A few days ago we interviewed Atul Pratap Chauhan, a commercially successful wedding photographer, to learn what it takes to become a successful wedding photographer. Well, we realized it’s tough to break into this profession and it’s equally tough to market their service. Being ardent supporters of internet marketing, we set out to find ways by which wedding photographers can promote their business.
Along the way, we also found out a few traditional approaches that are still in use by some, and have led a few wedding photographers to success. This post lists a combination of traditional and non-traditional ways that can be used to promote wedding photography business.
So let’s start with non-traditional ways.
1. List wedding photography business on ‘Wedding Marketplaces’
Wedding marketplaces are huge and are often the first choice of brides-to-be to reach out to while planning their weddings. From florists to DJs to caterers to officiants, one finds most of the quintessential wedding services at these marketplaces. To keep you away from the hustle to find these marketplaces, we have listed the most prominent ones below.
Prominent wedding marketplaces in the USWedding Wire
Style Me Pretty
Martha Stewart Weddings / mywedding.com (apparently both share the same directory of photographers)
Carats and Cake
Most of these wedding planning websites have over tens of thousands of brides visiting them, wedding photographers have a deluge of opportunities to be hired. There are more than a thousand photographers listed on most of these wedding marketplaces, that makes it highly competitive to be seen by brides-to-be or couples. Reviews of your work on these websites are the highlights that make you stand out from other photographers. Listing a wedding photography business is free on most of the wedding planning websites, but these marketplaces also offer advertising options in one form or the other. WeddingWire, simply, offers an advertising option that promises to promote your wedding photography business across its network of wedding related websites.
The other thing about the storefront ( listing) offered by Wedding Wire is it gives a lot of flexibility to wedding photographers to market their business with tools like SEO optimizer to improve their ranking on search engines. Style Me Pretty’s advertising comes in the form of a premium membership program called ‘Little Black Book’ membership.
Also, these marketplaces have a large community where you can respond to queries from brides that can benefit your wedding photography business. A rule of thumb is to stay active in the community.
2. Share your wedding shoot experiences on your blog
Writing may not be every photographer’s 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 important blogs are for a photographer’s portfolio website. The other point is to create a brand of yourself which conveys your style of photography.
Speaking of SEO, also remember to optimise your portfolio website for local SEO as it’s more important to you than anything. Since there’s no point of being discovered outside of your region.
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.
In case you are just starting out as a professional wedding photographer, you should check out these wedding photography portfolios, before building one for yourself.
3. Get your work featured in wedding magazines and blogs
People like weddings.
It might be once-in-a lifetime occasion for most of us, but economically weddings make an industry altogether which was valued at $53.4 billion as of 2013, and wedding magazines are perhaps the best means to keep a watch on the trends of this industry. These magazines feature some of the finest professionals in the industry. Whether it’s designer bridal gown or a wedding venue, these magazines always have an assortment of choices for brides to choose from. Moreover, wedding magazines are a fundamental means for fashion designers, makeup artists, photographers, and other professionals in the wedding industry to discover trends.
However, these magazines aren’t only read by professionals, but young women, women in their twenties, and even older women to plan their weddings, therefore these magazines can be pretty good outlets to reach out to prospective clients.
How to get published in wedding magazines?
The magazines mentioned above are some of the most reputed publications in the industry, that means getting published is not going to be easy.
Write to an editor
Editors are, firstly, difficult to get hold of, and impressing them with your work is the second difficult thing to do. In most cases, you would find email addresses of editors in the magazine which you can use to approach them. However, keep in mind editors are busy people and you might not get lucky the first time. In such cases following up would be a good idea. In addition, also make sure that you write to an editor with something valuable to share with the brides. For instance, as a wedding photographer, you can share tips on ‘how to prepare for a pre-wedding shoot’. It increases your chances of getting published sooner, instead of writing and waiting to hear from the editor.
Advertisements are a major source of revenue for magazines. In order to have your advertisement in a magazine, you can get in touch with ad sales team of a magazine. Though it can be significantly expensive, nonetheless, it can be very effective way to promote your wedding photography business. Most of these magazines are bi-annual or annual publications perhaps because of two wedding seasons in a year.
In addition to the blogs of the wedding planning websites listed above, a few popular wedding magazines with a national and international appeal that you can approach are:
Wedding magazines of USABrides
Destination weddings & holiday
The Kknot magazine
Martha Stewart Weddings
The magazines listed above have online versions (blogs) too with an equally impressive appeal. If you have an active blog or even a portfolio website a referring link from a blog could increase the traffic on your website along with a bump in the search engine rankings of your website.
Further, it’s a much better idea to be published in a local wedding magazine. While getting featured in a magazine of national repute can substantially promote your wedding photography, being featured in a local magazine or an advertisement in it will help to acquire clients locally.
4. Use your social media creatively
Not just for photographers, social media is an integral part of marketing for most creative professionals. That also shows that it’s very competitive out there. So how should wedding photographers use their skills to outshine others? We got the answer from Atul himself, when he explained, “simply posting a picture daily won’t do. Though it’s a necessary thing to do.” One of the ways for wedding photographers is to use their skills and social media network to promote social causes.
For example, Atul’s One Rupee Wedding project has been one of his popular endeavors. This project involves taking pictures of brides in rural areas of India.
Here are a few simple ways to promote wedding photography on social media
Collaborate with photographers from a different genre
Other ways of using social media to increase exposure for a wedding photographer is to collaborate with other photographers from a different genre. One of the common ways for wedding photographers is to work along with boudoir photographers, as the two are available for weddings. As cliched as it may sound, ask them to tag you in all the behind-the-scenes pictures.
Seek credits from couples
In addition to this always remember to ask the couple for credits on their wedding photos posted on their social media. This can have a huge impact on social media marketing efforts of a photographer.
Now let's look at the traditional ways that photographers can use to promote their wedding photography business.
5. Utilize your vendor network
A wedding venue, decorators, florists, and wedding band make some of the wedding essentials. What it means is, if there’s a wedding there would be a caterer, a florist, and a decorator. Sharing a good relationship with them can substantially help your wedding photography business to grow. Some of the ways you can reach out to vendors are:
Proactively ask vendors to put in a word for you with the clients.
Vendors understand how important it is to have clients at hands to sustain a business. So do not shy from asking them to put in a word for you.
Leave a sample album with vendors
Provide your vendors with a sample album of your work, for times when they are vouching for you. This can be helpful to gain clients’ confidence and reduce the conversion time.
Take pictures of vendors while working together at a wedding
Offer vendors to have their pictures taken by you at a wedding. This gesture can strengthen your relationship with vendors which can play out very well when it comes to marketing your wedding photography business. So that was our list of five practices that wedding photographers can benefit from. Have you tried any of them? Do not forget to share your experience with us in the comments below.
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