Wedding Photography Advertising Pt4

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 4
Social Media, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest

It pays to be social....shhhhh

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest (You are here)
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

 

Social Media. How to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Google+ Places effectively. With a little Pinterest thrown in.

Short answer: Pay someone else to do it for you.

Long answer: Social media is a darling, imagine a place where thousands of people suddenly know who you are and what you’re all about only to forget everything in 10 seconds.

Like a Goldfish does.

0 to fishy in 60 seconds

 

That’s Social media. Because everything is constantly changing nothing endures in this world, yet it can be the most productive, cost effective and bridge building part of

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Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 5
Wedding Blog Advertising – does it work?

iwtb

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blog Advertising (You are here)
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

 

Advertising and Marketing using Wedding Blogs

Before I talk about wedding blog advertising and promotion I’m going to remind you of the caveats from Part 1:

  1. This is based on my experience and mine alone. Everyone is different, everyone has a niche. Any information given is from my own personal experience. I’ll quote actual real statistical figures publicly available.
  2. I’m not here to bitch. Seriously, I’m not. I’ve thought long and hard about mentioning names and companies involved and I’ve decided to do so when required. So if you’re reading this and your name is mentioned then sorry about that, please read point number 1.
  3. I’m a firm believer in paying it forward. This whole photographer section of my blog is because when I started out people fell over backwards to help and assist me. So here I am, telling you about my mistakes so you can get to where you want to be quicker or at least with less financial grief. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.
  4. This is something that nobody appears to talk about or more importantly….and I quite seriously believe…..are scared to. You don’t need to be and I want comments and interactions on this post (and you can do so anonymously if you choose to). I want to believe that what I’ve experienced isn’t the norm. Prove me wrong.
  5. These posts are subject to change. Young and old we’re always learning. I’m happy to be wrong and will adjust this post to suit.

I’m also going to add another: If you run a wedding blog this isn’t meant to offend you.

 

Unlike a lot of other sources of advertising, using wedding blogs is one of the easiest to monitor. In nearly all cases there are three types of promo.

A straightforward advertisement in the form of a box or banner ad:

A promotional blog post bigging you up to the masses. (Blogger endorsement):

Or via a supplier directory:

There’s others, but these are the main ones and the ones I’ll be talking about in this post.

On a slight tangent, some of the researched figures and methodology mentioned here can be applied to all types of advertising online. Not just wedding blogs.

Whenever you apply to advertise on a wedding blog you’ll be sent

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Wedding Photography Advertising Pt7

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 6
Using Forums and Facebook groups

Online communities are great - just watch what you say and think before you post
Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Using Forums and Facebook groups (You are here)
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

 Wedding Forums and Facebook Groups

Compared to all other types of advertising covered in the preceding sections this is the most challenging and rewarding of all of them combined.

For the most part, it’s free too.

Wedding forums:

There’s a wedding forum I regularly participate on which is the Hitched.co.uk website. I pay £50 for a directory listing but this gives you a golden ticket that allows you to post in their forum as a supplier. Not many forums do this. In fact Hitched is the only one I can think of and it does have it’s benefits.

I get one booking a year from it on average and don’t post that much. I would double that figure but I’m always already booked. So for the cost vs return I’m already up on pretty much every other type of advertising covered so far.

The beauty of the hitched forum is I can have a banner underneath each post populated with an image and I can interact with brides on related subjects. I can’t go in there and just drop a bomb blatantly plugging my services but I can chip in to related threads and in turn, other brides see it, go to my site…that sort of thing.
Being a sponsor is more rewarding than you initially realise.

 

So you’re probably wondering ‘but you only get one booking per year’ that’s not great? Well no, it isn’t. There’s more to it than that though.

1. It’s an excellent form of networking and for taking the wedding pulse. It’s real easy to be cut off from a Bride and Groom’s needs and current trends.

Interacting with other brides keeps you informed of current trends and what people are looking for. Priceless.

This allows you to tailor services to suit

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Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Pt7

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 7
Wedding Fairs / Bridal Shows

It's just not for me.

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs / Bridal Shows (You are here)
Chapter 8: What works for me

Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows

Usually when I’ve written these chapters I’ve written the content and added images later.

On this section though, I’ve added the images first because, nothing sums up how I feel about Wedding Fairs more than the above image.

You see I’ve never liked (most) wedding fairs. It’s because I feel like you have to be a market trader, hard selling your goods to get anything from it.

It’s like the Hunger Games but where everyone is nice to each other and nobody has to die

I know that when I’ve done them I’ve stepped back and let people come to me but in many cases you’re sharing a venue space with 9 other Photographers all competing over the same visitors. Some of which are quite aggressive in their sales and attitude. By the time they get to me they hate wedding photographers.

It’s not really for me.

Now actual experience with them:

Ok, so the first wedding fair I ever did was at a small private Airport in Shoreham. The only place this wedding fair was advertised was on their website and we paid £50 for the 6ft table.

A plane yesterday.

