Priest Lake Lovin’ Senior

Andrew has been going to Priest Lake to his family’s cabin since he was a youngster.

Now, the Coeur d’Alene High School senior works at Elkins Resort on Priest Lake every summer and gets to enjoy his down time paddle boarding, riding his dirt bike, hanging with his dog, hiking, or just lounging around.

When we were discussing what characterizes him best, Priest Lake was at the forefront. And his car.


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Engagement Session Part Deux

When I got the call from Matt and Chelsea, there was a little hint of desperation. Okay, maybe a lot.

They were a couple who were neck deep into their wedding planning. They had a lot of vendors picked out. They knew where the shindig was going to go down. They even had their photographer picked out. But there was the problem.

When they booked one of their vendors, they also had an add-on photography service too. That’s an offer that makes it easy for the couple booking their vendors because it lessens their “vendor booking” load. A consultation, a review of some images, and they were ready to sign.

But when they got back their engagement pictures, it wasn’t a match made in heaven. They weren’t clicking with the photographer, didn’t care for how the shoot went, and weren’t too happy with the images. It didn’t represent who they were or show any personality.

Matt and Chelsea broke a few of the cardinal rules of booking a photographer:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for references if you can’t find reviews online for your photographer (or any vendor for that matter).
  2. Ask if you can see a proofing gallery from a recent wedding and what you can expect to get when you get your images back. This will give you an opportunity to see if they shoot 2,000 and get lucky with a few, or if they provide quality images throughout the shoot.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions about any concerns or unknowns.

Luckily, the photographer was a stand-up guy and knew customer appreciation was key to solving Matt and Chelsea’s issue. So, he let them out of their contract and wished them luck.

Which brings them to me.

During our phone call, we went over their background and set a consultation for a few days later at Hay J’s in Liberty Lake (damn tasty grub by the way).

I sent them links to my online reviews, showed them some proofing galleries from recent engagement sessions and weddings, and answered all their questions and address the concerns I knew they’d have after their first experience. Then it was dinner time and we were set to shoot their engagement session five days later and their wedding in October.

For their engagement session, it was an afternoon jaunt around Tubbs Hill and along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. And these two were up for billy goating up and down trails as I found spots for them to goof off, Matt to practice his heel-click jump, and rock their session.

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The Importance Of Knowing

Over the years, I’ve been contacted by a lot of people who liked my work and wanted to hire me right away. And when I first was getting started in this business venture, I took them all on.

That was a mistake.

The old adage that any business is good business is crap. It should be, the right business is good business. And in order to find the right business, you need to apply some filters to the selection process. This is why I do a consultation with every single person who wants to do business with me and I send out questionnaires to get a feel for who I’m going to be meeting with and what their expectations, wants and needs are.

This method is great for not only me, but the people who are looking to hire me too. Because even though they may like my images, and the way I tell a story, they may not like my approach, laid-back style, or the amount of emails and questionnaires I send out. I may find out during a consultation that even though the beachfront wedding in Kauai may sound like a great opportunity, the bride and groom really want to focus on family portraits, or create moments rather than allowing me to document what happens naturally. Or, maybe we’re just polar opposites on personality and it’s just an odd pairing.

“Even though he was in Idaho, I thought i would give him a call because i loved his style of photos on his website. He was professional, he was easy going and made me feel very comfortable on our initial call. Jerome made the time to get to know us and established a relationship with us, which is so important when you are asking someone to document one of the most important days of your life!” — Katie B.

These meetings have been a lot of fun, as well as helpful to myself and the people who I’m sitting down with because we get to see how we fit — if we fit. And if we don’t, that’s where I start to think about the photographers I do know and trust who would be a good fit for the couple.

In the past, I’ve had couples who were ready to write checks for the full amount when they find out I’m available. And a few weeks later, at the consultation, we’re both happy that didn’t happen. And in the end, they were able to get a photographer that was a great all-around fit, and I was able to keep my schedule open for those couples who are a great fit.

No matter who you’re looking to hire for your wedding day (photographer, DJ, caterer, planner, etc.) make sure they’re a good fit with you beyond the fact that they do good work. Be selective, ask questions, and make sure you mesh.

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