By Leah Haydock
When I second shot my first wedding years ago I was hooked, after photographing families and corporate events a wedding seemed like a dream event - people in love, boatloads of emotion, beautiful venues and the opportunity to document the happiest day of couple's lives. Photographing one of my first weddings solo for the grand sum of $350 I found myself with a couple less than enamored with each other and a fair amount of family drama in a wedding factory venue (5 simultaneous weddings happening in gazebos strategically placed around a parking lot). I kept my cool and photographed like my life depended on it. When the groom sent me a note to thank me for being so helpful and professional on the day along with the comment "You made our 99 cent cake topper look like a million bucks", I knew I'd found my calling.Fast forward six years and on paper, I appear to only be photographing "high-end" weddings. My pricing starts at $6000 and most couples spend $8-10k. I'm routinely in grand ballrooms at the Four Seasons, the Taj Boston, the Ritz Carlton and the Fairmont Copley Plaza. My couples dress in Vera Wang and bespoke tuxedos, invite their guests with letterpress invitations, wear Jimmy Choos and think nothing of spending $15,000 on cashmere pashminas the morning of the wedding if it might be a little chilly for guests at their outdoor ceremony.
In Boston and surrounding New England there's a lot of talk about the "high-end bride". Just a couple of months ago there was a wait list of photographers wanting to pay $70 to attend a breakfast hosted by a Boston wedding planner who would be telling them "What the high-end bride wants". I didn't attend because I honestly don't think the stereotypical high-end bride exists. What does exist are couples who value photography, who want you to be their photography expert, want you to make the whole experience stress-free and fun, and who want the kind of photography that you do.
In our Inspire session Kate and I will be sharing our outlook on the New England wedding market, how we connect with our clients, how we successfully moved our price brackets year on year, how to understand what your branding says about your business and how to attract the kind of clients you want to work with.
Last year was the first time I attended Inspire and I was blown away by the open and friendly community atmosphere that exists. Although the content was great, I personally got so much out of the discussions and informal mentoring and coaching sessions that happened over lunch, at the bar and in between sessions. I've made some really great friends that I still meet up with regularly one year later. I'm super excited to be part of it all again this year (I'm personally excited for David Murray and Beth Fitzgerald's sessions amongst others) and if you're looking to learn, be inspired and network in a safe and supportive environment then I hope to see you there!