Erica Kay is a professional wedding and portrait artist. She is giving us absolutely brilliant tips on what you need to do to create a wedding photography business and to make it a successful one.
I can’t stress enough how excellent all of these tips are, especially those that have nothing to do with taking pictures. So please read carefully and let us know in the comments if you have great tips of your own.
- You don’t necessarily need a degree in photography. What you absolutely need is a knowledge of photography and business. You can never have too much of it. Continue learning, experimenting, and growing, even when you think you know it all.
- Take online courses regularly and supplement that knowledge with as many in-person workshops or training sessions as your calendar and bank account allow.
- Go back and relearn the basics every once in awhile. Lighting, posing, composition, etc.
- Find a mentor.
- Look into your local Small Business Development Center. Many offer free business courses and workshops that will teach you about running a successful business.
- Don’t be scattered. Find a photography niche and stick to it.
- Make sure your branding will speak to your target client. Don’t have hot pink branding with bumble bees if you want to photograph high end weddings in the city.
- Make sure your branding fits you and your style. Don’t force something that doesn’t feel natural to you. YOU are the most important part of your brand.
- Don’t skimp on the branding budget. You may use Photoshop for editing, but that does not necessarily mean you’re a graphic designer. If you want to be perceived as a legit business, make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time and money into your logo, marketing materials, website, etc.
- Keep your branding consistent. Make sure all of your logos, marketing materials, website, etc. are using the same color palette, fonts, etc.
- Be legit. Register your business and make yourself the CEO. How awesome does that sound?! Consider registering as an LLC so that you can distinguish yourself from your business should a lawsuit happen.
- Consider creating a business plan. This will help guide you throughout the startup phase of your business.
- Don’t rush into it. Take the time to develop your business slowly so that you don’t skip over the important steps of entrepreneurship.
- Insurance is a must. Get an insurance policy that covers your equipment, yourself, and any mistakes you may make/accidents you may have.
- Put customer service above everything else. You might be the best photographer ever, but if you don’t know how to deal with clients, your business will fail. Be great to your customers and they will (almost) always love their images, love you, and love your business. Great customer service is the backbone of a great business.
- Stress the value of a pre-booking meeting. Always meet in person before booking to make sure your personalities mesh well.
- Don’t lie. Never, ever lie to get a gig. Stay true to yourself, your abilities, and your clients.
- Do sell yourself. Brag about yourself a bit. The booking process is an interview, so don’t be afraid to discuss your strengths and accomplishments.
- Be a real human. Engage in small talk. LISTEN to them. Show them that you’re interested in more than just their money.
- Find a connection and nurture it. Do you have similar backgrounds? Did you go to the same school? Do you have similar hobbies? Talk about that. (My own unsophisticated) research shows that developing a connection from the beginning results in more bookings, greater client satisfaction, and more referrals.
- Show them your work. Not just a handful of your best images, but a full wedding gallery. Let them know immediately what they can expect from you so that there are no surprises down the road.
- Educate them. Give them all of the details about your services, your contract, your style, your workflow, etc.
- Be involved in your clients’ planning processes. Help them create their timeline, choose their photo locations for their engagement photos and wedding photos, etc. The more involved you are, the easier it will be for you on the wedding day.
- Prepare in advance. The day before the wedding, make sure you have all of your batteries charged, lenses and cameras cleaned, memory cards cleared, and gear packed up.
- Have a solid game plan, but be flexible. Wedding days are bound to be chaotic and timelines delayed. Calmly roll with the punches, but work quickly to make up time.
- Don’t be afraid to be a boss. You MUST be willing to take charge and give commands. Use your outdoor voice if necessary.
- Have backups of everything, especially camera bodies and memory cards. Never go to a wedding with only one camera or one memory card.
- Use off camera flash to set yourself apart. Creative lighting goes a long way in creating interesting, unique, and beautiful wedding photos.
- Back up. Upload images immediately after the wedding to multiple locations. Never ever ever have to deal with lost wedding images.
- Save yourself some time and headaches by using Photomechanic and Lightroom. Only use Photoshop on photos that need extensive retouching.
- Find a processing style you like and use it consistently. Avoid processing each wedding differently as that can be confusing to clients.
Source: Improve Photography