Washington DC Wedding Photographer : Stephen Gosling Photography
This is going to be an unusual post from me. I don’t usually like to use my blog as a platform for personal posts/statements/discussions/rants/etc… With the exception of entries about Sherlock, my monthly instagram recap and my yearly goals/musings posts, I like to keep the blog on topic; about business; my business – Stephen Gosling Photography. I think of this blog as a business tool. I use it to help generate SEO so that more people can find my work, and I use it to engage, current & future clients; showcasing my work. Again, this entry is going to be a small deviation from that. And it all stems from a coffee mug.
Before I get into the ‘brass-tax’ as it were, I struggled on how to categorize this post. I was originally going to add it to my ‘For Photographers’ section of posts but I think it actually applies to everyone, not just my photographer colleagues. So bare with me if you can, and keep reading this rambling post…
This past weekend I was given a gift by Lisa & Rick. When Lisa & Rick got engaged Lisa’s mum got in touch with me and hired me to shoot an engagement session as her engagement gift to her daughter and son-in-law to-be. Lisa & Rick are friends of mine through some soccer leagues (yes I have been here long enough that I just call it soccer now) that we play in, and Lisa had long been an admirer of my work (or so her mum told me). Shooting that session was a blast. We got some great images, and we of course, chatted about their wedding plans, as occurs often during the engagement sessions that I shoot.
A few weeks after the engagement session Lisa got back in touch on wedding related business to inquire about my packages for wedding day coverage. As it turned out; I was out of their budget for a wedding photographer. No harm, no fowl. There are a lot of photographers out there, especially in this area, and so I set out to find Lisa & Rick some great options for a wedding photographer within their budget. This is where the title of this post comes in to play. Being nice. Now, some photographers, upon finding out that a couple do not have the budget to afford their services would go out on a limb to ‘educate’ the couple about the investment of photography and that their budget might be too low for such an important part of their wedding. This, in some cases is the correct thing to do; for example – when the couple are asking for the world and are only willing to pay a pittance. Lisa & Rick are not this example. Lisa & Rick had a reasonable budget for the things they were asking for. Had this been a few years ago when my pricing was more in line with their budget, then there would have been no need to refer their wedding out and I would have happily booked the wedding myself. But at my current investment level we just couldn’t work it out. So I set out to find them some photographers within their budget and sent them a list of great candidates.
This is where being nice comes in to play again. We as photographers can choose to look at each other in two ways;
- We are competitors out to undercut each other and book every wedding under the sun for ourselves regardless of whether that couple is right for us to book or not.
- We are colleagues. We of course look out for our own businesses first but when a couple comes along that isn’t the right fit or their budget is just not within range of our investment level we can find that couple a colleague of ours to work with that will be a much better match.
I, being ‘nice’, chose the second option.
A few weeks later Lisa emailed me again and asked a couple of questions about the photographers she was thinking about and I happily answered with the information I was able to share. No more than 15 minutes out of my day. And let’s face it; I can pretty much talk about weddings all day.
Now we come to end of our story. I saw Lisa & Rick over the weekend and Lisa comes over and gives me a gift. She thanked me for all the help I gave her in finding her the right photographer for them. And now I have an awesome new coffee mug which we all know will be used copiously!
I will now leave you with a little poem;