3 Keys of High-End Weddings with Vanessa Joy

One of the goals on the vision board of a lot of wedding photographers is the high-end wedding. Depending on where you are in the world, this can have a very different connotation. I’m in the New Jersey and New York City area, one of the most expensive regions to have a wedding, where high-end means multimillion-dollar weddings at places like Cipriani and The Plaza.

Whatever high-end means to you, you have to find a way to appeal to more luxurious clients. This isn’t easy, especially if you don’t run in those crowds yourself (I sure don’t). But there are ways to position yourself and your brand so you get in front of those clients and make them happy when you do.

Client Experience

This is, above all, the most important part of photographing a high-end wedding. I know, you expected me to start with “here’s where you get high-end leads.” Guess what? There’s no magic to that other than targeting your marketing and advertising toward them (which is another article in itself). The problem that most photographers face is not knowing how to give those prospects an experience that leaves the pickiest of brides begging for more.

To top it off, word-of-mouth is touted to be one of the best forms of marketing. If you want your brides talking about you, give them something to talk about. This is true regardless of where your ideal client falls on the low- to high-end wedding spectrum. It’s even more true if you’re aiming high. High-end brides expect a superior experience from you just as they expect a superior experience from where they bought their Porsche.

Here are some ways you can ensure you’re giving a stellar experience to everyone who walks through your door.

  • Give, give, give—and then give some more. Give gifts and surprises they don’t expect. Don’t give discounts (that’s very anti-high-end). Give gifts even in your photography packages if you’d like.
  • Overcompensate if something goes wrong. Things go wrong, but if you give them way more than is required to make it right, you’re going to end up on top.
  • If you meet them in person, act like they are customers at your high-end restaurant. Give them food and wine, hang up their coats, set the ambience—everything you’d expect when walking into a Michelin restaurant.
  • Ask what they need. Always keep the lines of communication open and be one step ahead of them. Set yourself up to be able to answer questions before they ask them. Get them to open up so you know their expectations and concerns.


I talk a bit about this in my video. Don’t think I’m telling you to go out and buy a $1,000 suit, but there’s a lot to be said for being relatable to your client. Since your client knows you only skin-deep, the superficial is all they have to start finding a connection with you, for now.

If you can’t afford to buy some kind of statement piece that’ll bring up your relatability to high-end clients, educate yourself on them. It’s a trivial example, but if you don’t know why those red soles are important on a bride’s wedding shoes, then there’s a chance they’re not going to look at you like you understand what’s important throughout the day.

I remember the first time I second-shot for a high-end wedding photographer in NYC. I did not understand most of the words that were coming out of the bride and wedding planner’s mouths, and I’m pretty sure I embarrassed myself with the clothes I wore. Now I’m glad for experiences like this one. If you get the chance, second-shoot for other photographers’ high-end weddings.

There are a lot of other ways to brand your appearance and business. Check out my free ebook, 9 Secret Ways to Brand Your Business, at BreatheYourPassion.com.

Social Media Presence

Most of what I told you above comes into play once you have clients contacting you and you get a chance to meet or work with them. This tip comes before that and therefore is actually more important than the first two because it’s your first impression.

Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are your storefront, even more than your website at times. If you don’t have those three social media accounts, get them. Prospective clients look at your social presence and judge your credibility and capability from them.

Here are three ways you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward online.

  • Post often, at least once a day.
  • Engage others by liking and commenting, and even sharing other posts.
  • Have consistent visuals and voice. Instagram, in particular, is your new portfolio.

Even if you’re not looking to tap into the high-end market, all of these concepts apply to the industry in general. As the world becomes smaller and consumers become more educated on how solid brands and businesses operate, the more expectant they’ll be of what they experience with you.

Give yourself a leg up and start reflecting on what your business says to clients, and make positive changes along the way. You and your clients will be happy you did.

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the March 2018 magazine.

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