infographic stating 5 pillars of Brandi Allyse Photos client centric photography business plan
Not too long ago, we shared the inspiring journey of Brandi Salerno, photographer extraordinaire and the creative force behind Brandi Allyse Photo. During our conversation, the photographer recounted how she went from doing only portraiture to working as a second shooter at weddings to becoming a professional, full-time wedding photographer. And for someone who didn’t think it was in her “nature to be a businesswoman”, she dropped some pretty valuable business advice too. One of the many impressive aspects of her photography business plan is her ability to provide top-notch photography and unmatched customer service. In this featured photographer story, she spills the secrets on how she makes it all come together so flawlessly.

Brandi Allyse Photo’s 5 Pillars Of A Photography Business Plan

Brandi is an expert at creating loyal customers, delivering great customer experiences, and generating steady revenue through an effective social media marketing strategy. Whether you’re interested in learning how to start your own photography business or how to build a dedicated customer base, or launching your photography business marketing efforts, her photography business plan can provide valuable insights that you can apply to your own business.

1. Building Trust And Loyalty With An Incomparable Client Experience

a wedding groom holding the bride while she is leaning back looking at each other
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

ShootDotEdit: You and your couples always seem to have a good time together. How do you go about creating a unique and exceptional client experience? Do you put in any extra effort to do that?

Brandi: When it comes to client experience, I always try to think outside the box. One thing I’ve been doing lately is creating welcome boxes for my clients. These boxes constantly evolve as I try new ideas and source unique items from different places. For instance, I often order custom gifts from Etsy or even create them myself. To make the boxes even more special, I add personalized stickers and branded items that I get from Amazon. Etsy holds a special place in my heart since I love supporting small businesses. 

Most of the items inside the box are catered toward brides, although I also include items for grooms. For instance, I’ll send fuzzy socks, fun glasses, candles, face masks, and ChapStick, among other things. I truly believe that these small touches help create a feeling of friendship with my clients. In the end, that’s what matters the most to me. 

ShootDotEdit: Wow! Those boxes sound so amazing! Is there anything else you do to ensure that your clients have nothing but a seamless, worry-free experience with you?

Brandi: I am always mindful of the impression I leave on my clients. It means a lot to me that we develop a connection that is more than just a business transaction. I strive to create a friendship with my clients that is personal and comfortable. I understand that not everyone in the industry agrees with this approach, but it’s simply how I prefer to operate. 

To foster this friendly relationship, I often give my clients my cell phone number after confirming their booking. I encourage them to text me anytime they need to and to keep our communication open and proactive. Of course, we also use HoneyBook to keep our professional correspondence organized. I understand just how stressful the wedding planning process can be. Therefore, I always aim to be the non-stressful and enjoyable aspect of their big day, and I am here to make it a memorable and fun experience. My goal is to ensure every client has an unforgettable experience they cannot help but tell their friends and family about. 

Suggested Read: Fast 5:Wedding Photography & Business Tips

ShootDotEdit: It’s clear that your relationship with your clients means a lot to you. What about building trust with your clients? Is that a part of your workflow as well?

Brandi: Building trust is crucial to attracting and retaining clients. It starts right from the moment prospects get their first glimpse of you, possibly on social media platforms like Instagram, where your face is visible. The way you showcase yourself goes a long way in establishing trust, even before clients have made an inquiry. Building trust is a constant endeavor as a professional and involves you being diligent when incorporating it into your workflows. While some people may not actively think about it, they still manage to build trust naturally. It has to be there to ensure clients feel comfortable and valued.

2. The Power Of Personal Connection

a close up shot of a couple holding hands and their wedding ring is in focus
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

ShootDotEdit: What else is a part of your repertoire when it comes to offering a great client experience?

Brandi: When I’m hired for engagement sessions, I start by giving my clients some helpful tips on what to wear and an overview of the session with me. I have a brochure on HoneyBook that offers some ideas and suggestions that they find helpful. Once we have the session, I aim to deliver the photos within four weeks or sooner, keeping in mind the underpromise and overdeliver mantra. I always try to surprise my clients with sneak peeks sooner than expected and more photos than they anticipate. I don’t make bold promises; it’s all about delivering more than they expect!

When it comes to wedding days, I love helping my clients build a photo timeline. While planners are often doing this as well, I like to offer my specific preferences on the timeline. This allows the couples to get answers to questions from their vendors, such as hair and makeup artists, who need to know when everything is happening.

ShootDotEdit: Sounds like you really go the extra mile for your couples. Do you often help them plan their wedding day timelines? What does that process look like?

