The question that I get asked the most is “How do you Market yourself?”
Some would think I run ads, pay Facebook or spend money on marketing. I moved from Texas to New Jersey without knowing anyone which forced me to be creative with how I market. Marketing doesn’t always mean spending money as some of you might have read in my ZERO MARKETING post. One of my favorite forms of marketing is on the actual wedding day. That may seem kind of weird when you say it out loud, but you must realize that a large portion of my wedding photography business is personal. Wedding photographers must be easily accessible and searchable on the internet and even more so on wedding day. We run our business like a boutique. Small, intimate and exclusive. Giving our clients a high end service combined with tons of personal touches is what makes our business, well, “ours”.
Here are a few tips on how you can show off your clients, market your business and make personal connections that will help build your business on wedding day!
- #WEDDING HASHTAGS– The modern day bride is much more tech savvy. Most brides are creating custom hash tags for their wedding day. If your bride hasn’t mentioned it, we suggest helping her create a unique hashtag so that all of the photos taken by guests and uploaded online to Facebook, Instagram & Twitter can all be found easily. This is helpful to photographers as well. When you upload images to social media you should be using the couple’s hashtag so that your images are mixed in with everyone from the wedding. What a great way for people to see your work!
- NAME GAME– Some would say to memorize the entire wedding party and family by name. WHEW! That’s not stressful at all!! We have all of the family’s names on our custom wedding day schedules that we create for our couples. This allows us to remind ourselves of the parents names. It’s also really important to know the maid of honor and best man’s name. We love these people because they become our “wedding day chaos” allies. Things always go a little crazy on wedding day and not letting the bride know is key. Know the names of the people who can help you keep things running smoothly. A stressless bride makes for a much better wedding day!
- GET PERSONAL– You don’t have to know who everyone is and how they are related. What you do need to remember is that every person surrounding the bride and groom are either family or hand picked friends that mean the world to them. Therefore, they mean the world to you, too. Truly serving our clients means getting to know them more which in turn means getting to know the people who mean the most to them. Ask the bridesmaids how they know the bride. Help mom straighten her necklace and tell her how beautiful she looks. Opening up conversations with the wedding party and family is key. You will be spending the entire day with them, so don’t be a stranger in the corner hiding behind the camera. Most of our clients (who are AWESOME!) have already talked about us before wedding day. Sometimes people follow you online before the wedding day and have an idea of who you are as a photographer. This is a good time to let them get to know you on a personal level. I especially love to hang out with the mothers. This is a very important day for them too!
- SMILE– Seems simple. That is because it is. I’m smiling as I type this. When Jeff first started working with me on wedding day I would always tell him to smile. He thought I was bonkers. But think about it for a second. If you are at the front of the church waiting on the ceremony to start, who do you think they are looking at? YOU! When the bridal party is missing half its members because they are stuck at the bar getting a drink during portrait time, who do you think they are looking at? YOU! When everyone is dancing at the end of the night and the blisters on your feet after working a 12 hour day are about to burst, who do you think they are looking at? YOU!
- BE REMARKABLE– As a wedding photographer you can either choose to be a vendor or a friend. We choose to be friends with our clients before the wedding so that our relationship is solid. A solid relationship is built on trust. We love that our bride and groom can 100% fully trust that we will be there for them personally and professionally all day. We help the schedule to flow and there to never be an ounce of stress. We grab a coke and banana and force our bride to eat so she can make it through the ceremony. We pin the boutonnieres on every man in the wedding. We put a bandaid on the back of the brides heel because her expensive shoes are rubbing her raw. We will run to the parking lot in the rain to go grab that makeup bag that was left behind. Whether the task is photography related or not- we are there and willing to go the extra mile. We want to be remarkable for our clients. When you lead with a servant’s heart you will not only be doing great things for your clients, but your creating a positive experience for everyone. People watch and people talk. What will people remember about you after they saw you shoot a wedding day? It’s a great reality check that everyone should ask themselves before they begin a wedding day. Give them something to talk about!
- CUSTOM EVENT CARDS– We create custom wedding day cards for 2 reasons.
- Taking out the Middle Man!We are taking the pressure off of the bride and groom to respond to the ever famous question, “When will we be able to see your wedding day photos?”. We want to inform everyone at the wedding where they can find the photos, what they can do with the photos (download/print) and how they can share their favorites. We have these by the bar at all weddings and towards the end of the evening we walk around and see if anyone might have missed them. Grandparents and the older community often aren’t hanging out by the bar :)
- Instant Gratification! We do a same day slideshow of edited images from the wedding day and display them on the iPad. This card directs them to go to their phones, iPads and devices to see the photos in full resolution and enjoy sharing right away! They can share their favorite image to Facebook instantly! Talk about quick marketing! We use Pixieset to make this happen.
- SAME DAY SLIDESHOW– Ohhhh! This is one of my favorite parts! When the bride and groom take a moment to eat and everyone is being served food, I typically find a corner to hide in and start pulling some of my favorite images from the wedding day onto my desktop. We try to tell the story of both sides of the day from the bride and groom’s perspective all the way through the big introduction as Mr & Mrs! Everyone always asks, “How do you have time for that”? Well, I make time and I work efficiently. Jeffrey has my laptop and iPad with a stack of CF cards ready for me. When I start pulling and editing images he makes sure to get candids, food shots, grab and grins, signature cocktails, etc. Sometimes he will even bring me a plate of food and force me to eat! If anything major happens such as a first dance or speech- I stay within a close proximity to the party so that I can be there to shoot those moments. There is always a photographer and assistant photographer shooting while I am working on the slideshow. We then put it in a beautiful wooden frame and deliver it to the bride and groom as they enjoy dinner. It then floats around the wedding and ends up by the bar or a table at the end of the evening. The slideshow contains our logo and a call to action to grab a card! Clients love seeing their photos, sharing it with their families and we love to see the reactions on everyones faces. Its a win for everyone. More on Same Day Slideshows.
- DANCE– When you are finished working do not go and start packing. Get your tush on the dance floor and shake your groove thang! All of the friendships you have made throughout the day will be dancing right along with you. I like to be seen being myself and not having a camera in my hand. And let’s face it…our clients always invite us to dance with them at the end of the evening. Get your groove on before you pack up for the evening!
- SOCIAL CONNECTION– We post same day sneak peaks on social media that night. We make sure to tag the as many of the wedding party as possible in one photo.We also post a fabulous portrait of our bride and groom. Don’t over post! Just a little teaser and way for everyone that you met at the wedding to find you online. All the smiling, chats, helping, serving, handwork you have had on wedding day can then be continued relationships online. We are 100% word of mouth and this entire process is how we have the most fantastic Bride’s and Groom’s you could ever ask for.
Booking a wedding, shooting a wedding and delivering images are just the bare bones of running a successful wedding business. We hope that we have inspired you to fill in the space between these three major pieces of the wedding photography process. Besides, we all know the cream in the middle of the oreo is the best part anyways! :)
I love this advice from Seth Godin. “Our job is to make change. Our job is to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”
Essentially, people are our business. Leaving a lasting impression and encouraging others in this life is what its all about. Photography is merely an avenue of reaching more people.