How do I market my business to get more weddings?
How do I market my business to get more weddings? I have attended about 8 or 9 weddings so far and all have gone pretty well, but I am trying to break into wedding photography full time.
Ron Yates, Fareham UK
Right now, it's very tricky marketing to get more weddings, as the competition is huge. It's really word of mouth that gets you the clients - in my opinion advertising wedding photography is really a waste of money. Most people looking for a wedding photographer will use Google, or learn about you from other people - past brides, hotel receptions, etc.
So your money is best spent on a good website which shows your product, and what you do. Also check out moo.com - they make great postcards and business cards, where you can have different pictures on each card. Great for handing out to people - I always fan them out and ask people to pick a card - that way, you can start up a conversation with them about why they like that particular picture. Much better than just handing out a business card. If they picked a shot because they liked it, they are also more likely to pin it up at home.
One of the best ways to get talked about is to network with the people that are running the wedding - wedding planners, hotels, etc. Check out the ones you'd like to work with and make an appointment to show them your work.
Try going regularly to your favourite hotel lobby - work from there, order lots of coffee, get to know the staff, etc. Have some of your work casually lying on the table. It's much nicer for creative people working in that sort of environment, than working from home on your own. You're actually out there getting noticed, while you're doing your admin! One day you will strike up a conversation and this may help you, because now you are one of their clients, not just someone calling in.
As regards going full time, I am not sure if you have read my blog on the current situation with full time photography - if not, take a look at Should you turn your passion into your job?
Don't get despondent if you do lots of marketing but don't increase your weddings - be realistic - the competition is huge right now, and will get worse, as more people start to realise they can take their own pictures, or have a creative friend who is good at photography.
Shooting weddings can give you a real buzz - it's such an enjoyable experience being with people on such a happy day! People have often said to me, “Wedding photography is good money for a Saturday afternoon's work!" but in reality it takes weeks of planning before and tons of work after, not to mention overheads - it's certainly not a Saturday afternoon job!
My advice, in today's market, is to keep your business small and stay part time, unless you can afford to leave your job.
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