Post # 1
My name is Kirsten and my husband and I own a wedding photography and videography business. We’re a little new to the wedding side of things, and this is only our second year of it. Especially since we’ve moved to the Bay Area, we’ve had trouble standing out from the tons and tons of photographers in the area.
I’m hoping for some brides to help us out and let us know what they really look for in a photographer. We’ve attended several bridal shows, and had trouble getting many weddings from them. I think that part of the problem might be our age. We’re both young, and I think that people tend to view that as a negative, though we have a lot more experience than most expect. We frequently have people ask if we were the ones who took the pictures, since we look too young to take quality pictures 🙂
Anyway, we need your help! I would love it if you could help us by letting us know how you found your photographer, why you picked them, etc. Thanks in advance for your help! We just want to improve! Can’t wait to hear your opinion!
Post # 3
Unfortunately, word of mouth is the best advertisement. Which I’m sure you’ll get. Obviously it will take time in a new location. I think your best bet, is to try to build a relationship with the local wedding venues. I’m not sure how you go about doing it, but if you get on their ‘prefered vendors’ list, you’ll have more success. That was where we started. That’s how we booked someone. Also, make sure you have an amazing website! When we looked at the ‘prefered vendors’ websites, if it wasn’t nice, they were done! You’re all about aesthetics, so if your website isn’t visually appealing, it doesn’t bode well for your photographer abilities.
Post # 4
I found my photographer because she photographed a friend’s wedding. I went to her website, which has photos and a running blog that she updates weekly with all her work on it. I immediately fell in LOOOVE and HAD to have her- no matter what. We are paying for our wedding ourselves and cost is a factor, but I loved her work so much, I cut corners on other wedding items so I could afford her. She is very photojournalistic in style, and that’s what we wanted- I didn’t want the typical “posed family at the altar” shots that my sister had when she was married. Our photographer’s pics tell a story…she is truly gifted.
So, I guess I would say you need to have a well designed website and a running weekly updated blog to showcase all of your work. (I don’t know how ‘young’ you are, but my photographer is younger than 30, so I consider that pretty young). Her age wasn’t really a factor for us, because her work speaks for itself. Another thing you might want to do is network with other photographers whose work is always in demand. See what they do, look at their websites, get ideas of what you might like to do.
Post # 5
Thanks so much for your response! It does seem like word-of-mouth is the primary method. It’s a slow process 🙂
Post # 6
I found mine through Google – I researched every photographer in my area to find one that I liked and who fitted our budget. Also it was very important how and when the photographers answered my emails.
Post # 7
I mostly used blogs I trusted for recommendations.
Post # 8
For me it was a combination of google and the recommendation of my wedding coordinator. I had seen my photographers’ work online and they were on the short list of local photographers I liked. Then I spoke with my coordinator about my preferences, and they were the most natural choice.
One thing you may want to try is a test-run engagement session. I chose my coordinator because she provided a venue day that came with no obligation. After doing that, I loved her so much I had to book with her. I’m basically envisioning a relatively inexpensive engagement shoot with no obligation, but it comes with a discount on your wedding day services. Maybe if they book with you after, you’ll throw in a print or an extra hour or something. Basically, this will give people a reason to take a look at you and take a “risk” (in their minds).
Another thought is to reach out to local coordinators and venue people and offer their clients a discount. Because I’m budget conscious as compared to other destination brides in my area (Mendocino County, 3 hours north of SF), my coordinator was always willing to steer less established people (the area has a ton of transplants) to me.
Post # 9
Oh, and as for our videographer- I found her through another friend- part of their package included a 2 minute video clip set to music of their wedding from the vows through the reception. She posted the clip on her Facebook page and everyone loved it!
To be honest, I wasn’t even going to get a videographer until I saw that clip.
Post # 10
Hi, StrackeProductions 🙂
Yeah, I gotta agree about the site comments. Because photography us all about visuals, I really think you should invest in a better site. I planned an out of state wedding, and the first thing we did was scout out vendors online, and looked at their websites. If one wasn’t very good, I gotta say, we overlooked it, and yours would fall into that category.
I’m definitely not trying to be mean at all, and I think your work is great. I just think your overall site look should match the quality of your photos.
I would also adjust your packages slightly. The “posted portraits” thing kind of confused me a bit. I would just include coverage time in your packages and call it a day 🙂 I think it should be understood that posted pictures are included in overall shooting time, right?
You might even want to have a generic “pricing starts at $__. Call for more information!”
Advertise on the WB classifieds and try doing some giveaways for discounted packages. You’ll get a few more clients that way, and some more exposure, word of mouth and references/testimonials. WB is a pretty active community 🙂
Hope that helps! You guys are talented, so I’m sure you’ll do great.
Post # 11
You have some really lovely photos though I’m not a huge fan of the website, might be personal taste and computer but it seemed dark and slow to me, I like a simpler aesthetic. But I like the important part, the photos!
I would also put a little bit of your personality on a blog, people want to like the vendors that will spend all day with them.
It might be worth advertising on blog that have a large bay area readership. I like offbeat bride and a practical wedding.
Post # 12
I belong to a networking group, and there are several photographers in that group. I just asked the one I liked best.
Post # 13
Hey Kirsten – We do allow vendors to post to the board, and your post is fine. 🙂
But do you mind removing the links to your website in your posts? That’s self-promotion, and we don’t allow it on the boards… thanks!
Post # 14
Miss Chapstick, thanks so much for the helpful comments!
As far as the “pricing starts at …”, I’m curious to know what brides think of that. I always personally preferred to be able to sort through the packages and already have a good idea of what the package I wanted would cost before contacting the vendor. It’s interesting to hear an alternative point of view.
Do you prefer less information?
Also, as far as investing in a better website, would you mind sending me websites you were impressed by? We’d love to get a better idea of what you are looking for.
Thanks for all your help!
Post # 16
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I found my photographer from mywedding.com (before I knew much about wedding blogs or had friends getting married). From there, I found her website and saw her portfolio, which I loved. And from there, I saw her prices were in a range I could consider, so we went for it.
After we booked her, I learned more about wedding blogs and saw her work on stylemepretty… I totally would have hired from that. 😉 I’d suggest getting your work featured somewhere, having a really well-designed website yourself (and blog your weddings… some brides will really like to see that!), and keeping some sort of price range posted somewhere (I wouldn’t have contacted our photog otherwise, because I would have assumed we couldn’t afford her!).