Every time your phone rings, it's because the person on the other end has a problem. They have a problem - and their hope is that you have a solution. If they went through the trouble to call you, it's because they believe that you can help solve their problem.
As a wedding photographer, it's tempting to believe that our clients have a wedding photography problem. We think 'these people are getting married, and they want some photos taken, that's why they called me.' Not only that, but they clearly want the best possible photos that they can afford - so they called me, the best in town.
In fact, more than a wedding PHOTOGRAPHY problem, our industry has tempted us to believe that our clients really have a "wedding PHOTOGRAPHER" problem. We seduce ourselves into believing that it's about our style, our personality, even our ability to entertain and impress. We have convinced ourselves that it's really not even about our photography - but about US.
I do think that there is certainly an important connection that we make with our clients. And I believe that connection helps us to solve their problem. The mistake we often make is that we're trying to solve a wedding photography, or wedding photographer problem. It's understandable - since most of clients believe that is their problem as well.
Unfortunately, it's not. I think there's a different - deeper - problem that our clients really bring to us. I believe strongly that the problem isn't that they need pretty pictures of their wedding, it's that they want to remember the way they feel at their wedding. See, our clients call us because deep down inside, they want to know that they'll be able to experience their wedding every time they look through their album, or watch their slideshow.
Clients don't hire photographers because they want to remember what their wedding dress looked like - they want to remember what it felt like when they first put it on and looked in the mirror. They don't need detail shots so they can remember what the reception venue looked like - they want to remember what it felt like to walk in and be surrounded by the people they love most. They don't care about first dance photos - they care about remembering the first time they embraced as husband and wife.
They come to us because they hope and trust that we'll be able to offer them a solution. They bring us a huge challenge - to create for them, images that bring them back to the emotion of their wedding day.
It's about them. It's about their wedding. It's about the story that started long before we ever got involved. It's about the details, the people, the moments, the smells, the light, the color, and the excitement. It's about everything they've dreamed about, coming to life before them.
When the phone rings, they have a problem. They want to remember the experience - and the feeling - of their wedding. Our job is to be the answer to THAT problem. The photographers who truly succeed, and build businesses full of happy clients, are the photographers who dedicate their craft and their art to solving that problem.
The next time the phone rings - or you get an email inquiry - think about being the solution to the real problem. What might you do different?