We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Vidal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what do you attribute your success to?
My focus has always been on delivering the best product that I can to my clients while making their purchasing experience as equally enjoyable if not more so than that final product. I have come to see that every interaction that I have with my clients, from the initial pitch to the explanation of my payment schedule to the final delivery of the product–each little step is part of the totality of what they are buying. They aren’t just purchasing wedding imagery, they are inviting me along on their journey and every little element of my contribution to that journey counts. My clients want to feel special, to feel catered to and listened to. I leave them feeling guided and valued, not exploited or taken advantage of.
My clients always feel like they’ve gotten way more bang for their buck than they should have because I don’t nickel and dime them, I happily work within their budgets to make them feel like they’ve gotten their own special discount, and I always under-promise and over-deliver. Could I have gotten them to pay more? Probably, but not without losing that feeling of VALUE that they felt when they paid their last payment and received their photos and video, and were blown away.
My success so far has been built around the idea that the perceived “value” of a product has two factors: quality and cost. Most people think that those two are necessarily correlated, in that the higher the quality of something the more it should cost. That might be true in the case of hard goods like leather bags or sports cars, but for art, for digital products like the ones I deliver, whose impacts and enjoyment are emotional and not physical, I can optimize for both. Just like your favorite movie costs just as much as any other, high quality wedding photos and films don’t have to be right on the edge of what you can afford.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The approach I take with my wedding imagery is an artistic one. My aim is not to simply passively capture the events of the day, but to present those events in a way that maximizes the emotional impact that they have for the viewer. Unlike a lot of photographers I know at my price point, I am “on” for the entirety of the day. I’ve found this necessary to do in order to be where I need to be to capture those priceless moments that only happen once and only are noticeable if you’re looking. All wedding photographers come to know the basic shots and moments that happen at every wedding, and many photographers are content to just be “on” to capture those moments, but I go a step further. Not only do I capture the basics but I’m on a constant look-out for those moments that are unique to that particular couple’s wedding day, those moments that go unnoticed by a lot of photographers that are thinking only of their shot list. It’s those moments that I capture that I think set me apart.
For me, that’s the important part about what I do. I see a lot of wedding photography out there that is the copy and paste variety where you see the same 10 poses with different people shoehorned into them. My goal is to capture the more elusive aspect of that couple’s story that is uniquely them and that requires an entirely different approach, but man are the results worth it. How often have you seen a wedding photographer’s portfolio and been brought to tears? My goal is to never stop tearing up when I witness these beautiful moments and to always be ready to immortalize them with my photography.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not the going out type of person, but I like good food and I like walking in nature so it would probably involve a different steakhouse every night, mixed with walking around the nature preserves like Eagle Mountain Park in Ft. Worth, or the many trails that snake around Lewisville lake or Ray Hubbard.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The one person who helped me the most to get to where I am today in my business is probably the photographer that I first started assisting for on weddings in 2004-2006. He didn’t do much to teach me about photography specifically but he showed me everything else: how to adequately prepare, how to interact with the clients, how to pose, how to conduct oneself during the entirety of the day, all those things it takes to be a successful WEDDING photographer.
That experience laid the foundation for all the development I would do on my own, and I wouldn’t be where I am without it.