Successful Wedding Photography Business

A satisfied and happy couple = awesome marketing and promotion tool. That goes without saying. The question is how do I create a professional image of my company and myself as an artist to attract couples? Yeah, we do often rely on word of mouth. It works so well. But then again, you’ll need some professional reference that your prospective clients may get some insight to. These include: offer, website and portfolio and customer service. Let me focus on these.

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Offer – How to Write Great Wedding Photography Offer?

A carefully thought out offer is a key to successful sales of your services. Neglecting that important aspect may lead to difficulties in presenting what you actually sell and in the end prevent you from selling anything. When constructing your offer there are many aspects you need to take into consideration like costs, market and even logistics.

Once you know what market you want your target to be, then you need to calculate costs – the permanent ones, like e.g. insurances and bills as well as operating ones like e.g. materials. Then, you have to take into account your investments into e.g. equipment or software. Another important issue to consider is seasonality of the business and local market and competition. These factors are absolutely vital to take into account when thinking of your own pricing.

Another essential thing in your offer should be packages. What is that? It’s simply a list of services and products you offer to a couple. You may ask- why do I need them? The answer is: to increase your profit! If you decide to introduce a la carte pricing that would include only basic coverage, most couples will opt for this version forgetting about albums e.g. or thinking that they will order it cheaper. In practice you lose not only money, but also a chance to show how professional you are with well-designed albums, presentations and what not.

Dividing what you offer into categories helps your packages be visible. Yet, remember not to include too many as it just produces confusion. It is like with restaurants’ menus. The fancy one will give you a limited choice menu, the low-end ones: enormously long lists of meals. Which one you want to be associated with? Another thing is not to cram too much in a package. Why? Because it is an easy target for the couple to start bargaining you down by asking:

How the price will change if we resign from e.g. DVD with presentation?

If you make the packages relatively simple, you’ll be sure that there is no room for things they can take away. It is always better to offer extras – additional products or services that could generate your profit like e.g. extra prints or additional albums.

The layout is just as important as its content – you’re visual artists right? Forget about just a few words about your services in an e-mail form. The competition is fierce, so make your offer look professional. As simplicity is elegance, first and foremost make it simple and straightforward. Do not elaborate too much- nobody wants to read numbers of pages. Limit yourself to 2-4 pages. If you prepare your offer in a graphic program, it is a good idea to include some of your best shots as it will give the couple an opportunity once again to have a quick look at your work. But make sure there are not too many of them as the document gets heavy and the pictures and offer are cohesive in color with your website.

What all photographers should be aware of is that not monitoring market changes is a huge mistake. That results in sticking to your offer for years while in the meantime the competition gets more and more powerful. So make sure you revise your offer every year so that you do not stay behind and consequently lose customers.

Additional resource: eBook by Lawrence Chan – Creative Pricing and Packaging for Photographers

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Website – How to Attract a Wedding Couple?

This is a very powerful marketing tool so never neglect it! Practically: “No website, no us in the business”. One good photo successfully presented means a thousand words. What is more, with the Internet you’re no longer local. A good website showcasing your work not only brands you but also attracts new customers and grows your business. And while nicely knitted layout draws clients in, the content part actually keeps the clients there. So the content on your website is crucial and should be unique as to distinguish you from other photographers. Also, as photography is about visual arts, through your website design you should show your eye for creativity and good taste.

Apart from that, make the design logical to make it usable for people. Categories shown in HOME part of your site are immensely helpful. There you may include information about you, your portfolio and contact page. I wish to concentrate more on PORTFOLIO as that is where you actually present your work and is the key information for the couple when choosing a photographer.

A popular and successful approach to organizing your pictures is to put them in categories according to themes: Preparations or Pre-Ceremony, Ceremony, Reception and Session. The key is to make the site user-friendly by allowing the viewers to navigate easily.

Remember the comparison of packages and a restaurant menu? Here, it works too. If you put too many pictures in your portfolio, the viewer might feel confused and get bored easily having had enough. Remember that there are limits to viewers’ perception.

