Jordan and I married in my hometown of Artesia, New Mexico to return to our college town of Las Cruces, New Mexico afterward. It was a sweet, slow summer in between undergraduate and graduate school for us, and it meant that I had the summer to learn how to use my camera while Jordan worked at Chick-fil-a.
I don’t know if I’ve actually ever shared this before, but…. I actually applied for a job on campus my first semester of graduate school, and while Jordan was praying I would get it (chick-fil-a couldn’t pay ALL the bills) ;-), I was secretly hoping I wouldn’t. I was sooo in love with photography and wanted all the time to invest into learning it.
I just had this feeling (SO ME), that there was something bigger in it for me. For us. I could go on to explain this emotional story about driving home from Starbucks after I launched my Facebook business page (so official, y’all) and specific lyrics to a song that came on, but I’ll save that. ;-)
To Jordan’s dismay and my delight, I did not get the job on campus.
I told Jordan, “don’t worry! I’ll take pictures! This is meant to be!” And honestly…it worked out just fine. ;-) We learned to live with little, free Chick-fil-a meals from receipts and budgeted with envelopes. This was honestly one of the sweetest seasons for us.
While I pursued photography, was studying in graduate school and we were learning to be married, we knew all along that we’d be moving to Dallas, TX after our graduation. Meanwhile, my business was seemingly growing from senior, baby and family photography (whatever paid the bills) in Las Cruces to wedding photography in and near New Mexico. This dream of mine to transfer my business to Dallas from NM became a reality, something to consider and implement.
But how? DALLAS? I mean, it was daunting. There were and are more than enough photographers in that city to not need lil ol’ me, another new-ish photographer. But we received some valuable advice from our friends from When It Clicks. They told Jordan that if we know we’re moving, to start getting our name out before we move. They said to figure out what makes us different from all the other photographers.
So we did.
I used Facebook and told friends and family about our move and business dreams. I posted contests on Facebook that required people to share my post in order to be entered into the contest. Winners won a free session with me when we visited Dallas/family before we moved. This allowed for not only ME to share, but other people I didn’t know to help me market myself in Dallas by them sharing my work on Facebook.
But I knew it didn’t stop there. I couldn’t just simply ask someone to share my post or “like” my page. There was no real connection involved by doing that. I knew the product and experience I provided my clients needed to be special, noteworthy. So what did I consider that made me “different”? My passion for marriage. It’s true. When Jordan told me that I needed something unique to help me stand out, I knew exactly what that was: my genuine heart for marriage and the couples I was coming in contact with. I love it. I love them. I don’t think this is always the case. Nor do I think this is by accident or coincidence. I genuinely want to know, be friends with and stay in touch with my couples after their weddings. I pray over their marriages and genuinely hope that when times are tough, they feel comfortable and able to seek pray, wisdom or direction from us.
So as much as I was able to, I aimed to love and serve my clients by the way I made them feel over email and during their session; I aimed to under-promise and over-deliver as far as the number of images they expected goes and other little areas in my business. I aimed to really try to over-deliver in any areas I had set expectations with them. I knew that this would help me stand out.
And so I did. Before we moved to Dallas in the fall of 2015, we had about 6-7 weddings already on the calendar for the fall in Texas. This meant that as soon as we moved to Dallas, I had engagement sessions for these couples. This meant that I had opportunities to love on, serve, surprise with a small gift (a date night in a box) and deliver images they loved. Before I even photographed some of these brides’ weddings, they were already telling their friends about my services. Not to mention, I was able to tag these couples on Facebook, which also stood out to their families and friends.
And this was the beginning of my breakthrough to stand out in a saturated city.
Though, it was foggy to me that I was actually “doing it” at the time. I hear people now who are surprised at how quickly Lindsay Davenport Photography was able to go full time and book 25+ weddings a year upon relocating cities. And honestly, I am shocked too. And humbled. I really am. But it just falls back on that feeling I had in college where I just knew there was something more for me in photography. For my family.
Next week, I’ll share a few more tangible ways I’ve reflected on that helped me stand out in a saturated city.