Just an FYI: this is probably gonna be long for you to read and very soul-bearing for me to share, so please grab your favorite hot beverage and settle in.
I recently had a conversation with another wedding friendor (a wedding vendor turned friend) about my commitment to customer service- or rather my over-commitment to it. It made me realize that I haven’t publicly shared something about myself and my business that I’ve been hoping y’all would just figure out (and some of you have!!!). What I need to share about myself and my business with y’all is that my commitment to service is not superficial or something that I know I should have because I’m providing a service to you guys. It is an ingrained part of my core being, and something I do, no matter what.
My husband and my best friend can attest to the fact that I often find myself going above and beyond the call of duty to serve people in ways that no one else would. I often put in extra effort on projects to surprise my clients, I show up with homemade presents for people just because I know it's something they'll appreciate, I give of everything I can without depriving my own family of things they need. It's often why I ask, "What's convenient for you?" when meeting with a friend or potential client, because I'd rather inconvenience myself than you. It means arriving early and staying late, whispering prayers for people I don't even know, showing compassion and love in unexpected ways and places, and so much more. It means expecting nothing in return.
To answer the question you're probably wondering about, yes, I've gotten burned more times than I can even remember. In fact, I've been demeaned, reprimanded, and even abused for and because of my service to others. I've been taken advantage of repeatedly. It hurts beyond words when this happens. I've had to learn when to lend a helping hand, and when to protect myself. But because of who I am, what I believe, and the example I've been set, I continue to serve others to the best and fullest extent of my abilities.
My service to others has been repaid in so many unexpected ways, and almost never from people I've served (with the exception of close friends and family). The best example I can think of came last summer. I was photographing a family portrait session in Ruidoso, New Mexico, when I hit a pot hole on a back road and threw the tie rod on my front passenger tire. Not only was the family I was photographing nice enough to come pick me up so that we could do their session and then return me to my car, the people that I had called for help came without question, towed my car back to their house with their truck and trailer, fed me dinner, gave me a safe place to stay for the night, and waited with me until my dad could come to get my car and me. Had I ever done anything to deserve this from them? Nope. Have I been able to repay them directly? Nope. But I have gone on to serve others in need, and they themselves shared stories with me of when they had been served by another whom they had not been able to repay directly. This is what service means to me.
Why do I do this? I do it because I believe the world is a much better place when we serve one another without expectations. I do it because there are people who need help. I do it because others have served me, and I want to pay it forward. I do it because it is the right thing to do.
To my clients, I promise to serve you to the best of my abilities, including above and beyond my responsibilities as your photographer. To my friends and family, you know I love you and do anything I can to help you. To the rest of you, I hope that one day I get to meet you, and serve you.