How to Market and Compete without yet advertising...

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by kyrani_kanavaros, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. I'm starting up my wedding photograhy business. I have about 5 or so
    wedding booked thru word of mouth for this summer where my friends
    have recommended me. However, I am having difficulty getting jobs
    otherwise. After these paid gigs coming up I plan to put an
    advertisement in some wedding websites in my area and magazines. I
    also will have a website done in the fall. But in the meantime, what
    suggestions do you have that may give me an edge over the competition
    (who have websites, ads, more experience, etc...) Thank you and I
    look forward to your advice and suggestions.
  2. Keep focusing on word of mouth. Spend your money on the web site and make sure the keywords get good search ratings. Also list in on all of the free photographer classified sites you can find. With the remaining ad budget, sign up for bridal shows. Much more effective than ads since you have personal contact with your market for an entire day. If you can't afford a table at every show, print up a bunch of large postcards, register as an attendee, and pass them out to people milling about. Might get kicked out, but I never have. For print ads, I run a small classified with my web address in two local magazines. I also send postcards and make phone calls to lists from the bridal shows. If you insist on print ads, Modern Bride has regional publications, but I don't find them very effective.
  3. I'm not a wedding photographer, but I do have some suggestions:

    First of all, get some business cards made so you can give them to people you meet. When you do those weddings you have booked, you'll have something to hand out to anyone who asks for one.

    Secondly, get a website that shows what kind of work you do, what you charge, and what kind of packages you offer. Even if you plan to have a website up in fall, at the very least, you should put together a very basic website NOW. That way, the people you give your business card to will have access to more information about your services (be sure to put your URL on your business card!). If you don't have any sample wedding photos to post, simply list your prices and packages. A website can be had for very little money these days. And puting up a basic site doesn't require any programming skills--many web hosting companies offer easy to use tools to post your site to the internet (search "web hosting" on google or yahoo).

    Also, you might consider finding some wedding consultants in your area and informing them of your services--you might get some good referrals this way. Other people to inform might be bridal makeup artists, hotels, wedding cake shops,...

    Again, I'm not a wedding photographer, but these seem like a good idea to me. I'm sure you can get some better suggestions from others who actually photographs weddings.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Hi-

    I shoot for myself now and have been booked solid for the last two years. So far, so good. The thing that really gave my business a boost was when I got a website. Even in the beginning when the site wasn't that great I was able to book jobs. All I had up was a couple of photos and my prices. Eventually, I was able to book nicer events. The nicer events went up and the old events came off. And it just got better from there. My prices went up as well to reflect the nicer events and my photography.

    I began to advertise just on the internet. I didn't have $2500 to sink into six months of a magazine. I signed up for a year of Wed Alert for $250 and for $19.99 a month. I was already doing well but I decided, let me throw in The Knot, too. That's all I do and I seem to have a steady stream of inquiries.

    My prices are also reasonable compared to many other places and I think that definitely helps attract people my way. I offer A La Carte albums and prints, so if they place orders after the wedding, I make a little more.

    Word of mouth is great when you have a big reputation, but it is a very slow, unsteady, unpredictible way to depend on work when you are new. Well, good luck.
  5. You might try and find a "leads group" in your area. This is a group of business people in different fields that meet periodically (say weekly, for lunch or breakfast) and share information and leads about things that they come across and can not use. You know, the commercial printer that finds out his client is moving so he tells the realtor in the group, etc.

    One group I belonged to had an informal subgroup we referred to as the "Wedding Cartel" - a DJ/music guy, a florist, a caterer, etc. etc. Get in a group like that and you will hear about a lot more weddings as soon as they are announced.
  6. Since a lot of this thread has been based on advertising and word of mounth i suggest you read The Tipping Point which is a book on word of mounth epedimics. Also it has suggestions for advertising techniques and so on. May or may not help you, but a good book nontheless.
  7. I will have to say that like you, I have gotten new "gigs" by word of mouth from folks who have been in weddings I shoot, or friends/family of the bride and groom who's wedding I shoot. This is the best thing, because someone is actually selling your services for you.

    However, in order to continue getting more word of mouth gigs, you need to build up a portfolio, both online and print (in the form of recent or in progress wedding albums.) Even word of mouth referrals need some extra hand holding and consulting, and the best way to provide them with that extra assurance is by demonstrating your competence and being confident and compassionate when you speak, yet in tune by truly listening to everything they say.

    And quite honestly, be passionate about your work and strive to create the best wedding photography anybody has ever seen. And then be anal about controling the presentation of your online portfolio. Study ways that others present their portfolio online. Here is mine: but also look at the work of others.

    BTW I am a Web developer by trade, and have designed/impletented and host a number of business Web sites. If you are not yet working with a Web developer, and would like to discuss some options, feel free to shoot me an email.

    Best of luck to you!

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