You take stunning images that always wow your couples. Greaaattt! But do you have a plan of action when it comes to marketing those images and maximizing your profits? This is a question that every photography business owner should ask themselves. Social media marketing, blogging, and referrals - multiple factors play a role in keeping a photography business running smoothly and successfully. And all of them contribute in equal measures toward your business growth and could be considered as important pillars that support your business in the long run. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into understanding how to grow your wedding photography business in a steady, consistent manner. What’s more? We have some of the well-known names from the photography industry spill the beans on what helped them build their business and bring in the profits. Read through!
HOW TO GROW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
1. Social Media Marketing
Using social media for your photography business could play a vital role in helping it succeed. Not only could the various social media platforms be easy to master, but the benefits and growth that you might see in the form of new customers, traffic, and referrals are priceless. Here, we are going to shed some light on social media marketing for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and how you could use them to your advantage.
Between sharing your images with your followers and marketing your product to your target audience, it almost seems as if Facebook was made for wedding photographers. You can share your unique content with thousands of people and also create custom audiences, which allow you to reach out to your ideal clients.
QUICK TIP: Share your photos. Photo posts receive 39% more interaction than normal posts. This number increases if you tag people. Just like you have a wedding photography checklist for the wedding day, make sure you have a checklist for images you will share on Facebook after the shoot is over. This allows you to have plenty of content to share and gives your followers a sneak peek into your past shoots.
Building a photography business page, separate from your personal page, allows you to utilize the site’s business features to keep you engaged with your followers. Your Facebook business page should represent who you are as a brand and as a wedding photographer. Tell them what you will provide for them through the following:
- Cover Image: Design a cover image that represents your brand (these are some of our favorite cover images from a few pro photographers).
- Headshot: Include a professional headshot as your profile picture.
- Vanity URL: A vanity URL showcases your brand name and makes it easy to find for your potential clients. To set up one, all you have to do is go to your page’s About tab, think of a username, check its availability, and click on Create Username.
Facebook allows you to expand your reach through customized settings for your ideal clients, which helps you to send accurate content to potential clients. The more specific you get with your targeting, the more ideal clients you can reach and the less money you will have to spend on your branding. You could achieve the best results by:
- Having a goal for your content.
- Testing the process (if it doesn’t create universal excitement, go back and change your custom settings).
WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT?
Photographer Heather J. Keys uses her Facebook business page to share more about her business and attract clients back to her photo website and blog. She uses a specific hashtag strategy on Facebook and understands the benefits of using advanced targeting and advertising to attract her photography clients. Heather also shares past images to showcase her unique style and provide fond memories for her photography clients.
Instagram is one social media platform that can do wonders for wedding photographers. On your Instagram business account, you could create a kind of online gallery to help you attract potential customers. Like we said, this platform seems to be made for you as a wedding photographer.
When creating hashtags for your Instagram posts, beware of the following:
- Including too many hashtags in one post.
- Making hashtags only for the sake of earning likes.
- Using hashtags that are not necessarily related to your photography business or brand.
WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT?
Photographer and educator Natalie Franke has a specific strategy in place for her Instagram business account. She also shares some of her top tips for photographers to use on their Instagram accounts to maximize the benefits of this platform. The tips are as follows:
- Use Planoly for scheduling.
- Share quality posts.
- Relate to followers.
- Stay true to your brand.
- Maximize Instagram stories.
Twitter has over 328 million monthly active users, and has over 500 million tweets sent per day! In one full day, your clients’ newsfeeds are filled with content from businesses all over the world. How do you position your content so your posts and tweets cut through the chatter and stand out?
TWEETING AND FOLLOWING
- Follow industry trends and professionals.
- Network with prospective clients.
- Discuss best practices with like-minded photographers.
- Drive traffic to your blog and newsletter.
- Update your client base with news and announcements.
- Insert your own personality by tweeting about things you find funny or interesting.
- Get noticed by others in your field by being an active part of the online community.
- With Twitter, you can literally get right into the conversation, immediately. There is no friend request necessary to follow someone or retweet something witty.
QUICK TIP: Search for hashtags ahead of time to see which ones get the most traction. This way, you increase the chances of your posts being viewed by a larger audience. And when it comes to brand visibility, most of us know that more the eyeballs, the better it is for our brands!
WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT?
