What Are Some Skills And Experiences That Will Help You Build A Successful Wedding Photography Business
The ability to capture great images is critical to the survival of your company. Individuals planning on entering this field are encouraged to spend at least a year working as an assistant wedding photographer. Working under various photographers with different styles and specialties would also enhance your skill set. This experience will help you: define your style as a photographer, build your confidence, assemble a portfolio, and develop a personal style when it comes to communicating with your clients. To further advance your skills, the Weddings and Portrait Photographers International hosts several annual conferences across the world.
Between networking, meetings, and photo shoots, a majority of your time will be spent with people. Therefore, strong interpersonal and communication skills are also important.
The service you are providing is an art. Artists are in a continuous state of improvement, ready and willing to learn the latest technique or accept constructive criticism. This should stand true for every aspect of your business. If photo editing is not your strong suit, consider taking a seminar and spending time working with the various software systems. Watch online tutorials and subscribe to photography magazines and online blogs.
Rookie Mistake #: Failing To Set And Anchor Prices
In our guide to creating profitable photography packages, I covered how to anchor your prices. The anchor is the price point by which your future client will judge all of your other prices.
If youre starting out and think you need to be cheap to compete because youre just getting started youre dead wrong. You might even end up positioning yourself as a price competitor within your local market and thats a VERY dangerous place to be. If you think you need to be cheap, youre dead wrong.
Set 3 price points and anchor yourself against the top package. If your top package is $1,500 and that makes you uncomfortable, great! Your potential client will purchase the middle package at a more moderate, but still profitable price. However, they see you as the $1,500 photographer and not the $50 guy. More on that guy is Mistake #3 below.
Stage : Lead Your Team
Youve built a team but the transition from photographer to business owner has been challenging, to say the least. The future of your business depends on your ability to empower others and stop being the bottleneck for growth.
Revenue: $25,000 $50,000 per month
Problem: Youve got team members and theyre doing a decent enough job, but you know that to get to the next level, youre going to have to make some hard decisions. Youre starting to question if leading others is something you even want or if you just want to go back to a simpler life of a solo photographer.
In your current state, youre not only trying to get new photography clients regularly, but youre trying to get your ideal client: the perfect client that is a dream to work with and refers other dream clients to you.
AND, despite your business making 300,000+ per year, itd be nice if you could start getting at least $100k of that.
How to Be Successful: First, if youre here, can I just give you a pat on the back and a congratulations? This is amazing. Youve done SO MUCH right so far just to get here. Youre in the top 5-10% of all photographers in the world and you should be proud of yourself.
But Im guessing that you arent, because the kind of photographer that gets to this level isnt the kind that is willing to settle down. Youre still working 12 hour days and you now know for sure that youre holding your team back.
Its time to transition fully from photographer to leader.
Recommended Reading: How To Address Families On Wedding Invitations
Increase Your Post Frequency
You need to post high-quality photographs on a steady basis. Post too little, and you risk followers losing interest. Post too frequently, and you could annoy your fanbase. Try and post somewhere between one to three times a day. An can help you keep on track, and can fill you in on what content is workingâand what isnât.
Unnecessary Gear And Business Purchases Can Be Crippling
Its very easy to get caught in the never-ending cycle of buying things to help your business.
With photography, its even more dangerous because the purchases are fun and exciting!
Its not hard to convince yourself that if you just had that better lens, youd take better photos, and your business would be more successful.
I dont even want to think about how much money weve wasted by buying gear that we didnt really need.
It all ended up collecting dust in our closet until we sold it for a serious loss.
After a few years of that nonsense, we got wise and started being very, very, very thoughtful about purchasing anything.
Our gear might not get many jealous stares from other photographers, but as long as its creating the images we want, thats all that matters.
Its the same deal for business purchases. Think carefully before pulling out that credit card. Its hard enough to make a solid profit with photography without huge expenses to deal with.
Don’t Miss: Randy Fenoli Partner Michael Landry
Setting Up Your Wedding Photography Business Website
A website is an important part of any business. For a wedding photographer, a website is a space where potential clients:
- Discover you
- View your previous works
- Book sessions, etc.
If youre doing content marketing, SEO, and social media correctly the first point of contact for potential clients will be your website.
Be sure to build a quality website as potential clients will judge your photography services based on what they see on your website.
Here are the main reasons why you should set up your website early in your wedding photography career:
Legitimate Businesses Have Websites
Regardless of the size of your business, owning a website will tell clients that your service is legitimate and professional.
Social Media Does Not Replace An Online Presence
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are not replacements for a business website. A website increases a professional photographers influx of new business.
Interested Clients Can Find Your Contact Details
Your website serves as a link between you and potential clients. Keep the contact info on your wedding portfolio website updated. Make it easy for customers to reach you. No one likes to deal with complicated websites.
Websites Act As Online Galleries
As you gain experience shooting weddings, create a gallery for your photos on the website. Upload a collection of your best images and videos.
Create A Request A Quote Form
A request a quote form is a must for service providers like photographers. The navigation should be easy on your website, so your ideal clients wont hesitate to connect with you to know your prices.
You should check out this guide on how to set your wedding photography prices. It will help you in replying to your clients with the right quote for the services.
You May Like: A Practical Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
How To Register Your Wedding Photography Business
As a soon-to-be business owner, you should get acquainted with the business laws in your area. Some areas require more paperwork than others to get a business up off the ground. Every area is different. Make sure to find details on what you need to start a business in your location.
For my area, creating an official business was as simple as a two-page registration as an LLC or limited liability company and setting up a business bank account to track income for taxes.
