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Photographing a Wedding is More Than Just Taking Pictures: How to Market Your Photography Business
Do You Take Photos Specifically For Marketing?
Photographing a wedding isn’t just about taking photos of the wedding. Every photographer knows that marketing and word of mouth are what sell sessions, and what better tool but social media to cover both. I’m not saying that you sacrifice photos of the event to get specific photos that you can use for marketing; I’m simply saying snap a few extras.
I’m going to let you in on one of my secrets; photographing the reception is not my favorite part. I’m sure you have heard quite a few other photographers say that very same thing. Why? The lighting is terrible, and most of the time there is some sort of multi-colored strobe light disco ball. People are moving fast, dancing and such, and the light is dimmed making it difficult to capture fun photos without a ton of blur. I said it isn’t my favorite part, but I didn’t say I necessarily disliked it.
Not My Favorite Doesn't Mean Dislike
Did you just call me wishy-washy?
Well, I’m a bit wishy-washy, aren’t I? Yes, the lighting is awful, there are tons of the same photo just different faces, but let’s face it, people are drinking and loosening up (which is the real key to photography, but I’ll save that for another article). This is where you get to really capture the event and all of the fun that the people are having at the wedding. Get the shots of those crazy dance moves Uncle Eddie is breaking out and be sure to snag some photos of the bride and groom while the attention isn’t on them. This is their time to finally sit back and relax, and you can get some amazing shots. Take the 200 photos of people dancing, because when you post them online people will tag themselves and they will look through every single one. When people tag themselves and friends in photos, it expands your audience, which expands your potential market.
Capture Photos That Make People Laugh
I have learned, when someone says ‘I don’t need all those photos’, they will always come back looking for a specific photo. “I know I didn’t ask for photos of each table while they were eating, but by any chance do you have a photo of table 6 while the speech was happening?” Yes – this happens. You live in a digital world, take all of these photos and then let them decide if they want them then. You know they will.
Guests don't want to see tons of photos of the bride
Research Marketing Your Business
Photographers will never like the photos that everybody else loves on social media
Ok, so, hypothetical (but it actually happened to me) situation. Say you took this amazing photo of the bride with storm clouds, in a field and it looks like it was an ad ripped out of a bridal magazine. You are swooning and you just know everyone else will just love it. You envision hundreds of likes, comments galore and sharing like no other photo. You have a few other photos that you decide to post on social media of random people, some just hanging out at the bar and one funny animated (slightly blurry) photo. And do you know what happens? Yea, you get about 20 likes, a few comments “oh you look beautiful” and one share, from the bride on the photo you thought would be a hit. Ok, maybe people just aren’t on Facebook right now? No. The funny animated (slightly blurry) photo gets all the likes, tons of shares and people are tagging themselves in it like crazy. Ok, what gives?
The winning photo on Facebook.
Big groups are also a good choice
Get a ton of photos with different faces
If you aren’t the bride and you aren’t the photographer, there is only so much you can care about a photo of a bride. What?! People ‘get through’ the mushy ceremony part, but really, the party is what people remember. So, this is your opportunity to really capitalize on expanding your target audience while still delivering the 300 plus photos of people dancing, drinking, eating and talking. So, although the reception is not my favorite to photograph, it is my favorite for marketing purposes.
Be Sure To Highlight The Venue
Learn About Food Photography
Details, details details
I love taking a photo journalistic approach to weddings because it adds to the memory of the day. This means taking photos of the details other than people. Obviously people want a photo of the big cake, but be sure to include the small snacks and pretty desserts. Take a photo of the meal, the wine, the centerpieces and any special gifts that the couple gives to the guests. Take photos of the venue including small details that make that venue special. One of my favorite weddings I shot (no pun intended) was at a gun club. The door handles leading into where the wedding reception took place were made of antique guns and it just added to the whole lodge feel that they were striving to achieve.
Capture The Feel of the Venue
Pretty Little Desserts
Another reason to photograph the venue and the food, especially the special little desserts is so that you can tag the businesses in your photos. They get the free publicity on your page, and for the most part they want to share your photos of their products for their own marketing needs. So, they share your photo of their products that in turn grows your target audience. It also creates a soft recommendation for your business by sharing that photo because it’s almost like an endorsement. When a couple is researching desserts, they will see your photo on their page, which may encourage them to take a look at your services.
Take extra photos with a marketing purpose
Even the guy that carves the ice sculpture
This works really well with jewelers, flower designers, dress designers and even the bridal shop that the shoes came from in the photo. If you can get that info, make sure you tag them as much as you can on social media.
Tag the Jeweler
Tag the Florist
SPIN - Milwaukee
Photoshop Editing For Wedding Photography
Ping Pong Break - I would have never thought of that!
And last but definitely not least, if you go to a different location with the wedding party for photos or say, for Ping Pong at Spin Milwaukee (now Evolution Milwaukee) be sure to tag these places as well. Honestly, I was shocked when I found out the wedding party was taking an hour or so to chill, have a few cocktails and play some ping pong. But in all reality, there were some really great photos and if I never thought of it, how many other couples haven’t thought of this for their wedding? How many people like the venue for a completely different reason than a wedding, and now are thinking it could be pretty cool. And what photographer already knows how to deal with the lighting? Well the photographer that took the photos that gave them the idea in the first place. Viola.
Make an effort to research the wedding venue
Marketing Your Business
Do you use wedding photos for your own marketing needs?
Take photos to market your business by networking on social media
So, like I said in the beginning, photographing a wedding isn’t just about taking photos of the wedding. Remember to keep your marketing hat on while taking photos and think about what photos will go over well on social media. Remember, that social media and word of mouth are so similar, but they are what you need to market your business so be sure to give credit where credit is due. By marketing venues, other service providers and anyone else that had a part in the day through your photographs, you will have your efforts returned with a larger potential customer base. Always take a ton of photos of the guests because they are your greatest assets when it comes to sharing your images.