When I began my photography business, I was scared. I basically jumped into an industry I knew very little about, and I had no idea where to start. How will my clients view their galleries? What can I offer that will make me stand apart from others in the industry? How should I structure my packages? What is a fair price-point? Honestly, I was overwhelmed with the unknowns that had reared their ugly heads, and I will be the first to admit that I lacked organization and direction. All I knew was that I wanted to give my client’s images that were a true representation of their relationship, that they would tell their wedding day story perfectly, and that they would make my clients feel something. These were non-negotiables. I wanted the couples I worked with to look at their images and be transported back to their wedding day…to feel the romance…for him to remember the lump in his throat as he watched his bride walk down the aisle towards him…for her to get chills as she relived the moment her new groom took her hand and led her onto the dance floor for the first time as husband and wife. Showit Slideshows answered that desire head on.
I will never forget the first time I used Showit Slideshows as part of the Michelle Renee Photography wedding experience. I had been asked to photograph a wedding in Emerald Isle, NC for a friend from graduate school. It was the first wedding I had ever photographed, and if I remember correctly, I had the choice of doing the bridesmaids hair or taking pictures. Ha! I think we are all grateful we chose the later! Regardless, I was so excited for the opportunity. Darren and Sarah said their vows standing on the crisp, green grass in the back yard of a beach house on the sound side. It was stunning. It was fun. And it was so them. Afterwards, I set myself to the task of making sure their slideshow was a true representation of their relationship, that it depicted their wedding day story, and that it made them feel something. Sound familiar? I put it together and sent it to the bride and groom a couple days later. Pretty immediately, I received an email from Darren. It said,
“You have single-handedly extended the best day of my life into eternity. I was not expecting such an amazing reaction from myself from a slideshow, but I have watched it 15 times and still cannot hold back my tears of joy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your work. This spread of photographs is priceless, and I am eternally grateful.”
From then on, for obvious reasons, Showit Slideshow and I have been attached at the hip.
But enough of my rambling! Because my clients are awesome and they often humor my crazy requests…and because we often remain friends, Darren, the groom mentioned above, has agreed to share a little bit about this experience from his perspective. Darren just racked up a few brownie points for this one…besides the fact that he happens to have an a-MA-zing wife! (Hi, Sarah!)
The Monday morning following my Saturday wedding was one of the worst days of my life. At the very least, it was only relatively so. Although I was lying in bed with my beautiful new wife, and had the remainder of the day off of work, I had just returned from our destination wedding with bags to unpack, piles of laundry to wash, gift boxes stacked everywhere (oh, woe is me) and worst of all, the looming fact that we had to go back to work the next day. We had to return to the life that we had before our week-long escape that ended in holy matrimony. I had just suffered an atomic-level event inside my heart when all of my best friends and family were gathered together to witness and participate in the most wonderful day of my life, where I swore before God and everyone that I would spend the remainder of my life in unity with this one woman. And I meant it. I said “I do” and I did.
So that Monday morning following the wedding was the return voyage back to reality. It was the sugar-crash after the sugar-high. It was a quick, unapologetic punch in the gut that tried to erase all the most wonderful images of my tropical, outdoor, waterfront wedding ceremony. The images of the outdoor reception tent circled in twinkling lights, surrounded by all my best friends, dancing and singing and hugging my new wife were being threatened by images of my classroom of kids screaming and piles of math homework to be graded. It was all I could do to squeeze my eyes closed and try to recall the moments that flew by way too fast that previous Saturday night. I immediately knew why the honeymoon vacation is celebrated after the wedding, and not before, and I have been kicking myself ever since.
But then, we received an email from our photographer, Michelle. She said she had finished the slideshow, and gave us access to it. My wife appeared that morning where I was trying to stay in bed forever, and with an excitement in her voice that I immediately recognized as urgent and well worth getting up, told me to come to the computer. She had watched the slideshow that Michelle had created, and we were about to watch it again. The beach-themed pictures started to roll by in synchronization with the beach-themed music, in chronological order of the day. We watched ourselves get ready, stand under the chuppa, kiss to great applause, dance our first dance and many more with so much sweat and so many friends under the twinkling lights as the sun set. We re-lived the cupcakes that we smashed into our faces, the meal we ate from our bedroom balcony overlooking everyone, and the last slow-dance of the night, blissfully giggling about nothing at all.
Returning to reality was hard, but the next day I shared the video slideshow with my friends at work, and now I can walk around my house among the photos that Michelle took. It was the best day of my life, and the photographs that remain, taken with such playfulness, thoughtfulness and skill, renew those moments and images for me every day, thanks to Michelle!
To view this slideshow we have been going on and on about, click here!
For more slideshows of other clients, click here!
And since we are bragging about Darren and Sarah…here they are!