The best strategy? Balancing between quantity and quality. Unless you’re an absolute beginner, try to avoid presenting too many pictures from one wedding. If you present photographs from different ceremonies you’ll show you have the right experience, different approaches to moments and make your gallery more attractive. Don’t show multiple images of one situation where the picture looks practically the same. The will just weaken the impression. Remember the old saying: “Your portfolio is only as good as your worst image”, so make sure you have no weak photographs in your portfolio.

When it comes to image size – you have to make sure they are not too small. You don’t want the couple to lean in closer to the monitor just because they are very small and the opposite- by putting a picture too large you make them scroll up and down or left and right.

What’s more, nothing destroys your portfolio more than aggressive watermarks on your photographs. If you wish to watermark your pictures, make it subtle, so that it does not distract the viewers’ attention from the picture itself.

The coherence of your photographs in the portfolio is vital as it helps to show your individual style and helps the couple to be aware of what to expect from you. Delicious Presets for Lightroom 4/5 might come handy to make your material cohesive.

Another thing – the speed. I’m sure most of you are aware that there is nothing more irritating about online galleries than waiting too long to advance to the next image. When creating your website- make sure the gallery runs fast and smooth.

Your site should be a living entity that requires constant care. You want to keep the clients engaged and by no means the greatest way to do that is blogging. It keeps the viewers informed about us, our work and how we work. That could be vital for couples that live far away from our location. This is a great tool to get to know not only our pictures but also us – the photographers since we ‘re not anonymous anymore.

If you decide on blogging, then make it up-to-date. Couples love to hear what you’re up to. It helps to keep old clients and draw new ones. Blogging is like story telling and so is the wedding. That makes a perfect combination. So don’t just throw pictures randomly – tell a story!

In order to heat up the atmosphere, a great way is to present a sneak-peek. Make sure you choose a stunning shot! – You’ll see how quickly the couple will direct others to your website! And don’t forget about social media like Facebook or Twitter. They work for our promotion so quickly. The couples share our photos, then their friends get to see them, and more friends and more… That creates a long chain of promotion for us! Just remember to tell the couple to give a credit when publishing the photographs.

Here is a state-of-art solution to create your own website with blog: ProPhoto WordPress Theme

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Customer Service – How to Care for Your Wedding Couples?

Never neglect first impressions. These usually take the form of telephone calls or e-mails. In case of e-mails, don’t take too much time to answer them. Even if the couple asks about a date that you have already booked. Why? Because you do not leave the feeling of being neglected. If the date is not yet booked, then you answer with an attachment that includes your offer. When you talk to the couple, always be frank and listen to them trying not to dominate. Try to present what you offer in a clear and easy to understand way. And never ever force the couple to choose you. Being pressed feels really off-putting.
When you finally get to meet the couple, remember that every element may play a part: the place, the way you look or communicate.

Make sure the place you meet is convenient for the couple in terms of location and transport. Make sure it looks decent, as it’s all about visual beauty- not too loud, not too cramped. Never come late. This is a huge mistake and may lead to loosing prospective clients as they may feel neglected and get the impression of you as a latecomer. Well, what would happen if you came late for their wedding?

Bring final products of your work. Surely, the couple had seen your portfolio before, however, it is always good to present elegant albums and prints. They become more real. But before you get down to present your photographs, spend some time on loose chat with the couple to make the atmosphere warmer and friendlier. It may happen that the couple may need your advice – do advise, however, try to adjust it to your couple’s needs.

Take notes! Why? Meetings with couples often take place some time before the ceremony. It is good to remember as much as possible. Taking down any important details discussed with the couple is a MUST. However, you may want to add to your notes some information about the couple itself, what kind of people they are, what they are interested in, and their style. It is a great way of making your work more personal. Moreover, you need to know what exactly the couple wants. You can just ask questions and note their answers or prepare a kind of form earlier.

Whichever way you choose, make sure you get the detailed information. If there happen to be any changes to arrangements, make sure they are confirmed via e-mail. This will help to avoid any possible misunderstandings between you and the couple.

The most pleasant moment is when you get to present the effects of your work. The atmosphere during that moment should also be pleasant so keep that in mind when choosing a place. If you give them also a presentation – show it on your laptop. It is so nice to watch their reactions.

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Nowadays, struggling with such a fierce competition in the market of wedding photography, try to be as professional as you can be. The photographs are important. Very important. However, with the service you provide, the channels of communication should never be neglected.