March 14, 2013
Alright … it’s about to get real here for a minute.
Today something happened that shook me to my core, and it made me realize something that I had never really thought about before.
When clients hire me to shoot their weddings, it starts as a formal business transaction … it’s a light-hearted, casual conversation of course, but the topics of discussion usually consist of the layout for the day, the type of imagery they are looking for, and conversations on budget and pricing. All very relevant things, but also very much on the surface and impersonal. The consultation ends with a couple of firm handshakes, and off they go.
When we get together for their engagement session, I really use it as an opportunity to get to know them. We talk about what their families are like, how they met, how he proposed, etc. What my clients don’t know is that after the session when I get back into my car I jot down notes about what I have learned. Okay … I’m realizing now that this may sound a touch creepy, but my intentions are pure I promise. It is important to me that I treat my clients as people … as individuals … and not just as a number and a paycheck.
We meet again a couple of weeks before the big day for a pre-wedding meeting. By this time I feel like I’m really starting to get to know them. I review my “creepy” notes beforehand so I’m sure to be reminded of the important details. We chat, and laugh, and often hug at the end of this meeting. Confession … I’m a hugger. It is what it is.
By the morning of the wedding, I’m now downright giddy. I feel like I get the honour of capturing the most important day of two people I’ve grown quite fond of. I’m excited to see how she will look in her dress … and even more excited to see his face when he first sees her in it! I have the privilege of spending the entire day with an awesome couple and their dearest loved ones as they vow to spend their lives together. Call me emotional if you want, but I wear those suckers on my sleeve! I always laugh … I usually cry … and by the end of the day I feel like a part of their family.
The next few weeks are spent culling and editing the images, which allows me to relive the whole day in slow motion. I laugh again … I cry again (alone in my office … I know, I’m a dork). But for some reason by this time I actually feel attached to my clients. It doesn’t even feel right calling them clients anymore. They are my friends! Friends that I love, and that I’m excited to see what their future holds … and to hopefully get to share in the joy of photographing their first born child.
Which brings me to today …
My heart is absolutely broken for an amazing couple who lost their precious son this morning less than a day after he was born. I won’t name them in respect of their privacy, but I had the honour of photographing their wedding last year. On paper, they are my clients … but in my heart they are my dear friends, and I mourn with them as their family mourns with them.
Maybe this is inappropriate, maybe this is unprofessional … but it is simply how I feel.
So I guess all of this is to say that if you’re looking for a photographer that shows up, does their job, and you never hear from them again … I guess I’m just not the girl for you.
I’m invested … I get attached … and I’m not ashamed of it.