Learn. Grow. Thanks. Reflections of a Photographer.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Learn. Grow. Thanks.

Everyday presents opportunities to learn, grow, and count our blessings. Earlier this week, I was presented with all three, rolled up into one beautiful bundle.

Monday evening, I met with Meredith and her future mother-in-law to discuss Meredith’s wedding prior to signing their photography contract. We had already spoken on the phone twice and covered a lot of specifics; however, I wanted the conversation to be more personal and less transactional for two reasons. First, the relationship you have with your wedding photographer (or videographer or planner for that matter) is a very important one. The relationship starts with the first phone call or email and concludes long after the wedding is over, if at all. I have said many times in this blog that the best part of weddings is the people you meet, the friends you make, and the memories you share. I have literally gone on vacations with former clients who are now genuine and deep friends. Regarding the wedding though, it isn’t just a photo I am taking, it is a moment that I am being invited into, an emotion I am being asked to share, or a vulnerability I am being asked to respect while I document the day. The relationship you have with your photographer needs to be a real one. Secondly, no one spends as much time with you on your wedding day as your photographer. Imagine the most important, emotionally charged, and beautiful day of your life and there is an annoying, squeaky third wheel that is distracting you. You don’t want that.

I offered to meet them for coffee. I wanted to get to know Meredith and her vision, and worries, around her wedding. If I was going to be investing a year of my time into helping plan, photograph, and deliver an heirloom wedding album, I too wanted to know who I would be working with.

Meredith approached me with a warm smile. “Brian?” she asked.

“Yes! You must be Meredith. So nice to finally meet you.”

We talked for some time before Carrie, her future mother-in-law joined us. Wedding details were discussed, concerns were addressed, and questions were answered. Ultimately, we all agreed it seemed like a good fit. Carrie needed to excuse herself as she had another appointment, leaving Meredith and I to wrap up our consultation.

Out of curiosity, I asked, “So how did you find me?” I always like to say “thank you” to people who recommend me.

“Well, you shot Joey and Gigi’s wedding. I know them from…and I also know Sam. I think you photographed his proposal and engagement session…”

Then, to my surprise, Meredith mentioned, “I saw you on some preferred vendors lists. Ultimately, I was looking at 30 different photographers and chose you.”

30. Different. Photographers.

I saw there, quiet and humbled. 30 different photographers. Detroit has some amazing, creative, professional, and lovely wedding photographers, many whom I call friends. To be given this opportunity over 29 other photographers was an honor and a responsibility that I didn’t accept lightly.

Ultimately, we finished our coffees and I went home, thinking about our meeting. I learned. I grew. I counted my blessings.

Learn. Grow. Thanks.

I re-learned beliefs that I have long held: first, who you are as a person and how you treat people is huge. Your reputation will open doors for you and create further opportunities for success. I still keep in touch with Gigi via social media and comment from time to time. Sam is a good friend. I don’t know for sure, but I think my interactions with them may have led to a nod of approval. Secondly, good ol’ fashion word of mouth marketing is still king. Lastly, all the little things you do that you think go unseen…they make a difference. I have been told numerous times even before a couple books me that they heard I was great to work with and made sure all the little details were taken care of before the wedding.

Learn. Grow. Thanks.
No, I am not a makeup artist, but when Isabella asked me to reapply her lipstick, we all had a good laugh.

I grew in the belief that my work is desirable and can go up against some of Detroit’s best. I look at my work so much that I get tired of it. I am not seeing it with a fresh set of eyes or perspective. Meredith, on the other hand, was and noticed all the little details that I attempt to incorporate into my work. Her acknowledgment made it worth it.

Lastly, I counted my blessings. I often get the question of “do you ever see yourself just doing one career, teaching or photography?” The answer has always been, “not right now.” I love what I do. Every day, I get to pursue not only my passions, but things that I truly feel are larger than me and help weave the fabric of society and human lives. Who would want to slow down? Leaving that consultation knowing that I was going to be working with another amazing couple, I couldn’t help but to say “thank you” to the powers at be for allowing me the opportunity to live my dream.

Learn. Grow. Thanks.