A Day in the Life of a Modern Wedding Photographer.

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credit nem youth www.freestockimages.com

The role of the modern wedding photographer has definitely undergone changes over the decades.

Gone are the days where wedding photographers used to turn up 30 minutes before the ceremony and leave about an hour afterwards having taken around 70 pictures. Nowadays a 10-hour working day is more the norm, shooting upwards of 2000 images. A modern wedding photographer has to be a dab hand at still-life photos, fashion pictures, reportage, event-style pics. low-light photography, flash photography and much more…And they have to be good at diplomacy too– just in case they encounter Bridezilla and her mother or inebriated father.

A day shooting a wedding can be strenuous, and a photographer who faints due to lack of food and water and is no good to anyone. Quite often you can be on the road at breakfast-time and be shooting non-stop until the wedding breakfast which can often be around 3.30pm. You’ll need to be taking fluids during the day and have made preparations for food, as often there won’t be any laid on for you. You will also need to consider what to wear. A suit, shirt and tie may look smart but could leave you sweaty and uncomfortable or with blisters on your feet. Make sure you look smart but that you are dressed for function! Take money for parking meters and at least have a plan of where you are going. Finally, don’t forget that your kit is worth too much to leave it lying around unattended as a temptation to thieves.

And it’s not just a booking for the day of the wedding. The couple may want a pre-wedding engagement shoot, and increasingly post-wedding trash the dress or cherish the dress’ shoots, where they wear their dress again for some amazing set-up fashion-style pictures, perhaps standing in a stream or field of sunflowers. Remember those 2000 pictures you took? All these need editing processingand then presenting.

In the celebrity media focused age, the bride-to-be will of course have heard of things like password-protected web galleries, online print ordering, proof books and photo books, parents’ albums and canvas prints.

And did we mention the small matter of taking technically excellent, brilliant photos, timeless photos…..

Tips from the Pros: Wedding photography is big business: how to get ahead of your competitors

Weddings are big business these days and with the average couple spending around £20,000 on their special day, setting up as a wedding photographer can prove to be extremely lucrative indeed. However the wedding photography market is pretty competitive and if you’re planning on making a move into this potentially profitable area, you’ll need to set yourself apart from your competitors.

If you’re new to wedding photography it’s important to note that wedding photography is not just about turning up at a wedding and taking some photos. There’s much more to wedding photography than this and if your wedding photography business is going to be a success, you’ll need to be prepared to put in some long hours and lots of hard work.

January is traditionally the busiest month of the year when it comes to wedding enquiries so it pays to put time and effort into marketing your services, ready to capitalise on the New Year rush. The cost of wedding services continue to rise and most brides and grooms are prepared to shop around to get the best deal so with this in mind, you’ll need to think carefully about your pricing structure. When calculating how much you’re going to charge, there are a number of things you’ll need to take into consideration including: pre-production costs, the purchase or rental of equipment, materials such as film and memory cards, any expenses such as the cost of your travel to the venue, post-production costs and the cost of printing and producing the photo album.

It’s at this point that hiring an accountant can be well worth the money: they’ll crunch the numbers for you and will check that your proposed charges and pricing structure will leave you in profit after each wedding, leaving you free to focus your efforts on improving and developing your services.

Wedding blogs are ten-a-penny these days and getting your work featured on a popular wedding blog site is fantastic and more importantly free, publicity. It goes without saying that you’ll need to choose some of your best work and you never know, you could end up being featured in a wedding magazine.

Incentives and special offers are great ways to attract money-conscious brides and grooms to your wedding photography services. You could try offering incentives such as free additional photos if they book by a certain date or a discount for choosing one of your more expensive packages. Offering something – a free gift such as a luxury photo album – to couples who recommend you to their friends is another great way to attract new clients.

Social media is yet another way to market your wedding photography business. Free, easy to set up and use, social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and needs to be a major part of any successful wedding photographer’s marketing arsenal. Encouraging your clients to share their wedding photos on Facebook is something well worth and why not upload some of your very best work to Instagram?

Whatever you do remember to stay positive and be proud of your work and that everything you put into your wedding photography business reflects on you!

 

Using marketing tricks for your baby pics

Photographers specialising in baby and child portraits are ten-a-penny these days and if you want your photography business to stand out from the rest, you’ll need to pull out all the stops to attract new business.

The trend for new-born baby photos is strong and getting stronger. A crucial element of successful baby photography is marketing – not just taking great photos – but having a well-thought out marketing strategy and an effective online presence.

