ability to be excellent wedding photographers:
1) We know what you’re going through and it was recent, not 25+ years ago when photography and weddings were different! As wedding vendors, we have cultivated a knowledge of our industry. For many years, we have been able to offer informed advice to couples navigating the murky waters of wedding planning. But until now, we couldn’t speak from firsthand knowledge. Now that we’ve done it ourselves, we can more easily identify with our clients. Being able to identify with people is the foundation of strong portrait photography. Furthermore, the fact that we understand what you’re going through places us squarely in your corner. Because we know what your experience is like, our relationship with you will not be adversarial. We want to make the lead-up to your wedding day as stress-free as possible. Now that we have added firsthand experience to our industry knowledge, we are more equipped than ever to help guide you through the process.
2) You will have a better experience on the day of your wedding. On your wedding day, you are surrounded by friends and family who love you, but you will still spend most of your day with your photographers. You’ll do your best to greet everyone and engage with your family and friends, but we will be by your side the entire time. Doesn’t it make sense that you should have photographers who love you too? The results will show in your photos. If you’re spending all day with people who are most concerned about the quality of your wedding, you will be more naturally relaxed. Natural relaxation results in natural smiles. The stress you’re experiencing on your wedding day will show up in your photos, and we want you to be at ease! Furthermore, when you’re looking back through your photos months or years later, you are likely to remember many of the mistakes and frustrations from your wedding day. So it only makes sense that if you are spending most of your day with photographers who genuinely care about you and will go above and beyond to make your day perfect, you will have fewer frustrating moments to look back upon.
3) You will have friends with genuine concern for the health and longevity of your marriage. The most valuable lessons we learned in the process of getting married came from our premarital counseling. Ok, so full disclosure here: we began our premarital counseling before we were even engaged. We sought out a pastor to explain the principles that lead to a strong marriage, and we also invited an older couple whom we respected and had been married 50+ years to be our ‘marriage mentors’. That all may sound extreme, but we did it because we take marriage so seriously. We don’t expect everyone to take such radical measures, but we do care deeply about the health of our clients’ marriages. We believe that wedding photos have the power to remind us of our first love, and evoke a desire to do marriage well. So we are driven to capture moments that will have lasting beauty. Because we take marriage seriously, we see excellent and timeless photography as a responsibility, and that definitely makes us better at what we do.
So the truth is that our newfound growth as wedding photographers didn’t happen overnight. We didn’t put on some rings and sign a piece of paper to achieve instant improvement. It took time and effort in both the processes of planning our own wedding and working through pre-marital counseling. But the things we learned about planning a wedding, and the things we are learning about being married have helped us immensely. We have spent years honing our photography skills. We are continuously learning ways to improve our business practices. We have studied our industry and its inner workings. But until we got married, we didn’t fully understand the most important quality we can have as wedding photographers…
Caring about marriages.
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