Do to others as you would have them do to you.

So, I was married 333 days ago to my wonderful Catherine. We’ve actually been married longer than for the total amount of time we knew each other before we were married. Crazy huh?

We had a beautiful wedding at my mum’s place. We had our closest friends and family gather together to help us celebrate our public declaration of our love and commitment to each other. It was quite seriously one of the most fun days of our lives.

Catherine & I actually had a few photographer friends help photograph our wedding. Our official & amazing photographer was Simon James. The day after the wedding, he was already sending us photos to remind us of what a wonderful day we had. Our other friends who acted as unofficial photographers (Matt & Katie) created an online slideshow for us, set to music that has now become so dear to us.

Our lives changed like crazy when we were married. We didn’t live together, we hadn’t really gone on holidays together, we hadn’t done lots of things. The adventure centred by our love and commitment for each other had just begun.

It really was the biggest day of our life. The emotions were off the charts. I’m sure most of you have seen the 2 minute sneak peek of our wedding video where I burst into tears when I saw my darling Catherine walk down the aisle, surrounded by a hundred or so of the most special people in our lives.

We spent 6 months or so planning this day, a day that would change the paths of our lives forever.

We had meetings with her parents to discuss budgets, flowers, decorations, photography, videography and most importantly my desire to have a fairy floss machine at the wedding.

Photography was an important one. We had looked at quite a few photographers. One person who we were looking at hiring never returned our calls, one person was booked already shooting a hollywood directors daughters wedding in mexico, and another person just insisted that they be a part of our special day. That man was Simon James.

Having Simon (and the guy who trained me in the beginning) photograph our wedding was an absolute dream. When he turned up the day before the wedding to come and check out the property, I wrapped my arms around him, looked him in the eye and said “I can’t tell you how excited i am that you are here”.

I knew that Simon had my best interests at heart. I knew that there was only one person in the world that had a greater desire for me to have the best wedding photos than I did.

When I look back on the images, I associate so much with them. There is so much of Simon and the times we’ve shared in there. I truly love the images he’s created, because he is a part of them and he is someone whom I love and admire.

I learnt so much about how I can best look after my new friends whom have hired me to photograph their weddings since I’ve been married. I’ve learnt how much the photographer is associated with the images that you treasure. How that task can’t be trusted with just anybody and what a wonderful opportunity the photographer has to be the newly married couples biggest cheerleader.

This morning I received a call. It was from a videographer who was travelling to Sydney to photograph a wedding that is happening in about 10 days. They asked me if I might be available to help them as they had booked a package that requires that they have a photographer there to photograph the wedding also. I asked lots of questions about the couple, what they might be looking for, what style the couple are hoping to achieve in their images and also the logistics of it all. None of the questions could be answered. All this videographer saw were the dollar signs. I could tell they had no interest in who the people were, what they wanted or how they could best serve them, let alone be their biggest cheerleader.

We then got talking about delivery times as I was truly concerned that if I did take them up on their offer that my reputation would suffer as my name would still be associated with the images if they didn’t deliver in a timely manner. They went on to explain that they tell their clients that:

“things take 3-6 months to be delivered…but to be honest…”

 

Now wait for this bit.

 

“…things usually take longer than that.”

 

I quickly let this person know that they are doing the wrong thing by their client. They didn’t seem too impressed.

I know this incident isn’t isolated. I had someone call me recently and ask me to do something else that was similar. They had realised a few days before the wedding that they had double booked and needed me to fill in. I had someone call me a few days ago who had their photographer pull out on them a week before their wedding, actually i’ve had that about 4 times this month.

I think it’s time to look at how we can better serve our clients. I think it’s time when we put profit margins aside to look after the people who are entrusting us to show them the love that is in their life. I think you can only do this by genuinely loving the people first. I’ve met so many wedding photographers who are simply in it for the money. Do you have any idea how many wedding photographers really hate their job? I personally get so much joy from the task that I’m entrusted with and a huge part of that joy comes from knowing that I have genuinely loved and taken care of the people in front of me.

I know so many genuine, loving and other person focussed photographers, there’s lots of great folks out there, but there are also some sharks who you’d want to avoid. I guess you can never really know, but meeting with the photographer is always a great start. I always make sure my meetings with my clients and potential clients happen while we share a meal together, and we get to know each others hearts, not just talk dollars and photos.

I think it’s time for us to do as Jesus said and:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Oh, and if any of you are wondering, we did have fairy floss at our wedding.

James.