This was the weirdest experience ever. Because it was so poorly advertised not one person that walked through the doors was there for the fair. It was a Sunday and they were people just coming in for a Coffee in the cafeteria and to watch the planes landing.

Seriously.

However I took a full day wedding booking, one for Laura too and also

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Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Pt8

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer part 8
What works for me and some conclusions

In case you're wondering what's going on here. I've let an 8 year old flower girl use £7000's worth of camera kit. For a brief moment, she felt special, trusted and an equal. There's more to wedding photography than just shooting the wedding. You're an addition to the day and have a responsibility too.

 

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me and some conclusions (You are here)

Here in the last part of this series I’ll tell you what has worked for me and where my business comes from but first a small update to this post……

I’ve been asked numerous times if I offer a workshop or general health check of someones photography / website and if I can help steer them in the right direction.

I now offer these, they come in two flavours.

  • A full website SEO teardown with a written report and guidance on what to change / fix – £150
  • As above but with a usability and image critique – £200

If you’d like to take advantage of this service (and it’s money well spent), please ping me an email via my contact form. Turnaround is usually just a few days.

…and we’re back, what works for me and in no particular order:

1. Venue referrals.

So we all know venues are difficult to nail down. As a wedding photographer, basically, you’re screwed unless you shoot a wedding there and impress them enough to add you.

Even if you do make it to a venue suppliers list it’s one thing to be on the list and another one entirely to have a venue co-ordinator behind you pushing your name out there during the venue booking process

Take three venues that I’m on the list for. The total number of weddings I shot this year for each of them was 2, 3 and 12 – The number of weddings at each venue was roughly 60, 170 and 85 respectively.

Which one do you think actively sells their suppliers vs handing over a piece of paper with names on?
Turn up, shoot, do a good job, do a good blog post, copy in the venue...get it retweeted....

 

This is where building relationships and going the extra mile helps a lot. If you shoot a wedding somewhere, shoot for the venue too. Make them want to use your images, then when they get in touch ask them to add you. There are a lot of people who will give venues images for free. But if yours are good enough then they will trade something for them.

...if you're lucky and you're work impresses the right people you might get an email like this.

 

I learned this lesson last year when a venue contacted me for some images, I sent them away for free and afterwards wondered why the hell I did it. It’s not a small business like a florist, it’s a wedding venue.

Don’t take your focus away from the couple whose wedding it is, but during the wedding breakfast in your downtime have a considered walkabout. Take photos that sell the venue.

But don’t give anything away for free. You’ll get nothing in return, you’re just one of 100 togs through the

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Nonsuch Mansion KD Wedding

Nonsuch Mansion
Kat & Dan

Nonsuch Mansion London WeddingSummer seems like months ago and as things are now (a little) quieter I can catch up with the blogging.

Here’s Kat and Dan’s late July wedding at Nonsuch Mansion. I started off at their home in Earlsfield where Steph from Beauty Call was there to start off the makeup before finishing it at Nonsuch itself.  I wasn’t there for long before shooting off to the venue.

Nonsuch Mansion London WeddingOnce at the venue I nabbed the other details, jewellery, the grounds and the dress. (Which was from ‘All that Glitters’ in Wimbledon) and her shoes were from Dune.

Dan’s three piece was from Reiss and their flowers were supplied by Jay Archer who lately tends to be a complete blur whenever I see her, she works so hard. The table decorations were amazing and filled the room.

Nonsuch Mansion London WeddingMyself, I brought some balloons and a Triceratops. A Triceratops whose rampage could of been stopped had they of just thrown the bouquet at it. But who knew right?

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Nonsuch Wedding BG

Nonsuch Mansion and the Holy Ghost Church Balham
Brigid & Geoff

Nonsuch and Holy Ghost Balham WeddingHi all! Here is Brigid and Geoff’s wedding from August.

They had their ceremony at the Holy Ghost Church in Balham, London with their reception at Nonsuch Mansion, Cheam. Brigid is a school teacher and with her sisters being bridesmaids I was certainly kept on my toes throughout the day! This certainly helped during the formals too (especially with the group shot).

In the morning I started with the guys in Loughborough Park before heading to the girls in Balham.

Nonsuch and Holy Ghost Balham WeddingThis was my first time at the Holy Ghost Church. It’s an impressive modern Catholic church with a lot of space to move around in for photos. After the ceremony we headed to Nonsuch Park on the vintage Routemaster bus where the days events unfolded. I noticed when there that all of Brigid’s class had written messages to her and these were dotted around everywhere.

It doesn’t matter how experienced someone is, when someone lifts you up like that and has confidence in you, you’ll do a better job.

Special mention must go to both of them for the confidence and trust which they openly showed me. It doesn’t matter how experienced someone is, when someone lifts you up like that and has confidence in you, you’ll do a better job. So thanks to you both if you’re reading this.

Nonsuch and Holy Ghost Balham WeddingHere are some more images from the day…

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Ashdown Park Wedding Photography

Ashdown Park Wedding
Hannah & Ben

Ashdown Park Wedding
Today’s blog is about Hannah and Ben’s Summer wedding at Ashdown Park.