So here you go! Of the millions of (and counting!) monthly active users on Pinterest, 80% are millennial women (42% of female users are in the US). If you find yourself wondering who is spending the time looking at your images on Pinterest? Brides-to-be, of course!With all the social media platforms you currently manage, why would you want to add another onto your plate? And what does Pinterest do for your business anyway? These are relevant questions. But considering that this platform has gained a lot of traction in recent times, especially for growing your wedding photography business, you might just want to learn about what this platform has to offer when it comes to growing your business.
Want to ensure greater visibility for your images on Pinterest? Just “Pin it”! Pinterest allows you to create individual boards you can “Pin” your images to, and the Pins you create link back to your website. What is great about this social site is you do not have a cap on the number of photos you can post at once. You have the freedom to pin your favorite images from a past engagement session or a wedding shoot. And, the more images you put up on Pinterest, the easier it is for clients to find you.
Quick Tip: Place “Pin It” buttons on the images throughout your website, including your blog.
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @narvoldphotography
Destination photography. Outdoor photography. Black and White Photography. Wondering what these words are doing here? These - and many more words and phrases related to wedding photography - are the key (or keywords, in this case) to reaching out to your ideal clients! Yes, you heard us right! Typically, when brides use Pinterest, they look up a particular word or phrase based on their interest areas. Create keywords for your images that lead brides to your page, allowing them to click through your collection, and eventually leading them to your website.
WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT?
“At Melissa Jill Photography, we have been working to optimize our Pinterest presence, and we have seen tremendous growth as a result. According to my Google Analytics, Pinterest is the 2nd highest source of traffic to my blog after organic search results. In addition, I have seen an increase in client inquiries who say they have found me on Pinterest. Pretty awesome. Because our content is already living on our blogs, optimizing our Pinterest strategy is a fairly low-maintenance endeavor compared with other social channels,” Melissa tells ShootDotEdit.
Tips for all social media platforms:
- Always redirect to your website.
- Share your best images.
- Create a variety of content.
- Post consistently.
- Time your posts based on your target market.
- Create and participate in conversations.
QUICK TIP: Add into your wedding photography contract how you will share your client’s images after you receive them back from a wedding photography editing service. When you include these details in your contract, you let them know that you will share the images on social media, as well as your photo website, blog, and more.
- Make a plan for social media implementation on your networks:
- Stick to the same days per week, during times that users are active and online.
- Create a Google Doc or spreadsheet that helps you stay organized with your social posts for the month.
- Use a resource like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance for Facebook and Twitter. For Instagram, use Planoly to visually plan and manage your business account.
- Curate a variety of content for your blog posts. Include the best images from your past weddings to engage your clients (current and potential).
- Start using Pinterest and Instagram to market your business. Share social links on your website, as well as other platforms you use.
A blog, if done right, can be a great addition to your photography marketing efforts. Once you discover how to start a photography blog, you can use it as a portfolio and a place to share the story of the wedding day for each of your clients. Using your photography blog to share your experiences as a wedding photographer allows your clients to get to know you, the photographer.
Padding it with additional content, such as a personal blog series, encourages your clients to get to know you, the person. Creating content that is relevant for your clients contributes to a successful SEO plan, and is best established by blogging regularly and consistently.
The vital part of a notable photography blog is regular and consistent posting. To gain the benefits of blogging, it needs to be done consistently throughout each month. Therefore, plan out your posts in advance.
Tips to successful blogging:
- Blog consistently throughout each month.
- Link to other people, places, and items within your post.
- Include categories and tags.
- Share your post through social media.
B. BLOG STRUCTURE
While much of the benefit from your blog will come from the stories you tell and images you share, make sure to set up the way you post each time to maximize the SEO benefit. Once properly set up, you can follow the same structure for each post and see the ongoing benefits from the SEO bump it can provide. First, make sure you understand the top premises for a successful blog structure:
- Dynamic Content: Search engines are always ranking sites with fresh content higher than sites with static content. Your blog is a great opportunity for you to create new content on a regular basis without having to redo your site each time.
- Link Building: By linking people, places, and things in your blogs, especially vendors who can link back, you create outgoing and incoming links that help you rise higher in search engine algorithms.
