adventure yosemite elopement photographer taft point sunset

Serving Our Couples (Beyond the Client Avatar)

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a “building the life” post, an area of the blog where I can rant about work, life, and the intersection of those two things. A place I can talk about building our business and our life. An area of the blog where the words outweigh the images. It has been on my heart to resurrect this section of the blog and get real. It’s time to be reminded that our life isn’t all puppies, rainbows, and couples in love timed perfectly with sunset. I believe they say “comparison is the opposite of joy.” Maybe the word was thief but I find that if I’m not careful, things like social media and wishing I was elsewhere don’t just steal my joy but actually stifle it completely as though it never existed. A little dramatic? Sure, but for the sake of authenticity let’s just admit that we don’t generally post our bad days on instagram. We also don’t talk that much about the good, the bad, and the stressful of being self-employed. Mostly we just party at weddings and share pretty pictures. What’s my point you ask impatiently wondering when this tangent will turn into an intro? Today I want to talk about why serving our couples has become one of our main business goals. It takes us beyond the client avatar and into the hearts of the unique people we get to work with. Next, read more marketing tips to grow your business.

the joy of a job well done

We received a beautiful 5 star google review last week from one of our amazing clients. It came at a perfect time when I was feeling a little off-season blues. When we’re busy with weddings and shooting our beautiful couples, work is really exciting. On the other hand, when we’re catching up on marketing and doing our accounting… work is a little less fun. Every job has highs and lows, tasks you love and tasks you could do without. I know that, intimately, and yet I still find myself less eager to work on the more mundane to-do list items. It’s definitely not as fulfilling as seeing smiles on the faces of the couples we work with.

I’m going to share the review below, not to brag but because I’m going to use it to demonstrate a few points about the importance of serving our couples. (If I wanted to brag I would make you read all of the five star reviews on google, facebook, or our testimonials page describing why we are the best Colorado wedding photographers.)

“We are so happy that we came upon Bergreen Photography for our out-of-state Yosemite National Park elopement! Since it was a true elopement, not just a small ceremony, our families were only able to experience our day through pictures. We felt they perfectly captured us, the scenery, and vibe of our day. I had never been to the park before and Marc and Brenda were kind enough to pick the locations within the park for us. Brenda was even there to sew me into my dress when the strap broke as we set out for our first look! Getting a team meant that we would have an awesome assortment of close-ups and distant shots that captured the scenery. We really appreciated their energy, perspective, and company throughout the day!”

My first point is this. Serving our couples well is that old win-win scenario. She’s happy and therefore I’m happy. It’s a beautiful circle where I give to her and she gives back. We don’t work hard solely for a good review but a good review never hurt anyone.

serving our couples - beyond the client avatar - wedding photography business

service mindset

Being a wedding photographer means that we’re actually in the service industry and we take that role quite seriously. We’re honored to serve our couples, to participate in important moments in their lives, and to do our best to make them happy. It’s important to us to spend a lot of time considering the client experience and how we can enhance it. Of course, we want the images we deliver to provide meaning and connection. But it’s more than that, we want their time with us to provide meaning and connection. The fact that Kristina’s review (it was five stars! see it above) talked not only about the photos we shot but our time together makes me feel like I’ve done by job. In that moment when her dress strap broke I was more than happy to lend a hand. The fact that they enjoyed our company on their wedding day also makes me smile.

In his book The Fast Track Photography Business Plan, Dane Sanders encourages a service mindset beginning from the time you’re building and structuring your business. “By anticipating the needs of our potential clients, we put our company in the best possible position to meet those needs.” Maybe it’s different for other types of photographers but we’ve noticed that connecting with the people in our images goes a long way to making the images stronger. Considering their experience in the very way that we build our business, our packages, and our brand makes a big difference.

serving our couples - beyond the client avatar - wedding photography business serving our couples - beyond the client avatar - wedding photography business

authentic branding

Oh branding, lovely beautiful branding. Early on in our exploration into the deep dark waters of weddings, Marc and I realized that there were some things we might have a hard time caring about. We don’t love shooting details or know that much about fashion. Marc, my mountain man of a business partner and husband was going to have a hard time connecting with girly girls and recognizing dress designers. However, we knew that girly girls aren’t the only ones that become brides and want to look beautiful on their wedding day. When knew from our own wedding that many couples plan their wedding around their passions. I remember trying to find an adventurous wedding photographer back in 2011 so that I could have someone capture my day in a style that spoke to me. Now as I see the incredible growth of the wedding photography industry, one of the largest benefits I see is the variety of choices out their for brides. If you’re into having funky themed wedding, you can find someone out there that specializes in it.