Brandi: In the initial conversations with couples after they’ve booked my services, I always mention that I’m available to help them put together a timeline for their big day. Whether they’re wondering how to go about the timeline or have any other questions related to their photography budget for wedding, I’m here to help. With a quick analysis of just a few critical pieces of information like their ceremony time, exit time, and sunset time and specifics like whether or not they would want to have a first look, etc., I’m able to create a comprehensive schedule that ensures their day runs smoothly. Once we have the timeline, it’s easy to go back and forth with their planner for adjustments.

Suggested Read: Learn, Grow, Pass It On: Featuring Brandi Allyse Photo

3. Creating Content For Social Media

a collage of a series of wedding first look images
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

ShootDotEdit: Keeping up with social media and its ever-changing trends can be quite challenging for a wedding photographer. How do you manage to do it all so well?

Brandi: I believe in taking a proactive approach to social media, keeping in mind that potential clients may be watching. Personally, I don’t segregate my business and personal accounts, and my social media presence reflects who I am, what I’m passionate about, and what I have to offer. Social media is a tool to establish rapport and credibility right from the get-go. It provides a glimpse into your personality, interests, and expertise – all critical components that can only help impress potential clients. Staying true to my values, I remain authentic in my interactions, and underpromise and overdeliver!

ShootDotEdit: Tell us a little bit about your social media tactics. Would you say that Instagram is your go-to platform to attract potential clients?

Brandi: I have a TikTok account, but I still need to get more active there; that’s something I need to work on! But yes, Instagram is my number one. I spend a lot of time crafting engaging content, which has paid off as that is where most of my inquiries come from. On my contact form, when I ask clients about how they heard about me, the response is either through word-of-mouth or Instagram.

ShootDotEdit: Do you have a specific strategy when it comes to creating content for Instagram?

Brandi: I always strive to keep my story interesting and engaging, with something new every day. Stories take little effort to make, and the content can be as simple as what you had for breakfast or a photo you love. The best part about them is that they only last 24 hours before disappearing – it’s just a short glimpse into someone’s life. 

For photo posts, I don’t think one’s profile needs to be carefully curated to be enjoyable. If there’s a photo you love, post it. Don’t feel like you have to think too hard about which photo would look best next to the other images; that just seems like much work for me! 

I’m trying to film more Reels. Every week or two, I set aside one day to focus on getting multiple Reels done to have a good batch ready. My goal w.r.t. to my photography business plan is to get to a place where I can do this more consistently and efficiently. With some thoughtful planning, there are times when I can record 5 or 10 Reels in a single day.

Suggested Read: From Second Shooter To Pro Wedding Photographer: The Rise Of Brandi Allyse Photo

ShootDotEdit: How do you plan and record something with precision and detail? Is it like an actor’s performance where all elements from lighting to props, plot lines, and costumes have to be carefully developed beforehand, or can you get away with a few takes until you’re satisfied?

Brandi: Absolutely! A lot of people don’t find it easy to take on this kind of task. I’m a perfectionist, so I can’t just do one take and be like, “That’s good enough.” If I’m lip-syncing a video with audio, I’ll spend hours ensuring it is perfect. You have to work at this – it’s not like you’re naturally gifted in acting, where things come easily, and you can quickly move on to the next thing. You also have to research what you want to do and draw inspiration from audio clips and how others have used them. 

ShootDotEdit: We know for a fact that you are super active on Instagram. How much time do you usually dedicate to creating content specifically for your social media channels?

Brandi: I usually dedicate around two hours to social media activities. During this time, I research things that catch my interest, such as watching live streams from my favorite photographers to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest trends. I usually post content every other day, and at this point, I’m regularly creating Reels for my followers. Creating content for Stories is the most interesting part of social media for me, so I dedicate lots of time and thought to developing eye-pleasing content, such as filming my everyday activities.

I’ve linked my Instagram to Facebook to share my posts automatically. I’m not very active on Facebook, as I’ve realized that my potential clients are finding me on Instagram. Currently, TikTok and Snapchat aren’t my focus areas. Instead, I’m more focused on sharing Reels, Stories, and posts on Instagram. 

ShootDotEdit: Do you plan out your Stories the way you plan out your Reels? 

Brandi: I don’t usually have a plan for my Stories until something comes to me. For example, the other day, I had the idea of creating a series of posts on frequently asked questions that I hadn’t shared yet. That’s something I’ve been planning out over the last few days.

ShootDotEdit: How long have you been using social media for your brand?

