5 Wedding Photographer Tips to make the most of Engagement Season
If you aren’t in the wedding photography business, it may have never occurred to you that there is such a thing as “Engagement Season.” However, those of us who work closely with couples who are planning their weddings know that the time between Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s day, is the time of the year when a disproportionate number of couples add a little sparkle to their jewelry collection and begin to bring their Pinterest board to life with wedding planning.
If you are a wedding photographer, the time leading up to and including Engagement Season is typically a little bit slower, but just because you may not have as many events on the books, doesn’t mean that it’s time to put your business on autopilot. In fact, I think that the slow season is when you have the most opportunity to jump ahead of the competition, and here are a few ideas to do just that.
1. Refresh your website and online listings.
Take this time to reassess the images that you are using for your marketing. You want to show your very best work, and only your very best work. Take this time to reevaluate and refresh the images that you are using. I find that when I revisit my marketing images, its also a great way to remind myself how much I have grown with my work.
Even if you don’t have a budget for paid advertising on sites such as theKnot.com, WeddingWire, and other similar listings, you should always take advantage of any free listing you can. (Actually, there are a few that you may want to question before making a listing, but all in all, free listings are a good idea). If nothing else, they increase your SEO link backs and you never know who will stumble upon one. For those online listings, you should only post your very favorite images that showcase the kind of work you would like to do again. You want to peak their interest and draw potential clients to your website.
On your website, you want to show enough images that potential couples can get a good idea of what to expect without overwhelming them with too many images. If there are too many images that aren’t eye-catching and swoon-worthy, you’ll lose them. Post your best work, and be ready to offer to show couples full wedding galleries similar to the wedding they are planning after they have contacted you.
2. Reconnect with Past Couples
One of my favorite ways to do this is to send a year-end Christmas gift. I send mine right before Christmas so that I’m on the top of my couple’s mind as they are seeing all of their friends and family during the holidays. If your budget doesn’t allow for a gift, send a nice card. Personalized, handwritten cards, are always a good idea.
Personal recommendations always weigh so much heavier than a random recommendation or ad on the internet. Think about the last time you received a personal recommendation and how little you researched compared to if you had found that company randomly online.
3. Check with Local Organizations
Our local visitor’s bureau is really trying to promote weddings. Weddings bring in revenue for the county and is a great way to promote the county in general. One day, as I was taking a look at their website, I noticed that they had a blog with a couple wedding entries on it, but nothing recent. I simply reached out and asked if I could do a guest post. They were so excited about that they asked if I would be an ongoing contributor to the blog. This is a win-win for everyone. I get my name out to potential couples in my area, increase my link backs for SEO, and they get an updated blog with relevant content.
Of course, you don’t have to commit to something that time consuming, and we all have different gifts. Think about who your target customer is, where they go, and how you can collaborate with their favorite organizations to stay in front of potential couples.
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4. Submit Your Work to Be Published
There are so many blogs and publications looking for new content. There is no reason to not submit your work. Check out TwoBrightLights.com to see a list of publication requests and to get an idea of the possibilities. Couples look at published work to get an idea of what they would like to do for their wedding, and if your work has been published, it gives you so much more credibility in a potential client’s mind. Plus, linkback from quality sites are great for your SEO.
I know some are scared to take the leap and submit, but hey, the worst they can do is say no.
5. Reconnect with Vendors
If you are already shooting the kinds of weddings that you would like to continue shooting, make sure that you reach out to vendors that you worked with over the past year to be sure that they have the images that they need. They depend on photographers for quality marketing images, so please, please be sure to get those to them. I actually have a way to streamline this process to make it easy for everyone AND help prevent vendors from getting in the wedding photographer’s way by trying to take their own pictures at an event. However, I always circle back around after I have all of my clients taken care of for the year to be sure that everyone has the images that they need.
If you aren’t shooting the weddings that you want to be shooting, reach out to the vendors, especially venues, where you want to be shooting. Take the coordinator out to coffee and get to know them. They typically won’t recommend a vendor that they don’t know, so make the first step and make a new friend.
This is just scratching the surface of all of the things you can be doing to get ahead during Engagement Season. I would love to help you with your specific concerns through my education program.
Thank you to Erika Brown of Erika Brown Photography for contributing this article.