So, you've just graduated with a photography degree, or maybe took some online courses and are loaded down with expensive equipment and newbie knowledge. Congratulations! You're well on your way to establishing an exciting career in a competitive industry.
A question I get all the time from photographers and videographers is, “How do we break into the luxury market?” That’s a fair question… but first let’s talk about why you would want to be a luxury wedding photographer.
With my signature white session, it’s all about my client. It has nothing to do with the background, the clothing or the jewelry. It’s about HER. How can I show her natural beauty without bringing confusion, chaos or any distractions?
You always hear that cliché, don't you? The best marketing is word-of-mouth. Well, sure, not having to pay for marketing is great. But how do you get people talking about you without paying them to do it?
You hear the notification from your email and… Yes! You have a new booking for your studio. You encourage your potential client into an actual paying client… Now, how do you take a client that’s nervous and relax them for their badass session?
In my self-discovery with newborn portraits, if you will, I realized I was photographing newborns how I had seen everyone else photograph them. Mistake #1. The one thing I am always encouraging other photographers to do is to find your groove, find your style. I was guilty of not doing this myself. I know... me! Can you believe it?!?! I mean, my rule of thumb is to create what you want… how you envision it, and then you market so the right people can find you for exactly what you do. We don’t shoot like others because we think that’s what our clients want. Because we all already know most of the time clients have no idea what they want. We educate them because we are the professional and we have a style.
Photographing newborns is one thing, but photographing children requires a whole lot of knowledge about child development, bribery, and cognitive behavior. I have been photographing children since I became an aunt 26 years ago. I remember when I first started observing my nieces and nephews, I was in love with their every move. I could quietly photograph them and it seemed so easy. I wasn’t their “parent” or their “paid photographer”—just Aunt Ana with a camera.
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.
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.
There are a lot of elements that go into making a wedding successful from a photographer’s perspective. A lot of times we feel that if the client is happy, then mission accomplished! But if that’s your only gauge of whether a wedding was successful or not, then there’s a lot you’re missing out on. I want to help challenge you to look at other aspects of a successful wedding day, from before you even book a client to getting bookings from guests at the wedding. Once you finish this article, I challenge you to make a list of items that define a successful wedding for you. But first, let’s jump into my top 5 tips for a successful wedding.