The Graceful Gathering | Hannah Client Experience Educator
Meet Hannah, one of our Graceful Gathering Speakers. Hannah will be speaking about client experience and let me just say, that when I gave up this topic and handed it over I didn’t take it lightly. Client experience is the heart behind our conference and is so important to Robert and I so I asked her A LOT of questions before I knew 110% that she is the perfect girl for the job! Her heart is as big as it gets and we just can not wait to hear all about the experience that she gives her couples and the experience that you can design to work for you! So without further adieu, here is our little interview. Whoops, I didn’t mean for that to rhyme. haha
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Interview with Hannah Bryerton
What do you love most about being a wedding photographer?
Honestly: the friendships. It’s so funny because as an artist, you would assume I’d say something like “creating artwork” or “documenting and telling stories!” ….Obviously those things are incredible, too, but I truly just downright LOVE people. I adore serving my couples to the best of my ability (hello, where my enneagram 2s at?!) and loving them well through such an exciting season of life! The friendships I build along the way are what make my job so rewarding and worth it!
What is your favorite part of your wedding experience?
Narrowing it down to ONE part is tough because it’s an entire process in itself! Each step is so crucial in the relationship building that they hardly stand alone without the others. If I was held at gunpoint and forced to pick one, I guess it’d be the engagement session! I love starting out as (almost) complete strangers, getting to know them as a couple, being able to talk all things wedding, starting our list of never-ending inside jokes, and then leaving with a hug & little bag of my homemade chocolate chip cookies. (We also chase pretty light, learn to pose, document some killer images, and all that jazz! But like I said, the relationships are the BEST part!)
Share with us a few special things that you do for your couples?
Hannah Bryerton Couples are welcomed to the family with a little package of happy mail: A bridal guide full of helpful planning tips, a “Hannah Bryerton Bride” tee-shirt, and a custom-designed hat for the groom! (I swear NOTHING makes my heart smile more than getting a text, email or Instagram message of them wearing their new garb!) They also receive helpful little emails every so often along the course of their planning to help decide on more vendors, nailing down a cohesive wedding style, all the nitty-gritty logistics, and so forth! I sit down with them one-on-one to finalize timeline planning and address any questions! And, of course, they receive little surprises in the mail before and after their wedding! Those are top secret, though; you kind of have to BE a Hannah Bryerton Bride (or attend the Graceful Gathering) in order to have access to ALL that inside information!
What is one thing wedding photographers can do to care for their couples that doesn’t include gifting?
Make your couples a priority and EDUCATE them! It costs zero dollars to simply BE there for your people. As a wedding photographer, you are an invaluable resource to your couples; they may only have the opportunity to plan one wedding, while you are a professional in the industry! As overwhelming as countless emails can be, you simply caring for them and being there to help along the way will move mountains. Try to answer questions before they are asked and provide them with endless resources for information. If you’re addressing their questions BEFORE they arise, they will feel so well-cared for! You are likely one of the largest investments they make on their wedding day, and we should never take that responsibility lightly. The greatest gift you can give them is your time!
What is your biggest challenge as a wedding photographer?
The unrealistic expectations that are continually placed on the wedding industry. (Sorry, things just got really deep here!!)
Full transparency: I believe that, over time, wedding days have become an over-the-top production, rather than an authentic celebration of love and a sacred commitment between two people. My biggest challenge is finding a balance between creating art, meeting every expectation, and documenting authentic moments as they happen. It breaks my heart when I see a bride get so caught up in the details that they forget why they’re there to begin with! My favorite wedding days are the ones where overwhelming joy is present in every single moment, and the couples fully embrace the celebration without worrying if it’s Pinterest-worthy. I love a beautiful, intricately-planned wedding as much as the next photographer, but not when it means sacrificing the true joy of the day!
How did you become a wedding photographer?
When I started taking pictures, I swore I would NEVER become a wedding photographer. It was far too much stress and way too much pressure. Documenting a once-in-a-lifetime day completely overwhelmed me. (There are no do-overs?! No thank you!) And let’s be honest, wedding photography is kind of the big leagues of portraits and events, right? You have to be a master of all lighting conditions, as well as styles of photography, and you can’t miss a single thing because authentic moments cannot simply be replicated! It was a lot to wrap my head around. I want to say that I woke up one morning with a divine calling from the Lord, but it truly didn’t happen overnight. The Lord changed my heart and shaped me into the photographer I am today, very gradually. It started by taking on a small wedding for a friend, then another for a friend-of-a-friend. I second shot for other photographers here and there, and the next thing I knew, I had ten weddings booked on my calendar. After graduating from college in 2014, I worked full-time in the marketing field for a year. I just knew the 9-5 office job wasn’t for me, so I left it to pursue my dream of being a full-time photographer. The Lord continually provided after that. I accredit any success I’ve had solely to Him, because I truly had NO idea what I was getting myself into back in 2015! It’s been the craziest, most rewarding, yet challenging and amazing journey I’ve ever been on. I know I won’t be a wedding photographer forever, but goodness this season of life has been sweet.