Your photos are fantastic! Now you just need clients. We’ll show you how to market to your dream client and build a business that lasts!
How to Get Wedding Photography Clients
When it comes to starting a wedding photography business, many photographers face the same challenges no matter what level they are at. Every wedding photographer wants to know how exactly they can get more wedding photography clients. When you are just beginning your brand, it can be difficult to even know where to start. If you are seeking advice on how to get new wedding photography clients, you must remember that it all comes down to photography marketing.
Who is Your Ideal Client?
The most important place to start when it comes to potential wedding clients is figuring out who exactly your ideal clients are. The idea of an “ideal client” refers to the same type of couples whose weddings you would want to shoot over and over again.
Get Granular About Your Wedding Clients
Many professionals look at their ideal client as anyone, which may not be right for marketing your wedding business. If you can operate within a niche and target a specific type of client, you may yield more results and attract more wedding clients to your brand.
Can You Build a Portfolio without an Ideal Client?
Some photographers look at their dream wedding clients as anyone who is willing to pay them. When you are first starting out in wedding photography, this message makes sense. You just want to put weddings in your book. But as you grow as a business owner, you must start tailoring your portfolio and your marketing strategies around the wedding clients that will bring you joy to shoot.
Define Your Dream Couples
Think about a number of factors when it comes to your ideal client. Have you worked with someone like them before? Do the people whose weddings you want to shoot typically gravitate towards the same weddings venues or vendors? Think about where they shop, where they would buy a wedding dress or suit from, what kind of Instagram weddings photos they post, and so on. There are so many factors in which you can begin to define your ideal client.
Learn to Say No to Couples Who Aren’t Ideal
Learn to say no to couples who are at your ideal client. It’s important to be able to limit yourself in this way to be able to attract more niche couples. The more work you do within your specific niche, the more you can add to your weddings portfolio, which means the more you can market with. If something about a wedding doesn’t feel like it’s going to serve your portfolio, it’s okay to say no. It’s also okay to say no to weddings that aren’t in your budget when a couple can’t make room in their budget for your services.
Those who really want your services will find a way to make the budget for it.
How to Update Your Portfolio for Ideal Photography Clients
Once you start tailoring your messaging to a specific type of client, you can update your online portfolio spaces to meet the needs of your ideal wedding clients. Show full weddings galleries on your portfolio website that your dream bride or groom would be interested in seeing. You’ll want to show weddings and images that your future couples can see themselves within. That way, you are designing an experience around a specific brand image and attracting people who it speaks to.
Set Sustainable Wedding Package Prices
Another significant part of tailoring to your ideal wedding clients is to set clear package pricing. You’ll want to put together package pricing that suits the needs of the wedding clients that you were tailing towards. If you are a high-end wedding photo professional who shoots a lot of luxury ceremonies, but your pricing is more mid-range, this actually may deter some of your dream wedding clients from working with you.
Show Value in Your Photography Packages
This is because you must craft your pricing structure around the value that they are receiving and the perceived value. You’ll want your brand to do the work when it comes to the perceived value that your wedding clients have. If you are shooting celebrations that are not high-end, on the other hand, but you are charging high-end pricing, this will also deter potential clients away from your brand.
Craft Packages for Your Ideal Client
This is why it is so important to define who your ideal client is right off the bat. It truly impacts every piece of your business, from the way you shoot, to your marketing, to your pricing and overall internal structures. When you are collecting contracts and invoices from wedding clients, as well, you’re going to want to give them a streamlined experience.
Use ShootProof for Streamlined Invoicing & Contracts
ShootProof offers you the ability to create contracts and invoices directly within the platform, and it is the same platform that your clients will receive a gallery from. This creates a branded streamlined process where your wedding clients will know that they are dealing with a brand that has it together.
How to Define a Unique Value Proposition
Another part of your marketing strategy when you’re trying to get more photography clients is to create a unique value proposition. You must show potential customers what is unique about your brand. If you are a wedding shooter in a very saturated market like a metro area, this is especially important.
What Sets Your Brand Apart?
What is it that makes your business worthwhile for couples? What makes you stand out from someone who may be offering a better price for their budget? Figure out what it is that makes your brand so unique and tailor your messaging and visuals towards that.
Carve Out a Niche for Your Wedding Business
When it comes to photographing weddings, having a niche can take your brand to the next level. Defining a niche will help to grow your brand within certain markets. For example, if you are a wedding photo professional, and you shoot fine art imagery, you can define your niche as a fine art wedding photo professional.
