If you’re looking to get into the market of destination weddings or you’re already invested, you may want to take notes. There is plenty of opportunity out there for all photographers and good money to be made. And it doesn’t matter where you live or if you have a family.
There are five tried and true methods of marketing a wedding photography business—or really, the business of any professional photographer. In this article, I’d like to answer that frequently asked question, although, by necessity, in much less succinct form than the askers may have hoped.
Let me begin by saying, if you’ve read any of my previous articles in Shutter, you know that whatever the topic, I speak to you from my perspective. I consider myself a “regular” photographer, here to share my story and hopefully inspire and educate my fellow photographers on things I've learned along the way.
So why do I still shoot film, when clearly digital cameras offer so many advantages over traditional analog film? I’ve been asked this a lot at workshops and conferences where I’ve spoken.
If you’re not taking your time to preserve the details they’ve worked so hard on, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity! If you’re only sharing your couple creatives, you’re not being found when they search for something like “Moroccan wedding decor.” And of course, capturing images of these details is a great way to earn referrals from your fellow wedding vendors.
You can easily practice these concepts on regular objects around the house or on a planned practice session with one or two people. Some of these concepts are easier to pull off than others, and with great planning and preparation, you can allot yourself the time to experiment on a wedding day. Introduce off-camera flash slowly at first, while leaning on your natural light work to get the safe shots. Once you feel confident you have a strong body of natural light work to lean on, you’ll have less pressure on you should your OCF images not work out. I make a point to not show the back of the camera images to couples if I’m not confident in the end result. The last thing I want to deal with is a couple feeling like they are missing images you showed them on their wedding day.
I believe wedding photography is a lot more involved than most other genres of photography. What I mean by “involved” is that a wedding day usually lasts 8-12 hours and has many moving parts and we, as photographers, are involved in it all throughout the day. We are also involved in the wedding much earlier. Our relationship with the client starts months before the big day and sometimes years earlier. As a boutique studio, I go out of my way to get to know my clients and what is important to them. How can I know what they love and want if I don’t ask? I’m genuinely curious. So on your next potential client meeting, make sure you ask. This is one of the most vital pieces of information because it will lead you to take images that are important to your clients. My curiosity has led me to photograph so many amazing moments.
Understanding color output is an essential part of professional photography. However, there are limits to what you can control. You can't determine how images look on people's devices. However, you can ensure that you're giving them the best chance to view your work in the way you intended. More importantly, having consistent color across your workflow creates the very best print products for your clients who love sharing your beautiful work digitally and with prints.
What I propose is that you have a system for engagement shoots (or really any shoot). Maybe you’ll only have it in the back of your mind and bring it up on the uncreative days. Or perhaps you’ll just use it as a starting point to get everything flowing from there. Either way, having a go-to process in my head has helped me on numerous occasions. Posing guides are great, but having a method in the back of your mind will be much faster to access. Here’s my method and process of how I shoot my typical engagement session and how I interact with my clients and pose them. My sessions are slated as hour-long sessions, usually shooting about an hour before sunset so I have the best natural light and can maybe even snag a sunset or twilight picture or two.
By transforming our business from a shoot and burn model to a full service IPS photography studio, we took our income from a yearly average of $70K to $195K in one year. I’m not going to lie to you—it was hard work. We revamped our logo, our website, thought about what we could do to elevate our client experience, and most importantly, added IPS. We realized we were leaving so much money on the table and we weren’t helping our clients where they needed it most. Here are 6 actions we took to get the ball rolling.