So, in May, this happened:

      cars

      I was driving home from running a few errands when a couple in a Lincoln (the right car) decided to not yield at a left turn, and smashed right into my Corolla. I tore off their front grille, amongst other things. All things considered, it was a pretty good wreck to have (if there is such a thing as a “good” wreck) — nobody was injured, and the other driver admitted fault to police and the insurance company. I hobbled my car home, got it towed to a body shop, got a rental, all on the insurance company’s dime. I was feeling okay about it all, until I was informed that my car was considered a total loss and that I had to figure out a way to get a new one.

      (Apparently, hidden damages are quite costly.)

      And thus began my search for a new (used) car. The last time Walt and I had to purchase an unexpected car, we had a friend who was selling one and we just rolled with it. This time, we were looking for something comparable to my 2005 low-mileage Corolla, and it was not an easy task. I’d never really researched cars before. I didn’t know what to expect, so I started googling.

      I was reading car-buying websites and realized: I am way too nice to buy a car from anybody. Not to say I’m a total pushover, but there were tips on some sites that basically said: “Make the seller grovel.” Act disinterested. Point out every flaw on the vehicle. Never reveal how much you have to spend. Always tell the seller that you’re looking elsewhere.

      That’s when I realized that this is probably how most engaged couples feel when looking at wedding vendors. Couples are told that we’re all snakes in the grass, that the Wedding Industry is out to get all that we can grab, that we don’t care about you as people and just look out for the bottom dollar.

      If this was the way that business is conducted within all industries, I would hate to live on this planet!

      austin engagement photographer

      I would never want to be considered a villain in any transaction.

      I try to approach my job, first and foremost, as a resource: after a few years in this business, I have a bunch of information stored from past experiences and relationships with other vendors. Secondarily, as a person who has been there before: I got married too, not long ago. And thirdly, as a person who is trying to be compensated fairly for the work that I’m doing, the skill that I’m sharing, the time that I’m taking, to do this job.

      Clients have said, on public forums such as Yelp or Wedding Wire, and correspondence through feedback forms and emails, that I’ve been super helpful. Here, let me dig out a few quotes.

      [Elissa was] absolutely wonderful every step of the way from the initial email exchange to the final package with the adorable USB drive and bars of chocolate. We really felt taken care of and she treated us as if we were her only client. – Maggie & Daniel [feedback form response]

      Elissa’s customer service is absolutely fantastic. She made us feel like her only client and priority, while still being a tremendous and talented professional. Our photos were gorgeous, relaxed and warm. I’m so glad she was there to capture our day. – Emily & Bill [feedback form response]

      Elissa was a dream to work with. She responded promptly to emails, no matter how minor the issue. All of our pictures and products ordered have arrived on time or ahead of schedule. I am a firm believer that the person you hire for your wedding should be someone you click with and enjoy having around. Elissa fit that for us to a T. – Jill and Zach [Wedding Wire review]

      austin bride and groom portraits

      I’m writing this because I contacted the owner of a small auto dealership and laid all my cards out on the table, saying things that apparently I should not have: I got into a wreck. This is how much I have. I would like to do this quickly because I really need to be able to drive to weddings and appointments and the insurance company is about to stop paying for my rental car.

      But! I was pleasantly surprised. The car dealership was responsive, friendly. The owner helped me figure out what I needed and made sure to fit the cost of the car within the confines of my budget. All in all, it was a great experience.

      I ended up with a Prius. Her name is Prudence.

      prius at bookpeople

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      COMMENTS

      True that man. I’m all about treating people how you’d want to be treated. The Golden Rule. Life is so much better living that way. xoxo

      A great read. Brides need to realize wedding photographers are artists, not car salesman, and even then there are many genuinely honest car salesmen around.

      Very good post, thanks for the insight! Glad you were fine after that accident though!

      It sucks you got into a wreck, but YES TO THIS. I feel the same.

      Great post, great message. And hellloooo, Prudence! (So glad no one was injured except the cars.)

      This is so great Elissa. You should write more! And congrats on Prudence! She’s lovely :)

      PS, so sorry to hear about the accident! But I love Prudence.

      I always love when you write these posts because they kind of make me just want to yell “YES!” at the top of my lungs.

      But seriously, yes, to all of this.

      I feel bad for potential clients, because they wade through all these articles or advice forums on picking wedding vendors, thinking that they need to ask 12443566 questions at the consult or they’ll get a terrible photographer, that we’re somehow out to get them. It makes me sad that the photographers who made those posts come to life exist, but I think as more and more personalized, one or two person photography businesses become the norm, it will hopefully go away a little.

      I hope tons of brides read this. I understand being villianized by people in the industry. So many people say oh you can’t trust the photographer blah bla blah.

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