As I mentioned when posting about Marry Me! 2015, this year has been a whirlwind.
It seems like the universe replied, “Challenge accepted!” when I asked if this year could get any worse. Pro Tip: NEVER ask that question. The answer is always “Yes.” In the couple months since Marry Me! I’ve continued to be met by obstacle after sickness after obstacle. As the year progresses, I am doing my best to hold on to the optimism that ended 2014 . The key to this, especially when the universe throws a solid 1-2 punch, has been community. Community over competition. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with negative competition… in fact, I’m the most competitive! Competition isn’t always a bad thing, in fact positive competition can be a great motivator to reach new goals and do better than you did before. But when it’s based in fear it only produces isolation and destruction, neither of which is good for one’s spirit, creativity, or business. A few years ago I was called out on my negative-competition attitude by a co-worker, her honesty floored me. First I was baffled that she would DARE say such a thing to me… at my house even! But I already knew that it was true and knew why I let my pride and hostility target her; I was afraid. She intimidated the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks out of me. I’ve generally found myself to be intimidated by women who are confident, accomplished, fill-in-the-blank thing more than me, and it was all based in fear. Fear that I wasn’t the best at fill-in-the-blank task, fear that I wasn’t as well like as fill-in-the-blank person, fear of fear. I know what you’re thinking, what does ANY of this have to do with a bridal show? I’m getting there…
Community. Community is the best thing for the creative world. It’s grown exponentially (not geometrically, yes I know the difference) in the last 5 years for photographers in particular, and produced a strong adapt or die response. Creatives everywhere are saying “We’re tired of the haters!” “We want good vibes only!” “Community Over Competition!” “We’re stronger together!” “No more trash talk!” “There’s enough work for everyone!” Of course community doesn’t mean that everyone has to love everyone else’s work, or like them personally, but let’s keep it professional and keep the malicious comments to ourselves. Fear would tell me that I need to bring other photogs down to boost myself up. That I need to be the best at everything for everyone all the time. Well… Fear is a LIAR!
Photography is a HIGHLY competitive industry. Like most creative fields your success relies on several elements, which can vary in proportion from person to person, that are both of the professional AND the personal. In the creative world networking, contacts, and personal relationships can play a huge part in getting started in a new city, specializing, or branching out. You have to be ON all the time and honestly, it’s exhausting. Bridal shows are a compacted version of this everyday web we weave and making a good impression on prospective brides + grooms, fellow photographers, and other vendors is critical…
At the end of February I had the wonderful experience of working with the team from Luxe Event Productions on another show – Luxe Bridal Event at Castaway. What I love most about working with them is their sense of community and family. Their shows are “Good Vibes Only” zones and we are all encouraged to share, collaborate, and build relationships. Guests are encouraged to talk with everyone and are the room is set up to guide them through the entire space. The Luxe shows are each known for their own special feature. Marry Me! had cakes, Committed (October) has alternative fashion, and Luxe Bridal Event had FLOWERS! Aside from their regular participants, the Luxe show features three of the top florist each with 10 breathtaking bouquets. A fashion parade, full bar, lounge area, sweetheart table display, and tons of natural light made this one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. Misty and her team pride themselves on working with the best vendors for their shows while featuring small independent businesses …just watch them grow! As the Detail Photography Sponsor it was my job to get close and show off the layers, textures, and lines of each participant’s space. Let’s just say there was no shortage of material to work with. Enjoy!
P.S. Many thanks to my AMAZING assistant, Jessica Lazar, for well… being so amazing!
Reminder: In the Fall I get to travel to Seattle and Phoenix to participate in two Big Fake Wedding events!!! This national tour is a different take on the whole bridal show concept. If you’re in any service based industry – like wedding photography – you know that your best clients come from direct referrals from past/repeat clients or those who have seen you in action [ie bridesmaids, groom’s parents, etc]. The Big Fake Wedding [formally The Not Wedding] events offer that connection in the form of a stylized vow renewal for an established couple where the guests are engaged couples and their friends …just like a bridal show. The guests get to see you in action, talk with you, and get a strong impression of whether you’d be a good match for their wedding. OMG how had I never heard about this until just a few months ago?!? As you may recall from a previous post, I’ve opened my photography services to the Southwest [Arizona + New Mexico in particular]. Having the opportunity to make professional connections in Phoenix AND shoot a Big Fake Wedding is a marketing dream come true. …and who wouldn’t want to work in Seattle at every possible opportunity, amirite?! If you’re in either location… or want to road-trip it you should come party with us!
I am booked for summer 2015, but perhaps you’re planning a romantically snowy or island destination wedding this winter? If you’re special day is in between Oct 24th-Dec 31st I’d love to hear from you! I’m also now reserving dates for 2016… tell me your love story.