- Social Sharing: By creating content you control on your blog, you allow others to share that content. The fastest way for you to increase your reach is to encourage social sharing to your current clients and vendors (take a look at a few of our favorite social sharing plugins to help).
- Image Sizes: Optimize your images for the web. For a better understanding of how to do that, you can refer to this blog.
- Create dynamic content that highlights your wedding photography and features colorful narratives.
- Schedule out your blog posts for the month.
- View a calendar and place all the photo shoots (both shoots that are completed and need to be blogged about as well as upcoming shoots) into dates on the calendar. With this, you’ll have a good visual of when each post will go live.
- Build social media for each blog post. It is great to have blog posts, so don’t forget to share it through several different networks! Create messages for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share.
- Outsource your blogging needs to an expert like Fotoskribe to build a consistent schedule and receive SEO-rich blog posts for your business.
In a solopreneur industry like photography, personal relationships account for the majority of business. People invest in people, not businesses. Learning how to connect with people is key to growing your wedding photography business. Mastering the art of communication can help you to make better connections and to set the foundation for lasting relationships with other vendors and your clients.
Tips for better body language:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Remain open to conversation.
- Put your mobile devices away.
QUICK TIP: Outsource tasks on your plate to free up your time so you can spend it on building relationships. For example, rather than spending your time on wedding photo edits, outsource wedding photo editing to a specialist like ShootDotEdit. While your images are taken care of, you can focus your attention on the relationships that will help you continue to grow.
As you meet and book more clients, you will be sharing a majority of your time with other vendors who help with the wedding day. It is for your benefit to create connections and relationships with vendors through proper communication.
The more you can get your name out there, the more chances your photography business will be noticed by vendors who share a vision similar to yours. When you engage with like-minded business owners who serve the same client as you, you can expand your reach and grow your wedding photography business more rapidly.
WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT?
Photographer Jacquelynn Buck attends events or joins groups where other photographers and vendors are present to help build lasting professional relationships.
“Whether it is connecting with a local venue or wedding coordinator, scheduling a booth at a bridal expo (yes, those still work), trading business with other photographers (photographers you respect make great referral partners - because we all get inquiries for dates we are already booked, right?) or joining a professional networking group - it’s all about building relationships,” insists Jacquelynn.
Here are a few other tips for connecting with vendors:
- Be the center of your network: Set up face-to-face meetings with your vendors. This says a lot about you as a person because most people communicate through email or social media. Showing interest to meet in person could make your vendors feel you are interested in creating a lasting relationship with them. Of course, keep in mind the COVID-19 protocols of the post-pandemic world!
- Learn how to say “no”: Also, we suggest that you only agree to meet with vendors who you think will result in the growth of your business. Anything else will prove to be a distraction to your long-term goals.
- Use your photography blog and images to build your network: Feature vendors in your blog, showcasing images of them hard at work during the wedding day, as well as the products they provide for the day. This works as a free promotion for them, and they may return the favor for you down the road.
Just like creating a social schedule is important, the same goes for vendor relationships. To stay top of mind and relevant, you need to always think of how you can help them and regularly meet up with them in person.
In addition to creating connections with vendors, growing your business relies on creating exceptional experiences for your clients. When you create a win for your clients, they become more than customers; they become your marketing department. Client referrals are the most genuine form of photography marketing available. No search engine or online ad can generate as much revenue as a passionate client spreading the word about you, your services, and how much you helped them.
Each client you encounter in your photography business will need to be marketed differently. Every client you interact with or work with will be placed into a client referral tiered list: advocates, evangelists, and true believers. The main goal for your photography business is to create as many true believers as you can.
3 TIERS OF CLIENT REFERRALS
- Advocate: The first tier is the advocate, who will refer you to increase traffic and client loyalty through the positive experience they have with you.
- Evangelist: The second tier is the evangelist simply because this is a client who will mention you without first being prompted.
- True Believer: The final tier is called the true believer because this client believes in you as a person, in addition to what you do.
If you are determined to connect with others, you can create a network of clients, vendors, and industry professionals that will help you to grow your business. And, potential clients can come from anywhere. Remember that by getting out and meeting people, you can grow your web of contacts and through that, you can find amazing opportunities.
- Networking can happen anywhere. Be open to trying something new:
- Attend conferences.
- Go to lectures.
- Check out the open houses at the local venues.
- Get involved with the community.
