When I started out as a photographer, I had a lot of fun and luck with connecting with vendors to boost my business. Here are a few tips to help you start or boost your wedding photography business.
No portfolio yet? Reach out to vendors in your area
I was very active on Twitter when I just started out and noticed some rather under-lit and over-exposed pictures of beautiful cakes from a cake designer. I offered to create better images for her to make her website look better and to create a portfolio for me. She turned out to be very active on social media and in the press, so she landed lots of article publications. The first photo and link on her homepage were to my site. Later on, I even landed a book deal on photographing cakes. This was all thanks to reaching out and creating a win/win deal for both of us.
- Introduce yourself to the wedding industry. Reach out to people in the wedding industry who you think can help with your photography. Make sure they know it’s a win/win situation.
- Don’t stop there – why not blog about your experience with this vendor? Doing this, you can even create a couple of posts about your meeting. Perhaps create one article with an interview and a nice portrait, and another with images of the product or service. Make sure your blog is optimized for Google, so when potential clients search for this vendor, they also find a photographer at the same time. The visitors to your blog will see an active one with lots of shoots going on, even if you have no clients yet. This will definitely help you book actual clients as a result.
- Pressed for time? Focus on the vendors who are more likely to generate clients for you (although you really can’t tell). Wedding venues are usually the first thing that a couple confirms for their wedding day, so they are more likely to refer you because most of the time the couple has not booked a photographer yet. It’s fun to build connections with the people running wedding venues in your area. Added bonus: Whenever you have a client getting married there, your travel time will be minimal.
Shooting weddings? Don’t forget the vendors
When I was shooting weddings, we were always paying attention to the details. We would tell our clients, “Everything you spend money and attention on, we will photograph for you.”
We made some beautiful art works of all the details, venues, etc., it would be a shame not to share them with more people. So we would send our vendors a note after the wedding to say we have mentioned them on our blog and that they could use the images of their products, services, or location in exchange for providing us with a link back to our website.
One new catering business that is very active on social media used our images as their cover photo on their Facebook business page and brought us more clients through that. Another advantage is that these are clients who are going to work with vendors you already have a connection with. It’s always a win/win situation!
- You never know who will give you business later on. Be nice to everyone and create connections in your area and in your industry.
- To get all the addresses of vendors before the wedding, create a wedding questionnaire that you can send to your clients a few weeks before the wedding day (this is easy to do using Google forms or Wufoo). This will make it even easier to track who the other vendors are and to send them a note afterwards.
- Mention the vendors on your blog and send them a note about it. Tell them they can even use the image of their product or service on their own website if they provide a back link. Lots of vendors love this and will happily share your image on their Facebook feed and tag your business. Hopefully, they’ll also use an image on their website with another link back to your site. This will create higher Google rankings for your website.
- It’s easy to forget doing small marketing jobs like this – especially when you’re in the middle of a busy wedding season and have your hands full supplying your clients with amazing images. To make sure you don’t forget this important step and to ensure your new clients will keep on coming, add – send blog link and images to vendors to your to-do list for every wedding shoot.
- If you want to take the connection up a notch, you can even reach out to the vendors before the wedding day with a small note saying how you are looking forward to working with them. Again, include this in your workflow if you don’t want to forget it.
- Make sure your clients know and agree with what you do with your images after the wedding, we always included in our contract that we shared a preview on Facebook and a longer story on the blog.
I’d love to hear your experiences about how you are getting yourself out there as a starting photographer, especially if you are going in the wedding photography direction.