What do Justin and Mary Marantz, Zach and Jody Gray, Roberto Valenzuela, Ben Hartley, and Jared Platt have in common? They’re all top industry leaders, world-renowned photographers, and experts in all things photography. In our all-day, free Ultimate Wedding Photography Summit, each pro photographer shared their expertise on relevant subjects ranging from wedding photography marketing, to lighting, to posing, to branding, to storytelling. To share more of their tips with you, here are the top 5 tips from the event.
1. Use Wedding Photography Marketing
In today’s competitive industry, a strategic wedding photography marketing plan is key to your success. One of your main goals for your marketing plan is to book ideal clients each year. Once you book those clients, how can you ensure they have a positive experience and will refer you to others?
Wedding photography duo, Justin and Mary Marantz, make a point to take extra care of their clients. They suggest that you give your past and present clients meaningful gifts that are not photography related. For example, Justin and Mary send their past clients a William Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook.
It can be helpful to send gifts to your clients that you know they will share on Facebook and Instagram, because it can help drive traffic back to your wedding photo website. When you take care of ideal clients, they are more likely to share with their family and friends about you, which helps you grow your business.
Other important people in your wedding photography marketing plan to take care of are your vendors. There are various ways you can do this to strengthen your relationship with vendors. Offer to provide them with free headshots or take photos of them at a wedding to document them in their element.
Another way to take care of your vendors is to create vendor cards that feature one image that represents the vendor’s specialty. When you blog about the wedding, link out to the vendors you worked with so your readers can access their websites.
2. Utilize Lighting Tools
Every wedding shoot differs slightly, especially when it comes to lighting. Some scenarios you are faced with provide challenges and require you to quickly make adjustments to create the best light. In these situations, it is necessary to utilize wedding photography lighting tools. Which lighting tools are best to use?
Lighting experts, Zach and Jody Gray, mention how strobes can make a drastic difference in the outcome of your photos. An example of this is an image where the couple is in front of a backdrop of a deep, rich, blue sky with dramatic clouds that almost look fake. The light from a strobe is strong enough to overpower the sun, which gives you control of the lighting situation and allows you to incorporate your creativity to each photo.
Additional wedding photography tools you can use during the wedding day are speedlights. While they are not as powerful as strobes, speedlights can still produce dramatic light for your images. The perfect times to utilize speedlights during the wedding day shoot is during the portraits and the reception (where you can shoot detail shots). Speedlights are lightweight and compact, which means you can pack a few of them in your camera bag for the shoot.
3. Focus on Posing Details
When you pose your couple during the wedding day, it is important to check for any small details that could offset the image. During the couple portraits, for instance, take a few seconds to examine your frame. You can correct any mistakes and remove distractions before you press the shutter button. How can you focus on the small details of the poses you set?
Posing authority, Roberto Valenzuela, pays attention to everything from the bride’s posture to the groom’s hand placement. As he poses the bride, he has her breathe in, which naturally tightens her waist and straightens her posture. When she has proper posture, it makes more a more flattering figure in the photo. When he works with the family formals, Roberto makes sure no one is slouching, everyone is looking at the camera, and each family member is close together with their hands and arms touching.
During a session, you have all encountered this at one point or another – someone who is not into wanting their photo taken. It may not be that they are unhappy to be there (it is their wedding, after all!), but they may just be uncomfortable in front of the camera. When it comes to posing the couple, capturing the right expressions is just as important as the pose itself. You can have the best pose, but if the expressions are not there, the image is not going to be as strong.
Remember, the couple booked you because they trust you and love the images you create. It’s your job to create a comfortable environment for them to get that spark that makes a pose come alive. Create an energy that is infectious and will give the bride and groom reasons to smile and laugh through the shoot. The more comfortable they feel, the better poses and expressions they will give you.
4. Build a Strong Brand Message
With everything you do, you should build a strong brand message for your clients to see. The first place to start with this is your wedding photo website, specifically your “About Me” page. With the photos you share on your “About Me” page, it is essential they match your brand. How can you create a headshot that helps you build a strong brand message for ideal clients?
Ben Hartley of Style & Story Creative recommends to take time to create a headshot with the perfect wedding photography lighting, posing, and representation of your personality. When you have a professional headshot on your “About Me” page, ideal clients can put a face to your brand and get to know you more.
Not every photo of you has to be serious, either. As long as you have one professional headshot, you can share others that showcase your personality more. Include photos of your family, pets, or something that is important to you and helps make who you are. When you have both the professional and personal elements on your “About Me” page, you start to build a connection with ideal clients.
In addition to an “About Me” page that shares more about your brand, do you have compelling text throughout your website that enhances an ideal client’s experience? If you only feature photos on your Homepage and “About Me” page, how can ideal clients know your brand differs from others? The words you use to reflect your brand are crucial to your success and should be the same on every platform you have.
5. Become an Excellent Storyteller
As a wedding photographer, you have the chance to tell unique stories for your clients. To become an excellent storyteller through your images, you must start from the beginning of the client experience. The story you share starts with wedding photography marketing and branding for your business and continues when ideal clients view your website and blog. What else can you do to be a great storyteller?
Photographer and workflow expert, Jared Platt, recalls the process he took to become an excellent storyteller. He spent time on the “why” – why he became a photographer, why he shoots the way he does. When he discovered who he is and why he does what he does, it helped him approch storytelling for clients. This is something you can do for your photography, so you more accurately tell stories and feel confident in your work.
Once you learn more about who you are and your “why”, gather more details about your clients. Take the time to focus on what makes them who they are, so you can capture a genuine story during the wedding day. This can happen throughout the process, so you can ask the necessary questions to get to know them.
With so many tips for your wedding photography marketing, lighting, posing, branding, and storytelling, you have the tools you need to implement new techniques and tips to advance your photos and business! Discover additional business tips from industry leaders, plus 50+ pages of expert advice, when you download our How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business Guide!