- Give your clients an unforgettable experience:
- Meet and set expectations from the beginning.
- Simplify offering and selling products.
- Solve your clients’ problems before they happen.
- Be yourself during your client interactions.
HOW TO GROW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS AND STAY RELEVANT
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @robbmccormickphotography
The recipe for a successful photography business is constant growth, which will help it stay relevant. We sat down with a few photographers and asked them: How did you grow your photography business? And here is what they had to say. So if you are looking to scale your photography business, make a note!
1. BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION
“In order to grow your business, you need to first simplify so that it is as efficient and profitable as you can possibly make it. You need a solid foundation on which to build your brand, otherwise your potential growth will be severely compromised. Hire a consultant that you trust and is willing to ask you the hard questions. They will help you to think long term and to navigate the difficult decisions with the growth opportunities in front of you.” – Jeff and Erin Youngren
“1. Hone your shooting skills. Make sure you are creating the images you visualize in your mind. Once you think you have great images, stop, take a class, or learn a new tool to deliver an even better product. 2. Develop a system. Make the foundation strong. Creating a system helps you stay in control of your business as it grows. 3. Develop a team. Finding a team or companies to partner with helps take off some of the heavy lifting of daily tasks. Management software, photo editors, website hackers, they all are there to help you succeed.” – Mike Adrian
2. SPECIALIZE, FOCUS, AND OUTSOURCE
“Growing my business required me to specialize, focus, and outsource. By teaming up with partners, I have gained: 1) More time to focus on my clients, vendors, and relationships. 2) A better product, since I now trust experts in specialized fields instead of trying to do it all. The year I made these changes, I booked seven more weddings than the year before. I was worried it was a one-time thing, but in the years since, my Facebook Page ‘likes’ have gone up 40% and my blog has had over 17,000 unique visitors. I’ve been able to add two photographers to my business because of increased bookings and because I know I can outsource, especially the post-processing, easily and effectively.” – Leeann Marie
3. STRATEGIC MARKETING
“We’ve found that strategic marketing is the key to growing our business. Much of that marketing energy is invested into online marketing. Online marketing is the consistent and strategic sharing of your specific YOUnique message and images (who we are and what we stand for). We share these across all social media platforms and online resources including: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, our website, LinkedIn, Google-Search, online directories, etc. Since we, as Jason+Gina Wedding Photographers, began to share our specific message, our bookings have doubled. Lately, we’ve been using Buffer to help consolidate and automatically share across all of our social media channels. We’ve found this works best when your message is highly specialized and differentiated from all of the other photographers broadcasting messages out there.” – Jason Grubb
4. PUT THE CLIENT FIRST
“When I’m shooting an event of any kind, I always make it a point to take photos of the people who are making it all happen, the people behind the scenes (the client). Chances are they don’t have photos of themselves at work, and this thoughtful gesture will keep me in their minds for future work.” – Brian Friedman
5. BE YOURSELF
“Be professional, courteous, and genuine to everyone in the industry – it doesn’t matter if they are just starting out or if they are the guy who owns the company. You never know what connections and friendships you can form with your colleagues. Share your passion and your knowledge.” – Ning Wong
“I learned the hard way that growing my business won’t happen overnight, and it certainly won’t happen just because I take pretty pictures. People are genuinely looking to connect with someone before they invest in your business. They want to know who you are and what you stand for. They want to make sure that you are like them and value similar things. In order to connect with my ideal clients and grow my business, I have chosen the road of authenticity. It allows me to be imperfect and vulnerable, while I embrace who I am as a person and business owner. I now focus my energies on blogging and marketing, rather than doing the mundane tasks that I used to spend countless hours on like editing or post-production.
Once I started blogging from the heart or about things I am passionate about, I noticed a change in my ‘likes’ and comments. The responses to these posts blew up in comparison to the old 5-10 people (if that) who would actually leave a comment before. This ‘post all about me’ has gotten the best results so far. Say what? All I had to do was be myself, and it would connect with others? Seriously, 292 likes and 41 comments?! That never happened with my old blog where I ONLY talked about the photos or that particular shoot.” – Sarah Lehberger
Here at ShootDotEdit, we strive to provide valuable educational resources for your wedding photography business. In addition to that, we also provide professional photo editing services to help you bring down your post-production workload and dedicate more time in scaling your business. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.