Fall 2007. I was shooting random portraits. Asking my friends if they wanted to hang out and take photos. We had fun with it. Climbed trees, had funny poses, tried to be VOGUE. Then I met Jenny, a girl who was looking for a second shooter for her boss. I checked out the Photographer’s website and LOVED every image. She dropped my name, I sent an email, and we had a meeting set. He knew where I was coming from, not having shot much at all, but he hired me anyway! I remember my first wedding I ever shot. I was so nervous. I felt like each moment was important and in my hands. Each laugh outburst. Each drink poured. Every smile. And I was the third shooter.
The wedding was at The Greenbriar, in White Sulpher Springs, WV, and I met the second shooter in Charlottesville to drive a few more hours west. We small talked in the car, and I would casually ask questions, trying not to sound silly, but knowing nothing about how the day would go. I retired my Canon Rebel for the day to use the main shooter’s back up back up back up 20D and lenses. We met up for lunch. While I munched on my club sandwich, I listed to how the day was going so far for Rob Garland. First of all, the wedding was going to be beautiful. It was going to take place in the Pink Room and the groom had just arrived a few hours earlier on a private helicopter. Yea, needless to say, Rob introduced me to the world of high end weddings. [Side note, I did not take that picture.]
During my two and a half years working with him, here is what I learned:
You are your brand. What you wear. [Black] What car you drive. [BMW] How you act. [Cool, calm, quiet, and service oriented] How and where you meet with your clients [A decorated office that is quiet and close to most local clients] The products you use. [Leather Albums and Fine Art photos] Your photographic style. [Photojournalistic and Artistic.] How much you charge. [an ungodly amount] All of it represents you.
High End Behavior. Be visible. You client will be grateful to see you when they want a photo – don’t make them have to come find you. Don’t sit down. Don’t “expect” dinner – bring granola bars just in case. Make the elderly feel valued. If you need a break, walk over to your bag, and move stuff around. Don’t sit down. Smile all the time. And even though your feet hurt, don’t sit down.
Get in close. Dancing photos are SO much better if you’re in the mix. They will FEEL like you’re in the middle of the action. And, getting elbowed in the face [or in the camera which then hits you in the face] is just part of the deal.
Embrace personal work. Rob is the house photographer for a lot of the shows at The Paramount Theatre AND he teaches photography at the local high school.