It’s no surprise that starting a business is hard. I so often run into other entrepreneurs who are lost in their journey of entrepreneurship. I’ve met some extremely talented people with a great product or service, but they have no way to implement it. Although I can’t speak for all entrepreneurs, I do know a thing or two about starting a wedding photography business. Are you an aspiring photographer? Then listen up! Below, I’ve outlined the first steps to take and a few key ideas to consider before starting your own wedding photography business. For me, it all came down to identifying my personal photography style and figuring out what I had to offer. Once I knew the answers to these top questions, I was not only able to determine my ideal client, but also how best to reach them.
Do Your Research
This is the most important step. You can have a great product or service, but if no one needs it, then your business may be unsuccessful. When conducting research, be sure to look at market trends, the average cost of hiring a photographer in you area, and package pricing. Also, remember to do a deep dive into your potential competitors – look at their prices and what services they offer.
Figure Out Your Photography Style as a Wedding Photographer
Most of us have a certain photography style that we prefer. Whatever you style is, the key is to stay consistent, so that when a bride books you she has a vision of what her images will look like. Various styles include photojournalistic, dark and moody, and bright and airy.
If you’re finding it challenging to define your style, I recommend putting together a mood board of images that move you or that you would want to create. Take a look at your board and find ten adjectives that best describe what you see before you. For example, the words I would use to describe my style are: bold, unique, fluid, and soulful.
- Bold – showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.
- Unique – being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else, particularly remarkable, special, or unusual.
- Fluid – characterized by or employing a smooth, easy style; smoothly elegant or graceful; able to flow easily.
- Soulful – full of or expressing feeling or emotion
If no words immediately spring to mind, another method of identifying your photography style is to choose two musical artists that relate to your mood board and describe their work. One of the artists I’ve used in the past is Maxwell. His work can be described as sultry, soulful, and heartfelt. In line with this, you can also look to movies or magazines for inspiration. Once you’ve put together a board filled with images and art that inspire you, try to extrapolate any common themes. I consider my style to be editorial photojournalism. I like my images to be unique, elegant, and graceful – something you might see in Vogue. Further, I implement bold and vivid colors and express the feeling and emotion of the day.
*Bonus: This step will help you write your business description, as well as identify your photography style.
Find Your Ideal Client
- Consider your target demographic. Now that you have a style, you can figure out who your ideal client is. First off, consider what type of bride would relate to your business description. A Vogue reader may shop at boutique and luxury stores. She may own certain brands. She may like fashion and anything trendy, and probably has a great sense of style. She may like Maxwell or a related artist. She may like soul music, jazz, neo soul, or anything outside of the box. Her personality may be bold and unique. This may all sound like a bit much, but trust me, delving into the mind of your potential client will definitely help you determine how best to market and who to market to.
- Attract your ideal client. Once you’ve narrowed down your target demographic, it’s time to consider how you’re going to attract them to your business. Wedding blogs, websites, and magazines are great for advertising but they are fairly expensive. It’s best to find alternate ways to reach your target – at least initially. Deciding on the best advertising methods for your company is largely based on your ideal bride, and it provides a fun opportunity to get creative.
- Get creative with advertising. I once offered a Kate Spade giveaway on social media, which was a huge hit. I specifically chose this store after conducting research on my ideal client. I also hosted a brunch and engagement session giveaway at a local boutique hotel. Where she shops, where she’s most likely to go, where she would be most likely to host her wedding; these are all questions you need to ask yourself and the answers should be in line with your photography style. My ideal bride likes the most popular restaurants, boutique shops, and hotels. She loves anything fashion and style related and anything trendy. On the weekend, I may find her at a concert or poetry show.
Beyond social media giveaways, other advertising ideas including sponsoring events and shows that would attract your bride in an everyday setting. For me, it’s women’s conferences, brunches, self-help events, and women’s career networking events. I also recommend taking things a step further and building relationships with venues that would attract your ideal client. For me, this translates to hotels and ornate, luxury event venues.