When it finally hit us, it was like a moment of Zen. But it took three years and 60 weddings to find ”it.”
We had grown confident in our work, playing by the rules of posing and lighting. Our customers were thrilled, but something was still missing: Our photos dreadfully lacked elements of true life, action or feeling. We found ourselves stuck in a rut creating beautiful, yet empty photos.
The elegant, simple solution came from one of the most admired photographers in the world: Jerry Ghionis. At his workshop, fledgling photographers like ourselves asked him how to become better photographers. His answer really hit home for us: ”To be a better photographer, just be a better person.”
The light bulb went off. What if we integrated being better people into our client experience?
We went on a mission to start incorporating the traits that characterized our success at life and marriage into our brand. We changed our business name, from ”S & B Photography” to simply “Seth and Beth,” which let clients connect with us on a more personal level and showed how vital our marriage and partnership is to us.
We met with clients more often, occasionally offering complimentary mini-engagement sessions. We hosted more dinners with clients and attended rehearsal dinners to create connections with clients’ families and friends. We asked more questions about who they were as a couple and learned about their history and vision for their wedding. We memorized their families’ names along with the bridal party, which happily surprised them. Clients soon became like friends and with it came an increased drive to work harder to tell their love story.
We realized that on a wedding day, we could be ourselves—outgoing, extroverted, intriguing, witty, confident and caring. Our goal was to create an environment of positivity, laughter and happiness. We wanted to be one of the best, unexpected memories of a clients’ wedding, while leaving a positive impression on all the guests. We put on boutonnieres, tied dozens of bow ties, embraced grandmas like they were our own and danced at every reception. By integrating ourselves as people in the crowd, the party’s awareness of our cameras seemed to disappear. Our clients’ photos started bursting with life. We focused less on cakes and shoes, and more on belly laughs, tearful hugs and raw, pure emotion. We photographed what our weddings felt like more than what they looked like.
We cared more and feared less. The results were immediate and incredible. We successfully increased both the number of weddings we booked (around 20 weddings in 2013 to 34 weddings in 2016) and the prices of our services, which have tripled over the last three years. Our referrals drastically increased, many coming from former bridal party members.
The best part about all of this: It cost nothing. It takes some effort, but the rewards vastly outweigh any expense.
It Makes All the Difference When You…
- Arrive early and act the part. Be overly confident. Show them that they’ve hired a true professional.
- Memorize the names of the VIPs. The respect you gain will serve dividends throughout the entire day.
- Shoot through moments and take thousands of photos. Even if it feels like you covered everything, keep shooting. It gets the clients more accustomed to your presence and the sound of shutter clicks. They’ll begin to ignore the camera within minutes. This will set you up for the rest of the day.
- Smile, smile, smile! The positivity is contagious.
- Take time to dance your butts off with the clients and their guests at the end of the day. Guests are happily shocked when the photographers are cool enough to dance. It shows that you love what you do and you love their wedding day.
- End the night with hugs and enormous gratitude to build on the new relationships you have made.
Seth and Beth Kerechanin are a husband-and-wife wedding photography team based in Columbus, OH. They met at a 7th grade birthday party and now have two kids, Geo and Hank.