business & branding
shooting the beautiful weddings you see on blogs might mean getting
creative and connecting with other wedding professionals. here’s how to
navigate the fine line between being persistent and pushy. | by lance nicoll
Some may argue that marketing for wedding photographers is more integral to success than taking great pictures. I would argue that marketing is the key to financial success, and taking great pictures is the key to being able to successfully market.
A marketing strategy can involve many different facets—online advertising, bridal
shows, print ads, publication and SEO—but one factor that often gets overlooked is
marketing not just to potential clients, but to other wedding vendors. If you want to
be shooting at the coolest weddings for top clients at top rates, you need to have the
planners, venues and other professionals on your side.
NETWORKING with DREAM
KNOW YOUR PEOPLE
AND SHOW YOUR VALUE
Spending hours setting up meetings and
dollars sending out gifts to a vendor who is
stylistically out of sync with your brand is not
the best use of your time and money. Survey
the landscape of your city or state and make
an honest assessment of who is working with
the brides and grooms that you’ve been
booking. Start by targeting three to five
wedding planners who will be able to look at
your website and feel that you resonate with
their client base.
Then put yourself in their shoes: They are
doing just fine, making money and referring
other vendors, so why should they refer you?
You need to be valuable to them—you can
make them look good, you can provide them
with higher quality images of their work or you
can help them get published more often. This
is where targeting vendors that are working
with similar clientele will come in handy.
It always helps if your name and work are
familiar before making direct contact with any
vendor. Put together a mailing list and send
out a monthly newsletter that can point to your
recent blog posts, published works and share
your social media links. This gives vendors a
chance to check out your portfolio; even if they
don’t, they will have seen your name and taken
a glimpse at your photos. Now when you do
email them directly, it won’t seem random.
The goal here is to eventually meet face to
face or to get on their preferred vendors list,
but keep the emails short and sweet so you
don’t take up too much of their time. I like to
point to something specific about their work
that I enjoyed seeing and suggest getting
together over a cup of coffee to chat. No
specific date or timeline—that way it’s not too
pushy. Only set a date when you hear back.
Often vendors want to meet with you but
the timing isn’t right yet. Other times a vendor
will say that they don’t have time to meet in
person. You may (depending on the tone
mailchimp is a great way to
send group emails and track
how many of them were
received, opened and clicked through.
the emails themselves are easy to
design, and you can test with plain-text
emails versus more visual ones to see
how different vendors respond.
TOP LEFT: A scene from a real wedding, styled
and planned by Peggy Russell of Destination
Wedding Studio in Key West. “I want to know
photographers have looked at my work and
think we are a good match,” Russell says.
BOTTOM LEFT: A styled shoot with Sapphire
Events in New Orleans.