If you want to take it a step further, some fine art wedding photographers will define themselves as also a hybrid film and digital photographer. This gives their clients the experience with both film and digital photography, and it also sets them apart from their competition who may just be shooting digital images only.
Where to Find Photography Clients
So, where exactly do you find photography clients when you are setting up for your marketing strategy? As a photographer, you have plenty of platforms digitally and in-person to find photography clients. What’s important, though, is to also let your photography clients find you. If you create a strong enough brand with multiple avenues of advertising and marketing, it’s best to let clients find you.
How to Use Social Media as a Wedding Professional
Social media is a great asset for photographers. With many platforms being inherently visual, it makes it easy to display your photos on major platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Facebook, and so on. What’s important for professionals to consider when they are finding new clients on these platforms is to keep a consistent presence.
Keep a Consistent Social Media Presence
You must keep a consistent and active presence on social media for those who are scouting for wedding vendors on their channels. Many potential clients are using Instagram, for example, to search for their wedding vendors or venues.
Experiment and Figure Out the Best Platforms
Experiment with different platforms to see which one is the best for you. Your friend may have success on one platform, and not so much another. Figure out which platforms you actually enjoy using to help with your social media strategy. If you don’t like being on a platform, focus your time and energy into another one. When you learn to use these platforms as tools for your business as opposed to personal channels, this will help your business greatly.
You Don’t have to Be Everywhere at Once
You don’t have to be on every platform at once. Take some time and learn about the specific uses for each platform. The content you’re posting on Instagram shouldn’t necessarily be the same as the content you’re posting on Pinterest. Each platform has its own specific usage, and you’ve got to figure out the different ways these platforms can be used to your advantage.
Schedule Ahead of Time to Save Energy
To keep your business running smoothly and your posts consistent, consider scheduling ahead of time. There are plenty of scheduling apps that can help you accomplish this. There are so many apps that will allow you to easily cross-post content between networks like Twitter, Facebook, and so on.
Why Scheduling Makes a Difference in Your Business
Scheduling ahead of time takes out the stress of posting to social media networks daily. You don’t have to think ahead about captions or about which images go together best. Instead, you can batch these out all at once. Look into which scheduling platforms are right for you based on which networks you prefer to use.
Paid Advertising for Your Brand
There are plenty of digital opportunities to pay for advertising as a photo professional. When you are looking for ways to get more wedding photography clients, look into digital advertising as an option. As they say, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
Directory Listings for Wedding Photography
Advertise your photography business using vendor directory listings. These are a great resource where you can reach lots of people who are looking for vendors and don’t know where to start. You can also get very niche with your directories as opposed to just using some of the bigger resources. Look into which directories will make the best possible investment for your photography business before you spend money on advertising.
Google is a unique advertising platform because the people who are searching on Google are searching with intent. They are out looking for vendors specifically that they are willing to purchase from. When people search on Google, they are ready to hire. You can show up on Google easily with Google Ads for your business. It will also help you set apart from the competition by putting your listing above everyone else’s on the Google search page.
Facebook Ads are highly targeted and you can get your work in front of thousands of new people daily. Using Facebook Ads will let you target your dream clients, or even based on past clients if you keep records. They maybe aren’t shopping with intent right now, but you can also use Facebook as a retargeting system for those who have landed on your website organically or through Google advertising.
Your Wedding Photography Website
Keeping your website maintained in your portfolio updated is also important. Every time that you shoot a new celebration, you must be able to also update your website with any relevant images. This includes putting content on your blog.
Blog for your Photography Business
Having a blog is crucial for photographers who are taking time to work on their SEO strategy. Blog about your past clients, engagement sessions, planning advice, tips that will make comfortable couples for your photo sessions, and more. There are endless topics to talk about that only you can write about on your blog.
Stay Consistent with Your Content
Taking time to keep up your blog’s consistency is also important. Having a unified consistency on your digital channels will show people that you are active and you are working hard at your business. Having blog posts go up once a week or once every few weeks is important to maintain. As long as you’re not letting your blog go unattended for long periods of time, this will help your business.
Build On Your SEO
You must also make sure that your blog posts are tailored towards Search Engine Optimization. Instead of title in your blog post “super romantic day between bride and groom”, you can title the blog post “[season] wedding at [location] in [city]”. This will help the search engine pick up your content a lot easier.
