Invitation to the Party
Pattee has a well-thought-out strategy for attracting her desired clientele. "When I started out, I advertised in the San Francisco Chronicle's wedding issues and learned to spend ad dollars only on wedding-oriented publications. I'd socialize and network within the wedding industry as much as possible. Relationships established back then are still being nourished and often blossom into wonderful leads and opportunities. I also use postcard mailers to promote, but these are not nearly as effective as personal contact."
Event planners are very important to Pattee. "Top coordinators, such as Laurie from Laurie Arons Special Events, have the ability to gather together some fantastic talent. Their clients tend to have healthy wedding budgets, allowing vendors to really fly at their craft. I supply planners with images from all their events. This involves time and money, but it's very worthwhile. I cannot emphasize enough the value of giving 25 8x10 prints to the coordinator who brought you a $15,000 gig."
These days, Pattee is also working with Schurman Design, owners of the Papyrus stationery stores. The company has used her images for its book The Wedding Planner, plus several greeting cards, gift wrap, and gift bags. Her photos have appeared in Town & Country, Martha Stewart Living, and Seventeen. Coffee-table books, including Colin Cowie Weddings, The Perfect Home Wedding, and Town & Country Elegant Weddings, have also featured her bridal images.
Aside from shooting nuptials, Pattee is looking forward to a personal portrait project, photographing exquisite older women residents of North Sonoma County. To stay current on technical updates, she takes Photoshop and other digital-related workshops.
"A trusting relationship is everything," she says. "When the wedding couple appreciates my work and releases their anxiety about the photography for their wedding, that trust is priceless."
For more Pattee images, visit www.michellepattee.com.
Michelle Pattee's Gear Box
Hasselblad 503CW, 501C, 500C
Nikon F100, N90, F3
Kodak Portra 400 and 800, T-Max 400, Ilford 3200
Lighting and Filters
Nikon SB-80DX Speedlights
Apple Mac G5 and G4 15" PowerBook
HP Photosmart 7660 Photo Printer
Epson 2400 scanner
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Kimbo, Photoworks, Gamma photo labs Gitzo tripods
Tiffen Soft/FX filters, Hoya Close-Up filters
Leather Craftsmen albums