Needle In A Haystack

Today’s post is part of blog series in which we get the privilege of answering some of the questions we have gotten about photography, marriage and life! We know there are so many other amazing photographers out there who would know the answers far better than we ever could. But it’s not about us. It’s not about how good or not good we might be in comparison to someone else. It’s about serving. And if this series helps one person, it was worth it! You can catch up on the series here:

#1 | Where Do I Start?
#2 | Needle In A Haystack
#3 | A Natural Feel
#4 | 4 Keys To A Consistent Style
#5 | 5 Questions To Answer Before Going Full-time
#6 | 3 Ways To Light Beautiful Reception Images
#7 | 1 Simple Trick To Improve Your Images Right Now
#8 | 3 Tips To Thrive On A Double-Header Weekend

Ryan & Alyssa,

I recently started reading your blog and I wanted to thank you. My husband and I are getting our photography business off the ground and you guys are a constant encouragement that we can do it!! Today, we are struggling. We feel like we are doing well in most aspects of our business, but we are discouraged in one area especially right now. We see you guys post your weddings on your blog and we see how you interact with your couples on social media. It honestly seems like you guys have the most amazing brides! I know that sounds weird, but I guess our question is how can WE do that? About half of our couples are amazing and half of them just don’t seem to get us. They don’t seem to see the value of what we do. Does that make sense? So I guess my question is how can we get the right couples for us? How can we get the couples that want us because they understand the value and couldn’t imagine anyone else at their wedding? I hope that makes sense!

Thank you guys in advance!

Oh man. You are speaking right to our hearts, girl! We have felt that feeling in the past. We want to just hug you both right now and tell you it’s going to be ok. But since we can’t do that, a virtual hug will have to suffice!

First of all, we don’t think there is a single photographer out there that has not been through what you are feeling now. Not every bride sees value in putting their money into photography. That’s just a fact. Finding your bride can be like looking for a needle in a haystack! But are you ready for the good news? You run your business and you get to decide what couples are best for you. Maybe that stance sounds a little bit selfish. But it’s actually the opposite of selfish. We know from experience that if we take on couples that don’t get us and don’t see the value of what we do, they won’t have the best experience either. No one wins.

You mentioned that you see the weddings on our blog and it seems like we have the most amazing brides. We can’t deny that! We believe we have the most amazing brides out there! But that’s not an accident. And we are going to share with you the (not so) secret sauce that we use to get those brides! How about that?!

Everything we do is intentional. That hasn’t always been the case. We learned through trial and (lots of) error and we are going to share with you the 3 things that we believe you have to do to get the right couples for you, no matter what the characteristics of that couple might be!


1. Identify Your Couple

If you want to find more of your couples, you have to start at the beginning. How will you find the couples you want if you don’t know who they are?! The question is obvious, but the answer is not always so simple. How do you narrow down the characteristics of the right couple for you?

There are a few good ways, but here’s how we did it. (Spoiler: It’s incredibly simple.)

We sat down together and wrote a list. The list had 2 criteria: it could include things we loved or things we loved about our current couples. That’s it. It included things like “we love shopping at JCrew” or “they are puppy-lovers” or “we love it when the groom is excited and involved in the planning” or “photography is one of their 2 top priorities.”

Now we are certainly not saying that ALL of the things on the list need to be true or you should turn them away! But this gives you an excellent starting point and as you meet with them and talk to them you will see things being checked off in your mind from this list and you will know that they are (or possibly are not) your couple!

2. Show Them Who You Are

This is where we see a lot of photographers tripping up.

If you are the kind of photographer that books people over the phone for a 4-hour wedding photography package, shoot a million weddings a year and you never actually meet the couple until the wedding day, we are probably not talking to you. That’s a different model. We are talking to the photographers who pour their heart and soul into their brides and grooms! The people who love their couples to death even when the love isn’t returned right away. We are talking to you.

If that’s you then odds are your ideal couple is someone who wants to know you. Yes they want to see your work, but they understand that you are going to be a HUGE part of their wedding experience and they want to know who they are working with, not just what their images will look like.

So share your heart. Whether that be on your blog, in person, or on social media. Share your life. Show them your personality. Show them that you are a real person! That being said, use discretion. Don’t share everything. Don’t be negative. Be careful what you share! But you will find that couples who are like you (the same couples who match that list you just made) will darken your door when you start sharing who you are!

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

It’s only two letters, but “no” is such a hard word for us to muster up! This was us when we first started. We were afraid to say no. We needed weddings. If someone was willing to book us, we were right there with a contract and a pen, no matter who they were or what Pinterest boards they wanted us to replicate.

Because we are so intentional about our process, our couples today are FANTASTIC! But there was a time where we wish we had said no to a few couples. Not because they were bad people. Not because they didn’t like us. Neither of those were true. It was only because they weren’t our people.

You can’t be afraid to say no. The ramifications of dealing with a bride and groom who don’t understand you and don’t see your value are much greater than the ramifications of not making that money. Start small. Find your couple. They will send more people just like them. It’s not the only way. But it’s the best way.

We hope that helps you guys! We are cheering for you from Greenville!


If anyone has any other questions, no matter how small, please don’t hesitate to email us your questions at! We would be humbled to try and answer your question as best we can!


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