Sharing Blog Content on Social Media
If you’re not sure what to post on social media all the time, having a blog can also help you with that. When you create evergreen content, which is content that you can recycle over and over, this will help you maintain an active digital presence as a photo professional. The awesome part about being a photography professional is that you will always have photos and visuals to share on your networks.
In-Person Marketing for Wedding Photography Professionals
Besides the many digital mediums for wedding photographers to get new clients, you can also use the power of in-person techniques to market your wedding photography business. The most important part of this is networking with fellow vendors. You must be able to get to know vendors, particularly event planners and venues, to be able to develop a working relationship together.
Create Vendor Relationships in Your Wedding Photography Business
Having these connections will lead to some wedding photography jobs that you may never have had in the first place. Many couples work directly with their venues or planners to find vendors that will suit their special day. These are called preferred vendor lists. They are a lucrative source of leads for wedding photographers, and it takes a lot of relationship-building work to get onto these lists.
Connect with Other Photographers
You can also form relationships with other photographers to get wedding photography leads. Having this referral system will help both you and the other photographer. If there are some celebrations that you cannot take on, you can always recommend your wedding photographer friends for the job. If you let the couples know to let the other wedding photographer know where they heard about you, your efforts will be returned.
Keep Your Connections Authentic
You must make sure that when you are building these connections, that they are authentic and you are not just using them as a source of leads. Create genuine relationships with any other vendors that you’re working with for a more authentic experience and more leads. Plus, on the off chance that you or another photographer gets sick for a ceremony date, it’s nice to know that you have a backup system.
Offer Vendors Something in Exchange
One way to get your foot in the door with other vendors is to offer a free service. Think about offering headshots to vendors like planners, makeup artists, hairstylists, and so on. You can also offer up some free photos to event venues, dress boutiques, DJs, and get really creative with it. Let them know that you would love to have your work featured on their channels in exchange for some free imagery.
How to get Your Work in Front of New Audiences
By doing this, you’re also putting your photography work in front of their audiences. They may choose to use the images on their website for social channels. Make sure that you get proper credit for the usage of your images, of course. You can also build links back to your website this way, which is great for your SEO.
Events for Wedding Photography Professionals
One big way that many photo professionals get wedding photography clients is through events. There are many trade shows for professionals that are attended by a number of couples who are looking for vendors for their big day and who could be your ideals clients. Look into local bridal shows in your area to see where your business may be a good fit.
Should You Pay for Space at Bridal Shows?
You have to pay for this advertising space, but these spaces will give you a lot of leads in return. Some bridal shows give their vendors the opportunity to have a list of leads from those who attended the show after the fact. These are valuable resources for email marketing for photography professionals.
Start an Email Marketing Campaign for Event Attendees
One way to stand out from the other vendors after attending a bridal show is to create a unique email marketing campaign. You could create a free guide for ideal clients who are choosing their wedding photographers, for example. This is a free method to show off your work and plug your brand, while also educating clients and giving them something that stands out. Other vendors may reach out to the leads, but you can stand out with a well-crafted email marketing campaign for your business.
Host Your Own Event for Clients
A great unique way to get more wedding photography clients is to host your own event. You can be ultra-creative when it comes to planning an event to attract potential couples. Consider offering up a mini session day when they can have fifteen minute sessions for engagement photos. You could also have a brunch for potential couples to hear from your fellow vendors speak. Lots of options are available to create unique opportunities to meet clients.
Follow Up After a Trade Show
Always make sure to reach out to your leads after you attend an event. What is also important is to follow up with those leads. People get busy, and sometimes email isn’t always the number one priority for potential clients. Follow up and remind them about your services and ask them if they would like to have a conversation with you.
Invite Vendors to Network
If you’re looking to connect with wedding vendors, hosting your own event is a great option as well. You can create your own networking event for your share the same values as you do. This is a great way to build your network and give something of value to people who share the same interests and goals with their brand.
Get More Wedding Photography Clients
The best way to get more wedding photography places to experiment with what works for you. Keep track of your success with different advertising and free mediums. Pay attention to what is working and what needs to be improved. Track how your leads are coming in by adding it as a spot in your contact form. Different brands have different needs, so figure out what’s best for your brand by experimenting with different channels to get more wedding photography clients.
Megan Breukelman is a Brooklyn-based photographer, marketer, and host of the Photo Opp Podcast. She aims to eat cupcakes and help photographers build on their passions.