The trick as a photographer is to find a brand that is both authentic and profitable. At the time that we branded ourselves, google search results weren’t as diverse and targeted as they are today. When we showed outdoor landscape wedding photography at a bridal show, we knew we’d be alienating brides that we’re planning an indoor wedding. As we created our motto “love. adventurously.” we knew that it would attract a certain kind of bride and detract others. The thing was, it ended up attracting couples that believed in what we did. Our philosophy and mission resonated with them. The exercises in Dane Sanders book I referenced above and presentations we watched at photography conferences along with some input and feedback from our friends helped us pick a direction and brand that has introduced us to some of our best friends.

adventure yosemite elopement photographer

shoot what/who you love

When I went through my yoga teacher training my teacher Molly Lannon Kenny always reminded us to “Teach from the heart, teach what you know.” She was reminding us of two main things. One, it’s important to teach what you love, believe, and care about otherwise your classes will feel hollow. And two, teaching what you’re familiar with is always going to be easier than teaching something you’re never done before. When I was in a Training and Development class in college I was assigned a project to teach a workshop on driving a tractor. I first had to intimately learn how to drive a tractor so that I could figure out how to teach it to a group. It would have been more effective had I been a tractor expert but the point was to learn how to use training techniques regardless of the topic. There was something about my fresh and recent learning experience that gave me an extra edge. I went on to use these lessons in our business doing my best to know, see, and understand the couples that we work with. I honestly believe that everyone has beauty and depth that is up to me to find, bring to the surface, and capture.

It helps, of course, to spend more of my time shooting people, nature, and people in nature, than it does to photograph something that is less inspiring to me (like tractors). Building our brand to position ourselves to photograph people we connect with helped us grow as photographers. Now, I believe that we’ve learned skills that translate and if I had to photograph a princess tea party I could find a way to care and connect. But there might be a photographer out there that specializes in princesses and her passion would position her to do a better job than I.

adventure yosemite elopement photographer yosemite valley

beyond the client avatar

We have found through our attempts to grow and learn that there are some great educators out there teaching businesses to build their “client avatar.” The idea is that we should picture our ideal client in order to figure out how to market to them. I believe in and support these ideas AND, at the same time, I think that it’s important to know and understand our real walking, talking, breathing clients. Now that we’ve been shooting weddings for seven years, we don’t have to imagine our ideal client. We know who they are and we have met them. When we make it our effort to enhance their experience and meet their needs it has the ability to change our perspective. Instead of simply marketing to our ideal clients we can focus on serving our couples. The ability to know our clients so intimately confirms that they are real and we can focus on serving them rather than imagining them. Reviews and referrals have become a big part of our marketing plan because we’ve found that couples that have heard about us from the raving review of someone else are more committed to investing in what we do. Leaving us free to serve them rather than sell to them.

adventure yosemite elopement photographer taft point

in summary – serving our couples

Serving our couples brings us joy and job satisfaction, a big part of loving what we do. Additionally, when we feel like we’re making a difference it’s easier to have that service mindset that is so crucial to creating powerful images and a connecting experience. Through authentic branding and shooting what/who we love, we have been able to move beyond the client avatar and connect with real couples that make our business have meaning. Thanks for taking the time to be here, we hope these tips make a difference in your day! Be sure to join our newsletter below to keep up with fresh content and let us know what you want to hear.

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in outdoor weddings and other adventures. Capturing people in nature and the mountain lifestyle is a passion that became a dream that became a life.

Based in Evergreen, CO we travel throughout the state as Colorado mountain wedding photographers. We also frequently travel to California and other wedding destinations to document your love in a variety of memorable settings. Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

Similar Posts