Where to start? There’s a wealth of different things you can do to market your baby photos but it’s important to remember that most successful portrait photographers find that the majority of their business comes through recommendations and word of mouth. Give your existing customers a set of referral cards with their finished photos and offer them incentives to encourage referrals. Why not offer a discount off their next order or a gift voucher? These are just a couple of ways to help them remember you when they’re talking to friends or family.

Where there are babies there are mums and mums love photos of their babies! A great way to tap into this potentially lucrative market is to market your photography services to local nurseries, playgroups, mother and toddler groups and primary schools.   Well-designed business cards are relatively cheap to produce and can prove very effective plus they can also be handed out with every order you send out, or at events and networking groups.

Why not think about running a competition for a free photo session? Again this can be targeted at local nurseries, playgroups etc and could be run along the lines of asking children to draw pictures on a specific theme such as ‘my new baby brother or sister’ with the winner receiving a free photo session. This is an incredibly useful way to raise your profile whilst collecting names and email addresses to build up a potential customer database for marketing your future campaigns.

Make the most of social marketing as yet another way to target local customers: set-up a Facebook page for your business – make sure you use your best photos – and then use the page to interact with your customers and invite all your friends to ‘like’ and ‘share’ your page to help spread the word about your business.

Other great places to target for marketing purposes include hair salons, doctors’ surgeries, baby and children’s wear shops and even local supermarkets. Leave a small stack of business cards and make sure you call in periodically to leave more cards.

A great looking website is another excellent place to start but the look of the website alone won’t make it a success. No matter how stylish or beautiful your website, it’s not worth having unless your potential customers can find it easily on one of the search engines. A page one ranking is brilliant but to be ranked at number one is the icing on the cake and for your website to rank highly, you’ll need to put in time and effort. The internet is home to a wealth of search engine optimisation tips and advice but if you’d prefer the support of a professional digital marketing company, most offer a range of services designed to meet the marketing budgets of most small businesses.

Last and by no means least, make sure you know your target market inside out. You need to know how old they are, how much they’re prepared to spend, what they’re interested in and what makes them tick. Where and how can you reach them? There’s no right and wrong answers about how and where you market your baby photography business as it all depends on who your clients are.

Have a try at Wedding Photography

Whilst us pro wedding photographers are stressing about capturing the dream wedding for the happy couple, some of the guests will be snapping away.  Here are my tips on making the most of being a wedding guest, apart from the champagne.

For most couples, your wedding day will be the Happiest Day of Your Life, but it also be the one that passes the quickest. However you look at it, weddings are one of the most high-pressure days in a couple’s lifetime together- and they’re filled with expectation. It can be a day they’ve been planning and saving for for years and in some cases, especially for brides, dreaming about since they were little. It’s the one day when even the most camera- shy person realises they’ll be having lots of photos taken and often spends a large amount of cash hiring the services of a professional photographer.

Influenced by bridal and celebrity magazines, they want photos that show their day how they always imagined it would be-all love, romance and wistful gazes, plus a few off beat fun moments when the guests let their hair down. More often than not, they want a full story of their whole day. From small details of their expensive shoes and dress, to them getting ready, reportage-style coverage of candid moments, the posh car, arriving at church, the ceremony, signing the register, traditional group shots, romantic couple images, flattering portraits, the speeches, the guests, cake cutting, the first dance the disco and/or band. Everything in fact!

If you’re keen to have a go at wedding photography the best place to start is to shoot a wedding as an invited guest- where the pro photographer has already been hired. That way, there’s no pressure. To shoot at a wedding like this, concentrate on candid and reportage-style photos rather than shooting over the shoulder of the pro. After all, you’ll only annoy them and take almost identical but poorer copies of his shots: useless to anyone. Instead, focus on the candids and unusual viewpoints that you are priveliged to as a guest that the under-pressure pro can’t necessarily get. While he or she is sorting out a formal line-up, why not shoot candids of the subjects from a different angle? Zoom in on one or two guests. shoot close-ups of the couple holding hands, maybe, or turn around and shoot picturesof the other guests who naturally look more relaxed. Be on the lookout for unexpected moments: a bridesmaid running around on the lawn, the bride sneaking a sip of pint, a grown up bridesmaid slipping outside for a sneaky ciggy – anything that tells a fuller picture of the day, sometimes parts the couple will have missed and compliment the professional shots rather than compete with them.