Monday, February 22, 2021
Alana Lindenfeld Photography
I became a wedding photographer 3 years ago when I moved to Chicago for college. I'm from Cincinnati, where I started my photography journey 6-7 years ago, and eventually fell in love with couples and wedding photography. Now I work mostly in Chicago, but have also worked in LA, San Francisco, NYC, St. Louis, and beyond.
My job is incredible--but it doesn't mean there are days I feel down. There come waves where no one is inquiring, or the few inquiries I get aren't booking--I think it's just like that in the wedding industry. There are days where you feel like you need that extra encouragement and motivation from a boss or coworkers, and you just don't get that as a wedding photographer or entrepreneur who works alone. But what drives me to continue is those "thank yous" from clients--the emails telling me I was their light in a dark time, the person who made their day memorable, and the person who gave them memories of moments they didn't even realize had happened on their wedding day.
A year or two ago, it was the new thing to tell every client how you wanted to feel like best friends by their wedding day and actually stay friends long after--and while I think that's a great goal, it shouldn't be the priority. Friends are great, but they're not professionals. Feeling like a friend doesn't compare to giving the advice, guidance, appreciation, and comfort levels that you can as a professional.
That said, I strongly believe connecting to your clients is vital, but it's more than trying to force a friendship over margs, guac, and contracts. I think sharing that you're struggling too during covid, sharing that you're a real human, and not only showing the perfected, highlight-real version of yourself is what connects us to others. It's the cuss words that slip out, sharing your bad dating stories, and laughing together when there's an outfit malfunction.
There's a line to keep when you're in a professional relationship with clients, but connecting over real things and showing your humanity goes a lot farther than a superficial cocktail.