Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's Better to Give...

We sat and laughed…and ate. Filet mignon, tiger prawns, sweet asparagus, lobster bisque, a vine-ripened tomato salad. The waves ebbed against the Hawaiian shore, as if rubbing elbows with someone rich and beautiful. One by one, the guests at my reception stood in the center of our Kahala Mandarin bungalow and delivered an impromptu speech, roasting JD and me on our wedding day. It was truly moving and unconventional…and everything I dreamed our wedding should be. As guests dried their eyes after each speech, and the dinner china was cleared, JD and I thanked our guests for joining us for our intimate destination wedding. Caught in the sheer gravitas of the moment, I cried uncontrollably. Everyone sitting around us had witnessed our relationship blossom into a marriage, and without them, we wouldn’t have been the couple standing before them pledging the rest of our lives to each other.

Just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, my amazing wedding photographer--David Jay--placed his laptop at the head of our grand table and displayed my wedding slideshow. The lights were dimmed as DJ’s work was displayed, and everyone was truly in awe of his talent and abilities. We simultaneously oohed and ahhed over each image and couldn’t believe how hard he worked to show us our wedding day from a photographic perspective. It was unbelievable.

Unbeknownst to me, David Jay was setting a standard I would soon emulate. As a wedding photographer, I prepare a wedding slideshow for my clients to show during their reception. While guests are eating dinner, JD and I are working on a slideshow to display later that evening. These slideshows have revolutionized the way my business has grown. During last Sunday’s wedding, the general manager of Yamashiro passed by the slideshow and asked to use the images for wedding publicity and an upcoming bridal show the restaurant is hosting. In addition to the images, I offered to provide 8x10 promo cards for their use. My good friend and talented photographer, Sara France designed promo templates for our online print lab, Pictage, and decided to share them with other photographers. They’re awesome resources to give to vendors because they’re specific to their needs and venue or business. I learned that giving back to industry peers yields ten-fold…not only is it better to give than to receive, vendors—much like anyone else—appreciate a gesture of kindness. I learned this little nugget of gold from [b]ecker…who learned it from watching his good friend Jim Kennedy (who runs a powerhouse photography business here in Orange County).

I’m blessed and amazed to see how willing so many photographers are to help each other. The foundation of my business is comprised of mortar from many other photography business cornerstones and I’m indebted to their knowledge. I hope this structure continues to feed off itself and challenge me to help others as much as I’ve been helped along the way. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people!!

**Here's a sample promo card I put together today...if you're a photographer and would like more information, contact the friendly people at Pictage and they'll hook you up!** :)

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