I wear my heart on my sleeve. I always have, and I always will.
Being so openly emotive can be a blessing and a curse. I keep seeing a time in high school, at Valentines Day. There was a fundraiser where you could pay to send a “love note” and a flower to someone you liked. There was a boy I liked. He was older than me. I really liked him and he seemed to really like me. I can still remember that moment when I walked to the door of my class to see notes on the door, hoping to see one for me.. nervous to not find one. Butterflies in the stomach. And there it was. And I would savor that note for weeks to come. I would memorize the sentence. I would analyze the way it was written. The note would find its way into a memory box (another name for a shoebox) with other mementos that would allow me to live in a state of acceptance and worthiness.
Of course, there were plenty of times the opposite would happen too. I’d wait for the phone call. I’d wait for the second date. There were times it would be radio silence. I thought he liked me. I thought the date went really well. What happened? What did I say? What did I do? What could I have done differently?
The analysis would go on and on. And underneath it all, the flutter of hope that maybe he was just busy and I would still hear from him soon.
And in the words of Greg Behrendt : “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
And finally a time came when I grew up and realized that it was time to move on. I didn’t win this one, but I will win another one. I learned not to take rejection as personally and I tried not to push too hard.
And I thought I left all that behind. I thought I matured beyond those feelings of self doubt.
But you know, artists really are a sensitive bunch. I think we all wear our hearts on our sleeves. We all care what you think. Who was I kidding?
Because today, the process of wedding inquiries have replaced the process of dating.
Dearest Bride, I really want you to know what happens when I hear from you.
First of all, you should know, I have a special place in my inbox for you. When an inquiry arrives it is automatically marked in bold. When I see it, it is as if a light bulb marquee is flashing “I WANT YOU!”
Oh my gosh, I still get butterflies of hope and excitement, even after 15 years of doing this. Every one of your inquiries is like turning the corner to see a love note pinned to my classroom door! And my egotistical side simply swoons when I read your words of love: “your work is amazing!” “I fell in love with your portfolio!” “YOU are what I have been looking for!”
Oh my dearest Bride, do you know what you do to me when you say those things? I adore you already! I want to give everything away to you!
And then I check myself. I remind myself I do need to support myself. I remind myself not to be too eager. I mean, if I told you I stalked you on Facebook and drove by your house every night you might think I was a little crazy right? I hope you know I’m kidding right? I wasn’t able to find your house……
But in all seriousness. The excitement of meeting new couples and potentially being the one you choose for your photography is real. Every. Single. Time.
And I sit down and I take time to send you a thoughtful reply. I try to answer you as best as I can with the little information I have. I have one opening to make an impression on you, I also know that I am one of MANY and not just in photography, but every other vendor you are talking to.
Bet you didn’t realize you were the “cool, popular one” did you? We all clamor for your attention!
Dearest Bride, I really want you to know what happens when I DON’T hear from you.
Today, the world is fast paced. Time is a precious commodity. Relationships are handled differently (whew, I’m glad I’m not in the dating pool right now!). Today, it is hard to get a response back from you.
I want to let you know that I really do understand if I am not in your budget range. I wish that I could tell you about the other brides that let me know I wasn’t in their budget range. Some of them I was able to find a way to make it work. Some of them I was able to get them a photographer they adored that was in their budget range. There are so many possibilities, but we can only find out through communication.
And I get it, as I mentioned, time is a commodity. I’ve been there too. Often, when in a similar position, I think to myself, “I’m just one of many, this person will never notice if I don’t reply.”
But I wanted to tell you, I notice. You are not one of many to me.
Each one of you is a potential couple that will leave me crying. Each one of you is a potential bride that will become a close friend (I’m seeing two of my former brides this week actually! One of them is even a repeat customer!).
Each one of you is unique with a fascinating story.
And so, I’m showing you the heart on my sleeve. And asking you, Dearest Bride, please talk back to me!
The engagement session of Kristy and Michael in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Sept. 13, 2015.
Photography by Photomuse.