When I meet someone for the first time and they find out we are a husband and wife wedding photography team, one of the first questions we often get asked if we have ever had a Bridezilla... Whenever we get asked this question, it makes me smile because I know the person asking is going to be disappointed from my answer and lack of a juicy story of a crazy bride. But the truth is, we haven't had a Bridezilla. Not one. When I tell them we haven't had one, the person usually tells me we are lucky. While we do feel extremely lucky, I know that it is not luck that our couples are amazing people that are anything but zilla-y. Yes, I made up that word. Just go with it... :)
But this question brings up an important topic. We have indeed been contacted by and/or had consultations with couples that were not a great fit. While our work and website act as filters and draw certain couples to us, that doesn't always mean that we are a good match. Initial email or phone conversations can sometimes raise some flags or make it clear that they are not our ideal client. We will then recommend another photographer that we think would be a better fit based on what they are looking for. And sometimes we don't know that we are not a great fit until I meet with a couple in person during a consultation and discuss with them their wedding and what they are looking for in their wedding photography. During a consultation, just as much as a couple is making sure we are a great fit for them, I am also making sure they are a great fit for us and a couple we are excited to work with. If I do have a consultation with a couple that raises some flags, I will have an honest conversation with them and will not proceed with booking them. It's not always an easy conversation to have, but one we think that it is important to have and one they deserve. Because just as much as we want to make sure we are working with couples we connect with and love our style of photography, it is also in the best interest of the couple to have and invest in a photographer who is going to be an excellent fit, connect with them and deliver what they are looking for.
Now what are some of these flags and things I keep in the back of my mind when in initial conversations with a couple? Well for each photographer I am sure they are different, but for us some flags are if photography is not important to the couple, if they don't seem excited to be getting married, if they are looking for a style of photography that is very traditionally posed or uses a lot of artificial lighting throughout the day, etc. These flags don't necessarily have to be "bad" things or qualities, just things that may make us and our style of photography the best fit for them. And sometimes it's a combination of things.
But does it really matter if we work with couples that are our ideal clients and a great fit? For us the answer is absolutely. Our WHY that our business is built on and the spirit of our photography isn't focused on making the most amount of money, shooting a certain amount of weddings just to achieve that number, travelling to as many places as possible, or any of the like. For us, it's always been about the relationship we build with a couple and us getting to know their story. It's about connecting with our couples and celebrating this amazing time with them. It's about documenting the sweet moments of the day that marks the beginning of their marriage. So if we feel like we aren't the ones best suited to do this for whatever reason, we are upfront and honest with them and let them know. This doesn't happen very often by the time we meet them for a consultation, but if it does, it is important to us to let them know.
So call it luck? Not really... Working with couples we are a great fit for and who are our ideal clients is why I have an unexciting answer when asked if we have ever worked with a Bridezilla. It's not luck, but a constant focus on letting the WHY of our business remain at the heart of things... not money, numbers, or anything else.