For business or pleasure – networking is an important aspect of the wedding photography industry, especially if you run your own wedding photography business. Whether it’s to increase your clientele or get more referrals, networking can help you achieve your goals. But before you think of it as a business meeting, we’d suggest that you shift your focus to building strong relationships with wedding vendors as step one. Try to find commonalities, strike a conversation about what you like about their business, build a personal relationship before you get to the business partnership. But if building relationships seems like too much work or too time-consuming to you, this blog might help you see why it’s necessary and worth it too! And by the end of it, if you change your mind, you can also check out our top tips on networking with wedding vendors.
What You Get Out of Networking with Wedding Vendors
1. Build Relationships and Partnerships
Networking with wedding vendors allows you to build friendships and, eventually, business partnerships. And if you are worried about talking to strangers, then that’s not something that should hold you back. Even though you might not be from the same field, you will still find many topics to discuss with other wedding vendors. Once you know them personally, you can then discuss the possibility of a business partnership. And this is where you can mutually benefit from the partnership by referring each other to your couples. Whether you want them to be a part of your styled shoot or become a longtime partner for your business, the key to networking with vendors is to go in with an open mind and heart and focus on making real connections.
Suggested Read: Top 5 Tips for Vendor Referrals
2. Business Learnings
They might not be wedding photographers, but you can still learn valuable business skills and lessons from other wedding vendors. Social media marketing strategies, outsourcing, team management – they might have certain best business practices that you could also use for your own wedding photography business. The wedding industry is constantly evolving, and interacting with other wedding vendors can give you the leverage to know insider secrets and updates that you might not get to know otherwise.
3. Brand Exposure
One of the best ways to market your wedding photography business is to talk about it yourself. When you go out to wedding or networking events, other wedding vendors get to see the face behind your brand. You may have a great digital presence, but networking with wedding vendors allows you to introduce and speak for your brand yourself. Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most effective ways to increase your brand awareness, and therefore use the opportunity of networking to plug your brand in a more personal way.
How to Get Better at Networking with Wedding Vendors
Now that we have told you about some of the significant benefits of networking, below are some tips you could follow to ace your networking game.
1. Know Why You Want to Network
A big part of networking with wedding vendors is knowing why you want to network. Increasing your clientele, searching for vendors for a styled shoot, increasing brand awareness – there are multiple reasons for networking. Figuring out exactly what you expect from another wedding vendor will help you connect and communicate your vision clearly. But like we said before, you have to ensure your motives are not completely selfish. Before you make your plan and set your goals, try to also come up with services to offer other wedding vendors in return.
2. Know Who You Want to Network With
Before devising a plan on how you want to network with wedding vendors, make a list of vendors you definitely want to connect with. If you have organized styled shoots before, you will know that it’s important to connect with people whose aesthetics you appreciate and whose work you look up to. It may not always be possible to take your pick when networking with wedding vendors, so don’t be disheartened if things don’t work out sometimes. Get back in the game and keep exploring.
Suggested Read: Top 5 Wedding Collaboration Tips For Photographers
3. Keep Business Cards/Brochures
Keeping your business card with you when you go out for a networking event is a given, and you probably do this already, but a reminder can’t hurt! Next time you head out to a wedding or networking event, remember to carry your business card or, if possible, a brochure with all your information on it. In case you do strike the right connection with a wedding vendor, you can just hand over your card or brochure to them. This will also make it easier for them to connect with you later.
4. Be Yourself and Have Fun
You may want to impress everyone, but you don’t have to change your personality for that. Be who you are and be confident about your skills. Don’t let the pressure of connecting with a vendor keep you from having fun. Take it easy and let people meet the real you. Some events or meetings will be great, and some might disappoint you, but networking with wedding vendors is a process you learn from as you keep going.
Once you are done with meeting other vendors, it’s essential to follow up with them. That being said, you should ideally give them a day or two to reach out to you, and if that doesn’t happen, then you can drop them an email or simply give them a call. Wedding vendors meet many people every day, so if they can’t recall who you are, give them a short introduction as a reminder and then invite them for a coffee or a meal. If they are okay with your plan, look for a quiet restaurant or a cafe where you can get to know each other. Build up from your first meeting, talk about things you have in common – personally and professionally and then just let your relationship grow organically.
Networking with wedding vendors required patience and an open mind from your end. These relationships can’t be forced and certainly should not be rushed. Instead of starting with business strategies, keep yourself open to opportunities where you can naturally connect with other vendors. If you are not sure about what to discuss, you can always talk about their professional journey. Try to get to know them like you would get to know any other stranger you would want to be friends with. As we have emphasized previously, other wedding vendors may not be inclined to interact with you if you only speak business. So, relax, be yourself, and make room for more friends!
At ShootDotEdit, we strive to help you take your wedding photography business to the next level. To give you more time to network and make more connections, we also offer photo editing services that match your style. To learn more about how we can help your business, check out our price plans.