Best Way to Book Weddings?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by SuspiciousPhoto, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. SuspiciousPhoto

    SuspiciousPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I've just recently decided to turn my hobby into a business and I'm wondering how other members have been most successful in booking weddings? I see there are some online directories but I'm not sure how effective they will be.

    I've had a website designed and it's online but I need to promote it and to promote my business!

    All suggestions are appreciated.
     
  2. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Business cards are a BIG help. If there are appropriate places around town, like those bulletin board posts, put them there. Also, talk to managers at Jewelry stores to see if it's okay if you left some of your cards there.

    Another good way to build up business in general (unless you want to be weddings only) is to advertise at high schools for senior portraits.

    Whatever you're going to do, be it weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, etc., be sure to say that you do on your business cards. Have the address of your website as well as your e-mail and phone number (obviously).
     
  3. Sachphotography

    Sachphotography TPF Noob!

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    The best way is to shoot a wedding. Sounds like putting the horse before the cart I know. Get your name out there. Tell everybody you know that you are a photographer. Have a portfolio. You would be amazed at how peoples impressions change the minute you whip out a decent portfolio. I landed a gig shooting a Business's opening day with a book of Baby pics and Landscape pics. Im not saying put together a cheaply down so so book of you photos but rather a well presented display of your artwork. You want to show off you skill. Jump on Craigslist. It is free. I shoot 5-10 a month from there. I was shocked at the exposure I received from CL. Make Cards. When you hand someone a card it solidifies that you are who you are. They are inexpensive to have produced as well. In the end, the key to success is to have your name in peoples mouths. Make your work unique from others. This will also help promote your work. List your name on Websites that list photographers. I am currently finishing a site that allows people to create a profile. When people search for photographers they are given a list from each state. Feel to free to sign up for free. :)
    Professional Photographers Social Network

    Hope this all helps.
    Daniel
     
  4. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    What category do you list your services under? Ive been trying craigslist for months, and nothing real has come from it. Ive been trying creative and skilled trade, but the last couple are only getting about 5 views a day, with no followup.

    I am thinking my area might just be to small for craigslist.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Word of mouth is the photographer's best friend. So let everyone know that you are a photographer and remember that everyone you meet could be a potential client, so be nice to them.

    A big issue is SEO (search engine optimization). If you get get a high ranking on Google for your specific key words, it can really help. Seeing as you are in L.A., getting noticed amongst the thousands of other photographers will be a daunting task, but you do have the advantage of a huge population.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The first thing I would do is change my business name. :lol:

    You need to network with other wedding vendors: the cake people, the flower people, the DJ, the bridal shop etc.
     
  7. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

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    Bet you never heard this one.... I'm looking to turn my business into a hobby. Well I am. I have come to terms with it. It's way more frustrating than anything at this point.

    We love shooting weddings and haven't been getting much of any... maybe 3 a year. Looks like the hobby will have to remain a hobby. I have a great crew and we have invested an awful lot in our gear over time. We love going out, getting great shots, and working together with the families. For a few years I have pounded the pavement, still work on the sites, SEO, get biz cards out, had the co. name put on the SUV, put biz cards out at the wedding, nice website, great labs for pro wedding albums, I did it all.

    Long and short, I think there are way too many people out there, coupled with the crippling economy, etc etc. I reached the end of the financial rope and have cancelled all marketing due to running out of money. Now the website just floats in cyberspace. For those of you booking a lot, that is great! We will still shoot but I am not pursuing it like I did...if they find us, great! The hours and late night work for marketing and whatnot, not to mention the constant stress of trying to get clients, it's just too much. So, we are going to focus more on short films and me in my recording studio with music.
     
  8. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    I'm sorry that "guitarkid" had such a tough time of it. It's been a long time since I started but all of my work comes from word of mouth. I am still in the process of putting together a website, but am not convinced it will enhance my business, I'll tell you next year.
    Big Mike said it - word of mouth is the strongest form of business building. I know that this has to start somewhere but tell everyone who will listen and eventually it will start to roll.
    Business cards - really good quality - are a must have, do not leave home without them.
    Your business name - may I ask how / why you came up with the name. From an outsiders point of view, I would have a rethink.
    Network network network - bridal shops, flower shops, jewellers, reception venues (a must), wedding cars, printers anyone infact who can put work your way.
    I wish you the best of luck because, done right, this is great business to be in and provides a good income.
     
  9. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

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    Hi, are you asking me about my biz name? Well, it's my initials. I already had the name setup for my recording studio with the government from about 2002. I just kept the name since all tax stuff was in place, along with banking accounts. I did think about a name change to something more elegant like precious moments...etc. you get the idea.... but i just didn't. Due to what you guys said about word of mouth... If you get word of mouth going, it doesn't matter too much what the name is I suppose, as long as something is spread.

    PLUS, after 7 years trying to push video, then 3 years with photo roughly, to change the name, I didn't want to start all over again and lose whatever "buzz" (word used lightly) was going around.

    I have since decided to pursue bands in photography and video, but more importantly, my recording studio. I have created the new site and name, ROXY studios, for that stuff. I tossed around the idea of using ROXY for weddings but didn't want to start all over with weddings.
     
  10. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, it was not your name I was asking about (good explanation though) I meant the original post
     
  11. Breanna

    Breanna TPF Noob!

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    I did my first wedding in June via word of mouth. I used some of those images to create an ad on CL and just booked my 2nd wedding. I have two more that may book with me, one is a friend, and one is a friend of the groom whom I shot in June.

    CL is very competitive in my neck of the woods. You want an ad that is visual, yet simple, and you need to have something to draw their attention (special pricing, bonuses, etc). I booked a wedding from the first and only ad I put on CL.
     
  12. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Which section did you put your ad in, in CL? :) so far im still averaging 3 or 4 page views per ad in this area. One ad is for Roanoke VA which is a pretty good size, but still only getting that many page views. Plus im taking the ad down after a week and putting it back up again, to keep it near the top of the page. :)
     

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