5 Tips for starting a wedding photography business
Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.
5 Tips For Starting A Wedding Photography Business
Five key ingredients to succeeding as a wedding photographer
In January 2017, I started a wedding photography business with my wife. Together we have managed to grow our wedding photo company from nothing to a full-time career. Through all of this time, we’ve gathered a lot of experience of what to do, and what not to do, that I hope can help any aspiring wedding photographers out there.
The wedding photography business tips I’m going to cover here come as a result of this experience –
1. Create a Brand to Attract Your Ideal Clients
The best wedding photographers have created a brand that attracts an audience. More specifically, their branding is designed to attract specific types of people.
With my photography business, Hand & Arrow Photography, my wife and I have worked hard to produce branding elements that contribute to attracting people who are relatively similar to us.
From the simplicity of our logo to the little elements we include on our website like graphics of a campfire and mountains – these really innocuous things play a HUGE role in how prospective clients will like (or not like) you.
Pro tip: The goal of a successful wedding photography brand isn’t to be loved by everyone. There are so many photography styles out there that it would be impossible to please everyone’s aesthetic. The goal should be to attract the people you really want to work with.
The art of branding is, honestly, pretty crazy at times. While our first thoughts go right to things like a logo, your brand is actually made up of so many things. A few that immediately come to mind:
- Your imagery (photo selection, graphic design elements, website design, etc.)
- The way you talk (how your site and social media content is written, how you speak during phone calls, etc.)
Starting off with a solid brand will help you to grow your wedding photography business more easily – but keep in mind it’s something you will always be refining as you move along!
2. Only Showcase Your Best Work
One of the beginner mistakes of the wedding photography industry is for photographers to overshare. While there is a time-and-place to show off full wedding galleries to give people an idea of what they could expect from their own set of photos – in most circumstances you will just want to select the best-of-the-best.
The two areas where this is most important is in your website portfolio and on social media.
3. Your Personality is Your Biggest Selling Point
Another common mistake that makes up my 3rd wedding photography business tip is realizing that you are a part of what is being sold – not just the resulting images.
Don’t get me wrong – good photos are important, but they are not the end-all-be-all.
Think about it like this: clients booking a wedding photographer will need to be around this person for 8+ hours on one of the most important days of their lives. Clients want to feel like they are in good hands and working with someone they can trust to be there for them AND capture great pictures of their day.
Fortunately – this isn’t too difficult to do in practice. Be real, authentic, and true to yourself – and you’ll find yourself working with more clients that share similar perspectives and actually appreciate the work you put into taking their pictures.
4. Keep Things Easy for Your Clients (Even at Your Own Expense)
The client experience is hugely important for wedding photographers to get right.
My wife and I have worked hard since the very beginning of our business to do good for the people we work for. This has resulting in simplifying our booking process, setting better expectations (such as hours we can be reached during the day), helping put together wedding timelines, and more.
While all of this can sound daunting – the reality really boils down to treat people like you’d want to be treated.
5. Invest in Your Business Wisely
While wedding photography can be fun and a cool job, if you have created your own business – you need to treat it like an actual business.
This includes learning how to effectively manage your money – spending and saving as is necessary.
In the course of several years, I slowly made purchases of new camera equipment that I needed to get the job done effectively and with a high quality. I will be honest – this was very tough at times, and my initial purchases were out of my own personal savings.
A couple questions I’ve always asked myself before making a purchase for my business…
- Do I really need this, or do I just want it? Maybe one of the most important questions here – you need certain things to be successful as a wedding photographer. Other things are just nice to have.
- Is this going to make my life easier? Time is money – if the thing I’m purchasing will help me save time or simplify things, that’s a good purchase in my book.
- Is the price-to-value ratio worth it? Sometimes, good deals come by that are impossible to pass up because so much value is being provided at a low financial cost.
- (In my book, Signature Edit’s Photography Business Marketing School is one such example!)
- Will my clients benefit from this purchase? Most things I end up buying have my client’s interest in mind. One big example of this is when I purchased a subscription to Honeybook – a booking platform. This replaced signing contracts with pen-and-paper and just accepting checks. It made my client’s experience so much better, and simplified things for me, too!
Starting my wedding photography business was one of the most life changing things I’ve ever done. While I’ve had my share of difficulties, the success I’ve had and shared with my wife has been just phenomenal. At the end of the day, it was a passion of mine I was able to bring to life. I hope you find these wedding photography business tips to be helpful as you look to set out on this journey of your own, too!
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