Brandi: For the last five years, I’ve been utilizing social media to promote my photography business. But in the last two years, I’ve really doubled down on this strategy. It was around this time that social media started to take off, particularly with the emergence of Reels, and that’s when I began participating and contributing. Since then, I’ve seen significant growth, and my work has garnered increased attention, leading to even more bookings. I’ve had clients reach out to me after seeing my videos. Just recently, someone said they saw my Reel and requested I shoot their wedding. And these will always be really special moments for me!

4. The Art Of Networking With Vendors: Brandi’s Photography Business Plan

a bridal wedding dress hanging from a large wooden door
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

ShootDotEdit: So, besides Instagram, what other channels and strategies are part of your marketing plan to attract more leads?

Brandi: One aspect of my business that I absolutely love discussing is being a top-pick vendor. Getting on a preferred vendor list is a part of establishing great relationships with the venues and wedding planners I frequently work with. It is also an important part of my photography business plan. After a shoot, I send them a gallery and ask if they have a preferred vendor list that they could add me to. This has been an effective way to grow my network and reach more clients. 

I mention these two points – happy clients spreading the word and establishing solid relationships with venues and planners because photographers are amongst the top 3 or 4 things that are first planned, booked, or bought in a wedding planning process. A bride’s priority when planning her special day is buying a dress, picking a date, booking a venue, getting a planner, and securing a photographer. Collaborating with other industry professionals, such as dress shops, can also be beneficial as they can refer photographers to their friends and clients. I have previously worked with a local Dallas dress shop that speaks highly of me to their clients. Maintaining these kinds of relationships in the wedding industry is essential to achieve continued success.

Suggested Read: The Business Of Wedding Photography

ShootDotEdit: Is there a specific method you use to get on the vendor’s list? Perhaps a secret recipe?

Brandi: The biggest one I apply is shooting at venues and getting on their vendor list, which leads to more business. By sending galleries of my work to venues I have shot at, I can get on their preferred vendor list. This means everyone entering the venue will be exposed to my information. While I am not the only one on the list, being on multiple lists has been hugely beneficial in the DFW area. Essentially, venues are doing the marketing work for me by recommending me to potential clients. 

To get on these lists, I simply reach out to the venue with a friendly email showcasing my work and expressing my admiration for their space. In my experience, it never hurts to ask. Even if the answer is no, it’s worth a try! As much as I would love to be on every single one, I like to keep track of the venues and planners that I know are potentially being booked before me. This way, I can stay organized and prepared for any upcoming gigs. 

5. It’s All About The Clients

a silhouette of a couple standing closely and touching their noses
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

ShootDotEdit: Besides your exceptional organization, communication, and photography skills, is there anything else that you bring with you on a wedding day?

Brandi: My dance moves. My sister, who is also a wedding photographer, and I, when we shoot together, we dance a lot at the reception. That’s the thing that people think about, and they think, “Oh, yeah! They are so great, and they dance and help with the vibe on the dance floor!” We’ve made it our thing, and guests always remember us for it. It adds to the fun and lively atmosphere of the reception, and couples love it when we join in on the fun. When you’ve built a relationship with a couple like this, it creates a bond that can last long after the wedding is over.

ShootDotEdit: How do you ask for reviews from clients? Do you send a form or do it through email? How does it work?

Brandi: I don’t usually ask my clients to leave me reviews, but occasionally, I will share a Story asking for feedback from those who have worked with me previously. The Story will usually have a link for them to review their experience with me. However, I’m selective about who I send this message to, and it’s not the final email I send to all clients. Instead, it’s just a casual post on social media that will encourage people to talk about their positive experiences with me to their friends.

Further Read: ShootDotEdit Featured Photographers

professional wedding photographer Brandi Allyse holding a camera dancing at a wedding (photography business plan)

Brandi’s success in transitioning from portrait photography to full-time weddings is truly remarkable. Her tried-and-true wedding photography business strategies are worth noting and could help you create a successful photography business plan in the long run. Her approach to building genuine client relationships and leveraging the power of Instagram to expand her clientele are just a few examples of her expertise. While developing your unique business approach is crucial, utilizing a business plan template from a successful wedding photographer (like Brandi) you admire can also be beneficial. If you’re determined to succeed, seize this opportunity to re-evaluate your current plan or devise a new one that will increase your chances of achieving your goals!

Thank you, Brandi, for giving us your time and valuable advice on shaping a photography business plan! You can check out Brandi’s work on her Instagram, Facebook, or website.

At ShootDotEdit, we share our clients’ stories with you to inspire and demonstrate the power of outsourcing. If photo editing has become a tedious process for you, then it’s time to let us lighten your workload! To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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