Atlanta And BeyondAmanda
Atlanta & beyondest. 2009

Welcome APW Readers!



If you are a dreamer, come in.  ― Shel Silverstein

 Hello New APW Friends!

Today is my sponsored post on A Practical Wedding, my favorite wedding blog.  Which means were going to have a few extra guests here today (I hope!).  So I’d like to welcome the new peeps, (Hey new friends!!) and take a moment to talk a little bit about how I do things, because I don’t do stuff the way I’m supposed to.  At all.  Except for the part about making awesome photos.  I go all out for that.


However, other than making awesome photos, I consider the rest of the ‘shoulds’ to be optional.  Since you’re probably scratching your head about now, I’m going to ‘splain.  You see, the photography industry is full of people who have all these ideas about how you should find clients, market to them, and generally interact with them.  I think a lot of that stuff is outdated and occasionally mildly (or blatantly) manipulative and dishonest.  So here’s a few of the things all the experts say I should do, and why I don’t do them.


I should pressure potential clients to sign a contract during our first meeting.  Not only will I not try, I will refuse to allow anyone who attempts to.  Hiring the perfect wedding photographer is a big deal, and I really think every couple should take the time to discuss how they felt about the meeting in private and read the contract before making a serious commitment.  After all, my contract is five pages long.  The first two pages are where addresses and other info go, but the last three pages are dense legalese in 10 point Arial font.  That’s right.  No. Serif.  It’s not pretty, and it shouldn’t be skimmed over.  No, my contract isn’t unfair or anything, but geez, it’s still a contract.  Why would I rush someone into signing a contract they hadn’t read?  I won’t let anyone do that to me, and I certainly don’t want to do that to anyone else.  Now, if two or three hours after the meeting, I get an email with the signed contract… well, that’s different.


I should make you contact me for a price list instead of putting my price list on my website.  The idea is that if you contact me and hear my pitch, you’ll be willing to pay any price to be sure I’m the one to photograph your wedding.  Give me a break.  Are you really that big a goober?  I sure hope not.  So, I put my prices on my website, along with enough images for you to get an idea what my style looks like.  And I give you a chance to get to know me there too.  And I make it easy for you to contact me when you are ready.  Because I know you’re a grown up and pretty sophisticated, what with being bombarded with jillions of marketing messages per hour since birth.  You know when you’re being played and manipulated, just like I do.


I should always create promotions by adding value and never by offering discounts.  You see, instead of offering to perform wedding photography for you for a lesser price in exchange for your booking at a certain time, I should offer you some junk you really don’t want or need as an incentive to sign on the dotted line.  Apparently, if I offer a discount, it devalues me in your eyes.  Somehow, you think less of me if I say to you, ‘Hey, if I scratch your back, will you scratch mine?’  The thing is, I really don’t believe that.  I believe the world has changed faster than the marketing experts have adapted and that you are pretty sophisticated.  I believe that you understand that we are making a mutually beneficial arrangement, and that you have enough confidence in my work to know that I’ll do an amazing job for you just like I have for all the clients before you and all the clients after you, because that’s just how I roll.  And I’m also pretty confident that you can look at my photos and decide that you like them and that they’re a remarkable value for the price I’m asking, and then say ‘Woohoo!’ when I offer an incentive for my work.


I should list the most expensive wedding photography package first and make it so expensive that you would never choose it.  Actually, I just made a revision to my website and did half of that.  I reverse listed my wedding packages (scratch that, I changed it back), although the most expensive one is no different from the others.  It’s priced using the same calculations as all my packages, and still includes a very generous discount for purchasing multiple options up front.  The idea is that if you see the giant price tag first, all the other packages look like a deal.  How much more manipulative can we be?  I put my large package first because I wasnt convinced everyone was understanding all the cool things they can have (I decided it was silly to put number four first, and I’m betting that you can scroll).  I’m not insisting that you have anything that you don’t want, but I do want you to know how many cool things you can do with your photos, so I’ve made it a point to help you learn more about how to enjoy your photos.


I should keep my mouth shut about hot button current events.  My website should be fluffy and fun and non-offensive to everyone.  On the other hand, I feel pretty strongly about some stuff for some reason.  And if you and I don’t agree about one or two certain things, you know, like whether or not I count as a full citizen, then I pretty much don’t want your money, and you probably don’t want to give it to me anyway.  I’m not saying we have to agree on everything, or really much of anything.  I mean, I think it’s ok that you prefer Star Wars over Star Trek…. it’s kinda weird, but I can accept it.  And if you’re not a fan of Dr. Horrible or Scott Pilgrim, I probably won’t think any less of you.   It’s really just that one thing about whether or not I count as a citizen that I get stuck on.  Call me crazy.


I should donate your money to charity.  Notice I said ‘your’ money.  Believe it or not, making gifts to charity is a marketing strategy these days (ahem, not going to name any fast food chains here).  Despite that, part of my business model is gifting to and participating in charitable works because giving back is important to me.  We (me and my family) participate in several service projects,  and I donate a percentage of every booking to a charitable organization.  However, what I donate to charity is a percentage of my profit.  I am not charging you an extra fee and then donating YOUR money to charities I support.  I am donating MY money to charities I support.  To me, that’s an important distinction.  Why do I even tell you about my charitable works then?  There are a couple of reasons.  First, because charitable giving is part of our family philosophy, and I also believe it is an integral part of the definition of my business.  Pay it forward.  Second, this is an opportunity for me to give a little exposure to some charities I believe are very worthwhile that you might not have heard of before.  If you read some of my snarky posts, you may notice that I am pretty opinionated about other people telling me what to do with my life.  In that same vein, I am not going to charge you extra money so I can donate it to these charities.  However, if decide you want to give them your money, I will be more than happy to hook you up.


So that’s a little bit about me.  If you’d like to learn and see more, you can check out my wedding photography website.  Be sure to check out the FAQs and FUQs while youre there.  You can also learn a lot by checking out all the APW couples’ wedding posts here on my blog.  And for a laugh or two, you can read my snarky posts on the blog too.  Also, each of the photos that you see in this post links to the couple’s original blog post so you can see more of their wedding photos.

So that’s it.  I’d love to hear what you think!  So please leave comments.  And thanks for stopping by.  I’m looking forward to getting to know you.  Have an awesome day!

Amanda Summerlin
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Amanda Summerlin


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