Most wedding photographers, myself included, always want to book more wedding photography clients. There are many ways to get more wedding photography clients.
You could learn how to use the Facebook ads platform. You could learn to understand human psychology and why people buy things. You could spend hundreds of hours watching webinars produced by Facebook marketing gurus. You could invest in posting Instagram stories every single day and engaging with Instagram users. You could try many things.
You should actually try all these things.
Because being a wedding photographer is the same as being an entrepreneur.
But what about Facebook Ads?
There has never been a better platform for targeting users. Facebook knows everything about you and about your ideal customer.
For full disclosure, I use Facebook Ads as part of my overall marketing strategy. I use it because it does what it promises.
But the one problem with relying on Facebook ads is that once you stop running the ads, you lose 100% of your website traffic.
Once you stop running the Facebook ads, you lose 100% of the attention.
To get more wedding photography clients without spending any money on Facebook advertising, you will need to follow these 5 steps:
Step 1. Identify a local wedding venue that has an existing customer base that you wish to attract.
Step 2. Identify a local wedding stylist and/or wedding florist and/or wedding planner that works frequently with the local wedding venue that you identified in step #1.
Step 3. Reach out to the wedding stylist and/or wedding florist and/or wedding planner via Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, email, or through an old fashioned phone call. Introduce yourself as a wedding photographer and tell them some recent work of theirs that you admire. Then offer them with an irresistible proposition.
Step 4. On the day, take the most amazing of photographs. Edit them and have them ready for download within 24-hours.
Step 5. Send a copy of the images to the event manager of the wedding venue.
Step 6. Follow up with the event manager and start building a personal relationship with him/her.
Let me break down the very same process that I apply in my own wedding photography business. Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
Step 1: Identify a local wedding venue that has an existing customer base that you wish to attract
What is the first thing that most couples do when they get engaged?
They begin looking for a venue for their wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Some couples will jump straight into looking for a wedding planner because they are time poor. However, the majority of recently engaged couples will start their wedding planning journey by looking for their dream wedding venue.
If you are new, if you have a limited portfolio, and/or if you wish to attract a different demographic of wedding photography clients, an establish wedding venue probably has a solution for you to get more wedding photography clients,
However, because you are new and because you have a limited portfolio, very few established wedding venue event managers will take a second look at your business.
Harsh? Yes. Unfair? No.
Step 2: Identify a local wedding stylist and/or wedding florist and/or wedding planner that works frequently with the local wedding venue that you identified in step #
Instead of going directly to a wedding venue, I have found that going through a wedding stylist or wedding florist or wedding planner has delivered much more positive results.
Most wedding stylists, florists and/or wedding planners do not receive photographs that are reflective of their hard work. Even if they do, it often takes weeks if not months.
This is your opportunity as an entrepreneur to solve their problem by offering your services to them.
Using Instagram, find out which stylists, florists, and/or wedding planners frequent the wedding venue that you identified in step #1.
Over the course of the next month, like their posts and comment on their posts as much as you can. This will improve your chances in the next step of the process.
Step 3: Reach out to the person you identified in step #2
“Hi <insert name>, I have loved your floral installations for quite some time. You may have noticed my fan-boy/girl-ing on all your Instagram posts of late (sorry!). In fact, the wedding that you did at <insert location> blew my mind. I know that getting high quality images of your work is often hard to come by. It either takes forever or the quality of the images do not meet the effort that you have put into transforming the space. Would you be interested in letting me photograph you behind-the-scenes so that you can have amazing images of your work to show to your fan-base?”
Not all people are going to get back to you.<m/ark> Not all people are going to want your services. Not all people will understand the value of what you are offering to them.
And that is OK.
Keep repeating step #2 and #3 until someone replies with a Y-E-S.
From here onward, your goal is to understand what the stylist, florist and/or wedding planner wants so that on the day of the wedding, you are fully prepared to execute.
Step 4: On the day ..
Find out the best spot of parking and turn up early.
Don’t make the day about you because it isn’t about you.
Dress appropriately. It is a someone’s wedding and you are representing the stylist, florist, and/or wedding planner whilst you are on-site.
Do you job. Take your time to get it right. But do it with haste.
Find out who the event manager is. You will need this information in step #5.
I often find that it helps to show a few images on the back of my camera to the stylist, florist and/or wedding planner to get some immediate feedback. This is because the way they see their work may be very different to yours. I would rather be told that the work isn’t right early on during the shoot rather than disappoint him/her when it is too late.
Here is another pro-tip that I learnt along the way. When the official wedding photographer arrives on-site, introduce who you are and tell them why you are here and that you will not get in his/her way. Think of it as a professional courtesy as the industry is a small one.
Once you have taken all the necessary photographs, edit them. I have always found that wedding stylists, florists and/or wedding planners are so appreciative when they receive some sneak peeks within 24-hours. If possible, have all the images edited and ready for digital download (without watermarks) within 24-hours. Trust me on this point – it has worked fabulously for me.
Step 5: Send a copy of the images to the event manager of the wedding venue
In the previous step you found out the identify of the event manager at your preferred wedding venue. In this step, you are going to reach out to the event manager and send them a copy of all the images.
Many event managers are used to receiving photographs with watermarks. Just because other insecure wedding photographers feel the need to insert their watermark onto their images doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, by not having a watermark on your images, the event manager is more likely to use these images to promote their venue.
How should you contact the event manager? See the next step.
Step 6: Follow up with the event manager and start building a personal relationship with him/her
A wedding stylist recommended that I hand write a short letter to the event manager. She told me that I should introduce who I am, remind them which wedding/couple the photos relate to, and mention that they are more than welcome to use the images however they wish.
I took this advice on board immediately and it has allowed me to build real relationships with real people in charge of wedding venues that I know share the same customer avatar as my business. I suggest that you do as well.
Always give without asking for something in return.
This is an real example of what I delivered to a wedding stylist.
Attention is the currency of business
“The currency of business is attention.”<m/ark> – Gary Vaynerchuck.
In 2018/2019 – or whenever you come across this blog post – understand that marketing and advertising is essentially a game to attract attention.
All the best!