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Top 5 Tips: How to Make Money from Products as a Wedding Photographer

how to make money as a wedding photographer

In your business, focusing on how to make money as a wedding photographer is one of your top responsibilities. Something that goes hand in hand with making money is delighting your wedding clients. How can you achieve the goals of increasing your profits and creating happy clients? Keep reading to learn more.

How to Make Money as a Wedding Photographer

As an outsource editing company, we understand how important it is to focus on the things which will help you grow. In our ‘4 Simple Product Ideas Your Clients Will Love’ webinar with Jared Platt, he shared some top tips. Supported by Blurb, Jared’s top tips include how to make money as a wedding photographer with portfolio books, proof books, client albums, and vendor books. He also gives tips on how to do all this without adding more time to wedding workflow.

Throughout the webinar, Jared also shared how he incorporates these products into his Adobe Lightroom workflow in a fast and efficient way. Here are the top 5 tips from the webinar.

children's photography book

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Jared Platt

“Why aren’t our books on our clients’ shelves? Because we don’t give them often enough.” – Jared Platt

1. Understand the Value of Books

Unless creating books and albums are a part of your current workflow, it can be difficult to remember how common they are and how valuable they can be to the client. Also, there is a need to be fast and keep up with the ever-changing technological advancements that happen in the photography world, especially when it comes to delivering clients their images.

Jared points out:

“[Photographers] typically look at their clients today and think these are people who consume their images digitally. Too many [photographers] are just giving [clients] images and not following up with physical products they can hand to their clients and their clients can hang on the wall, or look at in a book, or feel as a print.”

Think about what would happen if you visited your clients at their homes. Chances are, your clients have several books of all kinds in different areas of their homes. Jared mentions, “people do like books. Books are everything.” If you look at your clients’ coffee tables, they likely have photo books, their favorite photographer books, fun books, or educational books.

“Books are everywhere. We can’t live without books. Even if we are not using the books, we use them for decor.”

bedroom with bookcase

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Jared Platt

When you understand the value of books and albums, you can then share that with your clients. The more knowledgeable they are about the value of physical products, the more likely they will be to make the decision to order them.

Related: 5 Tips to Fast Album Design – get them here!

2. Bring Products into the Client Experience

Throughout the webinar, Jared talked about 4 specific products he personally uses in his photography business. These include portfolio books, proof books, client albums, and vendors books. Here are the different points in which he shares these books with his clients and why these steps matter:

Portfolio book

In Jared’s client workflow, the first time clients see his work is with a portfolio book. The portfolio book he puts together shows his clients 2 things:

  1. He shoots other photography outside of weddings. For example, if a client comes into the studio to discuss a wedding, they can look at his portfolio books and see he shoots children’s portraits. If the client wants to book a photographer for their child’s portraits, they know that Jared can both shoot the wedding and take the portraits. Additionally, having the portfolio book helps plant the seed in the client’s mind they will want to purchase this product.
  2. He book helps plant the seed for future sales. In the example of the client who is interested in a wedding and portraits, they have the chance to physically hold the portfolio book, look through it, and see that Jared can create a book like that for them, as well. It helps plant the seed for books early on before the conversation about products occurs. This is a critical component for product sales because it is easier to sell something that someone has seen (or in this case, touched).

Proof Book

The portfolio book in Jared’s workflow is meant to share his past work with potential clients (in-person). If he books a client who he cannot meet with first and shoots their wedding, he sends an 8×10 proof book to them with all their images.

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Jared also includes his favorite images in the proof book, which are big on individual pages. He informs them they are his favorites, and he recommends for them to choose those, but also includes other options for them to choose from if needed. The reason Jared does this is that the clients look at the images he chose. These are placed on an individual page in a different way because he recommended it and help guide them to the best images for the album.

“I’ve booked more weddings from proof books than I have from any advertisement I’ve ever done.” – Jared Platt

Client Album

After Jared’s clients look at the proof book, he then discusses albums with them. At this point, they have already seen the images and know which ones they want to feature in their album. With so many options for album design software and tools (and even outsourcing), Jared can easily have the album created and deliver it to his photography clients.

Vendor Book

Vendor books are a great way to increase referrals and build relationships. Jared mentions there are 2 types of vendor books he uses:

  1. A simple 8×10 hardbound book that includes the vendor’s logo and work. This book is meant for the vendor to share with the next client what their services look like on the wedding day.
  2. A book that features all the work he has done with a vendor in a year. Each year, Jared puts together a book filled with images he shot at a venue or of a vendor’s work. He simply gathers images, sends them to Blurb and has the book created, and shares it with the vendors. This process adds barely any additional time to Jared’s workflow and helps strengthen his vendor relationships.

Related: What are the top album design and sales tips from industry pros?

BONUS: Documentary Books

Jared creates documentary books, which are a way for clients to have a lot of images at a lower price. The expense is very minimal for this type of book, as it does not require retouching or much of Jared’s time.

album spread

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Jared Platt

3. Share about Books Everywhere

As a photographer who is interested in selling physical products to make money and delight clients, sharing the books you sell is an important part of creating awareness. When your clients see you share about books on every platform, they will then have it in their minds they may spend money on these items.

This means you should share about books on your website, blog, email campaigns, social media accounts, online gallery, and your studio. Anywhere your clients will interact with you and your products and services, be sure to incorporate books.

Quick Tip

Think of ways to keep books top of mind and your clients excited about them. Hold a contest on social media, send out a promotion for products through an email campaign, or feature some of your favorite books and tell a story about them on your blog. Jared suggests creating videos of testimonials from past clients who have purchased books to share about why they made the choice and what it means to them. These are all things that can help encourage your current and future clients to purchase books.

4. Use Lightroom to Design Books

As the Lightroom Guru in the photography industry, Jared utilizes the software to create a fast and efficient workflow for the book and album process. For a typical proof book from a wedding, he chooses every image from the wedding for the build.

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Jared Platt's Lightroom Tips

The steps he recommends to take are to highlight every image from the wedding, go to your collections in Lightroom, and make a new collection and name it Proof Book (or the naming convention that best works for your business). Include all selected photos into the new collection (and leave the other options unchecked). Press create to make the collection.

Once you have the collection of images, go to the book module inside of Lightroom Classic. Jared mentions the idea behind the book module is to be able to design and make a book as quickly as possible with minimal effort. Lightroom created the ability to auto design, which Jared adds is the most critical part of the process.
Jared mentions the importance of setting up preferences in the book drop-down menu. Start by choosing zoom to fit to make sure the images are placed in the box and are not cropped. Uncheck the box that says start new books by autofilling. Choose file name metadata that would go below the images. It should be the file name for the proof book. You can then begin to design your book.

Related: The Fast Approach to Wedding Album Design

5. Create a Lay Flat Album

Many books have a gutter to them. If you have an image that will go across the center, there are parts of the image in the gutter. Currently, Lightroom does not have an option for a lay flat album. Instead, Jared uses Smart Albums and Blurb to create lay flat book for his clients.

Since he cannot create the album from Lightroom, Jared sends images to his hard drive and opens them to Smart Albums. Choose Blurb to make the album and decide on the dimensions and preferences. After the book is created, it can then be sent to Blurb for creation.

Those are just some of Jared’s suggestions for books and how to navigate through Lightroom to quickly create them. Gain more insights into Lightroom and Jared’s expertise with his Lightroom Workflow Workshop, available now for $99 ($originally $149) with code SDE – click HERE to get started.

And before you go, learn more about how to properly price your products and services with our free Guide: The Keys to Pricing for Wedding Photographers! Click the banner below to get yours today.

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