How Weddings Feed My Family & Changed My Understanding of Money
We’re wedding photographers. We fly all over the country for our clients and sometimes we’re lucky enough to drive down the street for weddings around the corner. But since so many of our weddings are out of state and our clients booked us through email – we often don’t meet them until the day before their wedding. It is a very interesting thing to drop in on these people’s lives on such an emotional day. It’s not even so much the love between the two people getting married that gets to me – it’s the love that EVERYONE ELSE has FOR THEM. It’s intoxicating and we always feel honored to have been invited…and then we go home and never see any of those people ever again.
Let’s face it – hiring us as your wedding photographer is to a large degree, a luxury. We don’t come cheap. We do work very hard for our clients and there is a bit of artistic merit to our photos – but we are not discount photographers. There are many articles out there talking about the ‘value’ of a photographer’s time and talent and how it’s totally worth the relatively high rates we charge. This isn’t about that.
This is about how Courtney & Mike hired us for their wedding – and because of them, BabyRoX was able to spend two weeks in Phoenix with his grandparents.
This is about Laura & James or Tulie & Trung – and how the money they paid us, paid for the medical bills when I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and BabyRoX’s visit to the ER. Or Anna & Michael and their money going to our rent for the month of January during our slowest time of the year. This is about the many couples that have hired us over the past three months – the winter months – and how their deposits saw us through what otherwise would be a bleak holiday period. We just moved across the city from a depressing condominium into the amazing house we live in now. There is no way that could’ve happened if it wasn’t for Isabel & Joe, Sarah & Dawn, Andrea & Cara, and several other couples. The list goes on and fortunately, on and on.
My family lives the life we live because these couples believe in us. The money a couple pays us to photograph their wedding goes directly into buying diapers, and food, and paying the gas bill for heat. We’re able to spend so much time with the BabyRoX – and our impromptu morning dance sessions are never interrupted by a day job. It’s a precious luxury that we don’t take for granted.
Although we’re working towards other funding sources – for the past 3 years our entire Internship has been made possible by clients such as Emily & Ben, Paralee & Aaron, Anne & Dominic, etc., etc., etc… there are many photographers that have been made better, or literally have had their lives changed for the better because of Lauren & Jonathan, Stephanie & Al, and Erin & Kyle…
Of course we’re fortunate to have a certain level of success – and we absolutely don’t live like struggling artists. But that connection between our clients and our ability to live our lives is more direct than it’s ever been for me. It’s easy to think little of customers and even be annoyed by them when you work for a big company. There is that level of separation that often protects us from any responsibility to the client. For us there isn’t any separation at all. That’s not something we fear – because we work hard to attract and take on only the best clients that are the perfect fit for us. But my understanding of the value and meaning money has changed – and thankfully we’re hired by the best clients ever.