Jared Gant is one of our incredible SLR Lounge Educational Ambassadors, offering his professional wedding photography business experience and tips to our Master the Business of Photography with SLR Lounge where he serves as the Community Leader. He’s also a brand ambassador for companies such as MagMod, Holdfast Gear, and Tave! Each week he prompts our community to discuss and participate in a weekly challenge to help navigate the tricky waters of running a photography business. You can follow more of his work on his Instagram, Website, and Wedding Maps Profile. We interviewed Jared for our readers to get to know our fearless Community Leader and why he was chosen as an SLR Lounge Educational Ambassador.
Before you jump in, here’s a video of Jared introducing himself!
What Made You Decide to Focus on Wedding Photography?
“I have always loved photographing people. Capturing individuals during important times in their life is an amazing way to honor and celebrate who they are as an individual at that moment. Later, as I started to consider photography as a career path, weddings strongly appealed to me because of the amount of raw emotion and movement there is throughout the entire day. I get a front-row seat to an intimate setting and get to see the emotions and excitement from the early morning during prep, when nerves may be high, to the end of the night when everyone is just dancing and having the time of their life, and everything in between – it’s absolutely amazing!”
What’s One Tool You Use (software, app, etc) That Helps You Daily in Managing Your Business?
“Without any doubt, in recent years, moving my client management over to Tave has allowed me to streamline and make things easier, as well as better my client experience. The automation capabilities have forced me to deeply think about and re-structure my system. Now every morning, one of my favorite emails is from Tave letting me know all the things it did on my behalf. This isn’t meant to be a shameless plug because I genuinely love this software, but if you’re interested in giving Tave a try, you can join here to get two free months.”
What Are You Currently Reading (Photography or Non-Photography)?
“I am currently reading the book Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy. This was suggested to me by my friend, Spencer Boerup, founder of MagMod. I absolutely love to read and consume as much education and books as possible. Unfortunately, there’s about a 4 month period during the busy season that that consumption slows down quite a bit. But it’s without a doubt my favorite past time in winter months.”
Why Does Education Matter To You?
“Education matters to me personally as an educator because it gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to me. If there’s any way that I can lighten the burden on one’s journey through life by sharing what I have learned along my journey than I want to try. I have found that teaching is one of the best ways of doing that. As a student, education means growth and a fast track process of gaining more experiences. I want as many positive experiences in life as possible.”
How would you describe your approach to wedding photography?
I would describe my approach to wedding photography as fun, photojournalistic, detail-oriented, and bold. I approach the day as it is, in the most creative way possible.
You regularly photograph 40-50 weddings each year. How do you manage that, especially given that you run your business solo?
When I think about how I manage to photograph over 40 weddings a year, I would have to break it down into four areas: marketing, client relationships, preparation, and the actual photography (including editing and delivery).
- First, I stay busy with regular, but simple, marketing: advertising with The Knot; posting on Instagram daily; and regularly participating in photography communities on social media like the SLR Lounge Photography Community, the #MagMod Community, and The Art of the Second Shot. I also work on my Google ranking by blogging regularly and posting on YouTube. As well, I respond to inquiries quickly and hold to the policy that 15 minutes on the phone is better than 1 hour of emails.
- Next, I do my best to maintain excellent relationships with my clients, which definitely leads to word of mouth referrals. I believe in giving gifts and cards celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. I get to know my clients well: engagement sessions, phone calls, emails, texts, and social media engagements. I’ll even have drinks with clients when the opportunity presents itself. And most importantly, I keep my clients in the loop, giving them access to notes from our conversations. This keeps them apprised of all the necessary details leading up to their wedding day.
- Proper preparation prevents poor performance. So, I streamline as much as I can for my clients in the form of a client questionnaire. I also discuss expectations, the day’s schedule, etc., well in advance of the wedding day. I always have an assistant or second shooter work with me (mainly for the purpose of maintaining, organizing, and setting up gear … and watching the schedule).
- Finally, I am constantly assessing and elevating the value of my photography for my clients. What does that look like? I match and mirror emotions while photographing; I under promise and over deliver; and I get help when I need it (usually editing and accounting).
What is your favorite part of being a wedding photographer?
It would have to be documenting people honoring and celebrating their love … I really love what I do! I get to meet the most amazing people and get to have the front-row seat for the happiest day of their life!