Their wedding fell on one of the hottest days of the year with everything taking place at the Hotel. The guys and girls got ready at different ends of the hotel with the ceremony taking place in the Summer House overlooking the lake and Ashdown Forest. The wedding breakfast and evening reception took place in the Richard Towneley suite (which is in the converted chapel).

Of note, Hannah’s grandmother made the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses from scratch. In all my years of doing weddings this is a first and it was the most stunning vintage dress too with wonderful detailing throughout.

Ashdown Park WeddingWhilst the makeup and hair was in full force in the girls room the guys were in the  opposing wing, in their dressing gowns biding their time. As with all prep shots I concentrated of the details and general bustle whilst also escaping and exploring the grounds for what I call ‘copy shots’. These are essentially the outdoor details, shots of the surroundings and such as often I don’t get the time during the rest of the day to do so.

After the ceremony at the Summer House there was a reception outside in the sun where everyone mingled before I went with the couple for shots amongst the grounds. There were so many nice places to go to it’s going to take me several weddings there before I’ve used all the great spots but one of my favourite place was behind the Chapel and the opposing courtyard. Lovely.

Ashdown Park WeddingAshdown Park is a very grand venue. The Summer House is an amazing place for an outdoor wedding because everything is in bloom and sets everywhere up with the most stunning backdrop. The large converted chapel complete with stained glass windows and the vaulted ceiling makes for a spacious and dramatic reception area.

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fitzleroir Barn Wedding Photography

Fitzleroi Barn
Emily and Mark’s vintage wedding

Fitzleroi Barn WeddingThis was a wedding with vintage touches throughout. Emily and Mark chose to have their wedding ceremony at Arundel Town Hall in the Atherley Chamber with a reception afterwards on the roof terrace.

The Atherley room is always full of light and excellent for photography and the roof terrace is always a wonderful space to work in with stunning views of Arundel Castle and the fields rolling away in the other direction.

After the reception we all went to Fitzleroi Barn in Pulborough.

Fitzleroi Barn WeddingFitzleroi Barn is a lovely venue. It’s totally self contained and away from passing traffic. Weddings held here won’t be disturbed by anyone. The courtyard is an ideal size and was perfect for Emily and Mark’s guests. Everyone had space but were within easy reach.

During this time we made use of the gardens within to cover formal photos but for Emily and Mark we went a little further towards the round bales of hay set amongst the rolling Sussex downs.

At dinner each table had a roast and one member was given carving duty (complete with chefs hat and apron). Then there were speeches, the photo booth and lots of dancing.

Fitzleroi Barn WeddingThere were many lovely touches during the day, the flowers were amazing, the centrepieces in Fitzleroi Barn were potted plants such as Lavender and Sage which also acted as table names. There was also LOTS of bunting everywhere. It was really well put together and a lovely wedding to attend.

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Buxted Park Wedding T-Rex

Buxted Park
Kimberley & Michael

buxted-park-t-rex-wedding-51Before I tell you about Kimberley and Michaels’ wedding at Buxted Park I’m going to use this opportunity to let you know that in the last 6 weeks we’ve had a MASSIVE site rebuild and upgrade.

We’ve moved from the .co.uk address to the more global .com, the site has now quadrupled in size (600mb to 2.4gb), it’s responsive and has been built from the ground up. We wanted the site to be more user friendly, informative and best of all have a bigger capacity for photos…we’re now on a dedicated server too so you can have the smoothest user experience possible.

We really like it and hope you do too!

So here is Kimberley and Michaels wedding. They were married at the Church of St Pancras in Kingston near Lewes with their wedding reception and evening festivities at the Buxted Park Hotel in Uckfield.

We did really well with the weather all day long and Kimberley brought her horse, Zambia too.

kimberley-and-michael-523-of-840It always seems an easy thing to do….in my head…photographing a bride, groom and horse but it’s never as easy as you think it will be. I found myself shooting on the fly and improvising as I went. With great results.

Then there was the T-Rex.

Now I’m always happy to take requests from couples and the Dinosaur Photobomb is very in at the moment so I jumped at the opportunity.

It helps to have a large number of the bridal party eager and ready to run for their lives (screaming) towards the camera too!

The actual T-Rex ‘meld’ took 6 hours to do. The top image right now is version 4.

I like being kicked out of my comfort zone with requests…as long as they aren’t spot colour shots or faces in wine glasses.

buxted-park-t-rex-wedding-63The Dinosaur Photobomb did give the unexpected benefit of teaching me more abilities in Photoshop which I can now carry on to other weddings (Brush jitters / Scattering / brush dynamics etc).

This was an awesome day, with amazingly cool people. Everyone was a star to be around…the first person on the dancefloor was Grandad (who’s 89), Michaels impression of a Monkey was something worth seeing on repeat, the wedding raffle, the Marryoke and there were some crazy guests running around the Orangery in pink wigs and red indian feathers from the photobooth. It was a fast paced action packed day!

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