Create A Brand For Your Wedding Photography Business
Creating a brand for your wedding photography business is an essential step to stand out and get recognition as a professional wedding photographer. Your brand includes your business name, your logo, and all the visual elements you use Keep the key elements of your brand identity consistent throughout your, business cards, brochures, sales material, and website. Make sure that your brand identity exudes professionalism and feels premium to evoke trust amongst your clients.
Read Also: How To Address A Card To A Couple
Share Your Wedding Shoot Experiences On Your Blog
Writing may not be every photographers cup of tea, but this helps in a big way. With your blogs, you make your wedding photography portfolio richer and increase your chances of being discovered by couples looking for wedding photographers on Google and other search engines. We recently published a post describing how vital blogs are for a photographers portfolio website. The other point is to create a brand of yourself which conveys your style of photography.
Speaking of SEO, also remember to optimize your portfolio website for local SEO as it helps you get discovered on search engine queries made within your local region. See this great article on SEO for Photographers.
If you are not comfortable writing blogs, you can always have picture dominated photo blogs giving glimpses of your work, but then again do not forget to optimize your wedding photographs for SEO.
Hire An Experienced Business Attorney
Most small business owners dread having to talk with and hire a business lawyer when starting a business. Some fear theyll end up paying exorbitant legal fees or that theyll receive bad advice that will destroy their business. Others agonize over how to find a reasonably priced, competent business lawyer.
Heres what you need to know to hire a good lawyer for your new photography company.
Most guides on how to start a photography business, or any other small business type, wont include insights on hiring a lawyer. We think thats a big omission because many businesses run into legal troubles, and by starting on the right path from the very beginning, you can reduce your business risk.
Weve met many lawyers who are deal-killers. Overzealous and often inexperienced, they focus on the wrong issues and forget that their client needs the deal to move forward. When you talk with lawyers youre considering hiring, ask them about one or two complicated negotiations and how they overcame obstacles.
Dont make price your main criteria for hiring a lawyer.
Often, the least expensive lawyers are also less experienced especially in the areas where you may need help. Paying a cheaper hourly rate might feel good initially, but in the end, you may end up paying far more than if you hired an experienced business lawyer in the first place.
Typically, the best time to start a relationship with a lawyer is before you start your photography company.
Don’t Miss: Randy Fenoli Partner
What Are Some Insider Tips For Jump Starting A Wedding Photography Business
Professional wedding photographers offer the following advice:
- Always have backups of your cameras and flashes, at the very least.
- To have consistently great pictures and minimize editing time, get into the habit of shooting in manual mode.
- Remember that this is a business that requires you to wear many hats.
- Keep in mind that, in most places, the wedding photography business is seasonal. Get creative with different ways you can offer the public your services during the off-season.
- Ask your clients a lot of questions. This is how you get a feel for what they are looking for out of their wedding photos.
Curating My Storefront Helps Me Stand Out
You have to have great photos that stand out. People are scrolling so quickly and if you dont curate everything about your Storefront, it doesnt stand out. I love that I can easily update my images to make sure they are recent and reflect my best work. Sometimes I even experiment to see if different photos help bump the number of wedding leads I get. The other big element is the copy. Having crystal clear copy is hugeespecially when you are advertising. The fact I can customize the descriptions on my Storefronts to really connect with potential couples is a major plus for me. Its another channel for me to speak to who they are and be a really effective marketer.
Also Check: Wedding Spreadsheet Download Excel
Packaging When Delivering Photos
How do you share images with your clients? If youre sending them a selection of prints & a USB flash drive with the entire gallery consider getting some nicely branded packaging for it, like Wooden Banana for example. Those beautifully designed wooden boxes wont leave anyone indifferent, rather inspire a strong desire to share it online with their social media friends, as well as offline with anyone who comes visiting their house.
If you dont yet, also consider offering printed albums to your clients. Software by Pixellu, Pic-time and Fundy for example, offer amazing design layouts, smooth client communication channels for agreeing on the page structure & images used, as well as great deals on printing from leading print labs.
Encourage your clients to film their unboxing process their happy reactions, the fun comments & tears of joy. What better marketing content can you get? Nothing beats real, raw, happy emotions!
Stage : Committed To The Success Of Your Business
Revenue: $10,000 $25,000 per month
Problem: Youre committed to your business but youve completely maxed out your time. Youre fully booked and seeing the maximum number of clients possible. Even so, youre life isnt anywhere near where you thought itd be.
How to Be Successful: Its time to transition from solo photographer to thriving business owner. If youre going to make more money, you need to charge more or take on more clients. Since youre already at the highest end of the range for your work, the only solution is to take on more clients.
This means putting systems and staff in place and learning new skills to hire and manage them. Taking photos and running a solo business is VASTLY different than managing photographers, editors, and marketers.
What if hiring these new people doesnt work? Will you have to sacrifice your income to grow the business?
I remember when I first decided to hire somebody to help me in my business.
It was an absolute nightmare and I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I couldnt keep doing it on my own, but I didnt even know where to begin.
I just knew that my wife and my new son depended on me figuring it out. I knew the solution wasnt just to hustle more, but there was SOME way to figure it out, right?
The stage of starting and growing your photography business will be about setting goals with clarity and ruthlessly pursuing them by:
In essence, youll move from a worker bee to the CEO.
You May Like: How To Stuff Wedding Invitations Without Inner Envelope
How To Build Experience As A Beginner Wedding Photographer
Some wedding photographers start when a family or friend enlists them for their big day. Most brides wont book a wedding photographer without experience. How do you get that experience?
There are a few different strategies you can use to gain experience. These same strategies will help you build a portfolio too. If youve never shot a wedding before, try at least one of these ideas: