"WE'RE READY TO BOOK, WHY DO WE NEED TO MEET YOU FIRST?"
I get asked this a lot. And to be fair, it's a completely valid question!
Here's the story.
When potential clients are interested in booking me for their wedding, I always require that we meet up in-person before I allow them to sign the contract and finalize the booking process (or we schedule a Google Hangout if they're out of state). And when I mention this, I often get asked if we can simply move forward with the booking process and then meet later or why I'd want to meet if the wedding is still a long while off – and I get it. From the outside looking in, this policy can seem a bit strange.
LET ME EXPLAIN.
If you've followed my work for any amount of time, you'll probably be very aware that my work is deeply personal. I approach photography as a storyteller, not merely an image-taker. And in a digital-obsessed world, that personal connection can be very hard to cultivate. Conversations often exist strictly on the screens of our phones and real relationships can be incredibly hard to build.
But I approach things differently.
I view the sessions I photograph and the memories I capture not simply as a sale between customer and cashier but rather as a relationship between two adventurers. And relationships? Relationships are two-way conversations, not one-way transactions.
So here's why I require in-person meetings before my clients can finalize their bookings...
Relationships are the absolute foundation for everything I do. I firmly believe that people are the most themselves when they're with those they know and trust and because it's my ultimate goal to capture photos of my couples that authentically reflect their personalities, I want every opportunity to get to know them better and allow them to get to know me. These meetings allow us to start building that relationship and get a feel for each other's personalities before the booking process even happens. Plus, who wants to meet their photographer for the first time only minutes before a photoshoot??
If you've never planned a wedding before, let me tell you – wedding planning comes with a TON of questions. And trying to answer all of those questions over email or text can be incredibly time consuming. At these initial meetings I walk through every step of my process from start to finish and allow plenty of space for the couple to ask anything and everything they can come up with. That way once the booking is complete most of the questions are already answered and we can focus on the super fun part of this process – actually planning the wedding and capturing amazing moments on camera!
It's no secret that I approach my job quite differently than a lot of other businesses. I'm all about helping my prospective clients find the best match for their photographer – even if that isn't me! Wedding moments are memories you never want to forget and the photographer you hire to capture those moments will have a massive impact on how you remember your special day. That's why I schedule these meetings – to present openly and honestly the way I approach my work and showcase my unique perspective on photography, relationships, and business in general. At the end of the day, I simply want to give couples a transparent look at my process and the way I approach my work and then let them make the choice with all the facts in front of them. But that perspective isn't gained without actually sitting down and talking things over, so meeting up and actually having a conversation is paramount in making sure my couples book the right photographer for their special day.
Get the idea? When I ask clients to meet me before we book, it's never so I can tack on one more meeting to an already-busy schedule or so that I can try to make some sale (I never do a sales pitch at my client consults).
Rather, my consults are about personal connection, allowing us to ignite the fire of a relationship that will only build as we embark on the adventure of planning a wedding and then authentically capturing the memories as two loves join as one through the celebration of the wedding day and all the joy that accompanies that process.