Photoshelter Wedding Photography Guide

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Text of Photoshelter Wedding Photography Guide


    How to Start Your Wedding Business Off RightFeaturing Vanessa Joy

    How to Establish a Great Brand for Your Wedding Photography BusinessFeaturing Justin & Mary Marantz

    How to Find and Book the Right Wedding ClientsFeaturing Tim Halberg

    How to Master Customer ServiceFeaturing Matt Kennedy

    How to Price Your Work CompetitivelyFeaturing Bryan Caporicci

    Reasons to Outsource Post Production By Jared Bauman



    2015 PhotoShelter, IncNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, without the prior written consent of PhotoShelter, Inc. The logos of the companies described are the trademarks of their respective owners. No endorsement is implied.PhotoShelter, Inc. makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation.



    Building Your Brand

    Marketing Your Services

    Screening New Clients

    How to Charge for Your Services

    The Wedding Day

    How to Take Natural Looking Photos by Tamron

    5 22















    PART I




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    ear God, please dont let me end up a wedding photographer. Ten years ago, this prayer was on the lips of most fresh-faced photographers

    just starting out in the business. A field long associated with intrusive flash bulbs, men in cheap suits and awk-ward family poses, wedding photography was generally the Plan Z for creative types and photojournalists alike. But these days, photographers are flocking in droves to the Church of Wedding Photography. So what is with all the converts?

    Wedding photography has gone hipboth in the world of photographers and with brides and grooms. A grow-ing number of clients have become noticeably savvier about photography in general, seeking out photojour-nalistic documentaries of their big day instead of Aunt Mildred smiling directly into the camera. Not that they dont still want photos of dear Mildred, they would just prefer a spontaneous shot of her dancing. Photographers have more than happily complied with this new demand. Glance through some of the work on Wedding Photo-journalist Associations site, for example, and it may be difficult to tell the difference between a wedding photo and a fashion shoot ripped from the pages of Vogue.

    So did a few forward-thinking photographers push the industry this way or was it their increasingly sophisti-cated clients? It might be a chicken and egg scenario, but either way the wedding photography industry is expanding in wildly creative directions. Whether you are here because you already know this, or because you are new to the wedding world, allow this guide to be a starting point in making the most of a career in this exciting industry.

    PART I


    Photo by Matt Kennedy

    Photo by Tim Halberg


    hile the profession of wedding photography has gained considerable respect, the industry has seen an equally considerable jump in competition.

    Markets like Southern California, for example, are notori-ously full of wedding photographers, but smaller markets have seen an increase as well. Similarly, the proliferation of social media has helped new ideas and businesses to grow in all markets. You cannot control the level of competition; but you can control the product you offer. Distinguishing yourself as unique should be your continual goal.

    If you only take away one thing from this guide, let it be this: brand is king. It is more than just a logo or the color scheme you choose for your website. It touches every single aspect of your work, from the photos presented in your portfolio, to the language you use to greet your clients upon first meeting them, to the experience you provide on the day of the wedding and beyond.

    BRAND PHILOSOPHYIn other words, brand isnt a look, its a philosophy. Start with defining your specific philosophy as a photographer, before you even think about stepping foot in a reception hall. After all, your brand will dictate your company name, web design, portfolio, advertising plan, budget and even your website domain. It can be very expensive and time-consuming to have to go back and change everything.

    PART I

    Building Your Brand

    This isnt meant to scare you. Figuring out your brand is a process and should be enjoyable. The best place to start is to think about what makes you uniquenot just your body of work. What is unique about your person-ality? How do you act in a professional environment? What do you love most about taking photos? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when com-ing up with a brand. Soul-searching is rough, espe-cially for creative types, but the more mental anguish you work through at the beginning will guarantee much less once you start shooting 40 weddings a year.

    Clients are paying as much for you as they are for your work. If you dont have a clear command of who you are, how will prospective clients know if they want to hire you?

    DETERMINING YOUR TARGET MARKETIf all the self-reflection talk has not sent you running for the hills, let us make it a little easier for you. The best place to start when defining your brand philosophy is to ask yourself what kind of client you hope to attract. Who is your target market?

    Figuring out whether you want to connect with quirky creative types in their 20s or upscale clientele in their mid-to-late 30s willing to drop $20k on photography alone is critical to your brand strategy. Dont limit your-self by getting too specific, but leaving the field wide open leaves you open to potentially unhappy clients. A strong brand is not only a highly effective pre-screening process, it also helps manage your client's expectations. Once you know who you want your clients to be, then you can show exactly what you are able to give them.

    Distinguishing yourself as unique should be your

    continual goal.


    One thing you might discover is that your target market doesnt mesh with your current working style. This is where understanding your own philosophy helps. Is it more im-portant to reach this type of client, or more important to maintain your shooting style? This will come up regardless, so its best not to wait to figure out the answer.

    Unless you are a part of your target market, take the time to do your homework. Study the world of these potential clients, particularly as consumers. What kind of customer service are they accustomed to? How do they prioritize purchases? Are they the type of people who value experiences over the material, or vice versa?

    EXECUTING YOUR BRAND STRATEGYNow that you understand exactly who you are as both a person and a photographer, and have a crystal clear idea of your targeted clients, it is time to set some long-term goals. Where do you hope to be in 5 years? What about 10? Do you plan on staying with the same target market, or do you envision slowly transitioning upmarket? Make sure that your brand is not only sustainable for 20+ years, but that you allow room for whatever growth you envision.

    At this point, it is time to determine how your newly defined brand will extend to all aspects of your work and business, even what equipment you use or the medium you shoot on (film vs. digital). Some examples to consider:

    > PORTFOLIO. Do the photos in your portfolio exemplify the k