I know what it’s like when you’re first starting out and booking that $5,000 client feels pretty similar to reaching out and grabbing a star. As wedding photographers it’s a blessing and a curse to see such a saturated market. At times it feels encouraging, that anyone can build a wedding photography business no matter what their background is. And other times it feels totally overwhelming and you wonder how or why you’ll be able to make it too. When you see other photographers “killing it” I want you to stop and think “look what is possible for me” instead of comparing yourself to them. Be inspired that someone has carved a path you want to follow. It means it’s all possible for YOU.
I remember exactly where I was when I booked my first $5,000+ wedding client. I was having a drink at a restaurant bar, waiting for our table. I saw the email notification of the signed contract come in first and then, the deposit. My business was just shy of being one year old and I had only been full time for 3 months but MAN I remember thinking and feeling like, “Wow, I’m ACTUALLY making this happen.”
To get technical, the package was $5,490 for an engagement session, full day wedding coverage (12 hours) with a second shooter, rehearsal dinner coverage and an album. Now my basic, no frills package starts at $5,500.
Do you want to know how I did it? If you’re really ready for it, ready to take some risks, put your head down, WORK and grow and scale your business fast, keep reading friend.
Top Ways to Book More Clients as a Wedding Photographer
- Make client experience your #1 priority every single day. Seriously, start every day with “How can I serve my clients better today?” and not “Is my Instagram feed on brand?”. This should be common sense if you’re in the service industry (which means you are there to serve people) but I’m constantly amazed at how often people forget this. Here are the main areas I focus on that make referrals my number one money maker:
- Always respond to clients promptly AKA within a few hours of seeing their email. This will come off professional and will build trust with your clients. When you respond to them immediately they feel important and SERVED.
- Don’t try and fit your clients into a box. The number one mistake I see people make is to try to force their clients to be “on brand” for them. We are in the SERVICE INDUSTRY remember? It’s about them, this is not about you. Let me them wear what they want, let them shoot where they want. You can guide them if they ask but this is about them and their story.
- Check in with them throughout the wedding planning process to make them feel served. I actually set this up as a workflow in Dubsado so I don’t have to think about it. I still genuinely want to know how it’s going and I always get to excited to hear from them.
- Invest back into your business. For the first 8 months I was getting paid for my photography jobs, I invested every single penny back into the business while I was still getting income from my 9-5. I purchased online courses, attended a workshop, bought lenses and an extra camera body and more. Heavily investing for these 8 months help me refine my photography and business skills FAST. It put me years ahead of people who started at the same time as me. If you put in the work, you will never lose on investing in yourself and your business. I always made the money back tenfold.
- Shoot for free. This is absolutely essential for building your portfolio, refining your skills and giving you the confidence to ask for what you’re worth. You need to experiment with different types of light, different locations, different couples, etc. Here’s how I went about shooting for free without becoming the “for exposure” photographer. I ONLY shot sessions for free if I reached out to the couple or model. I never said yes to people who asked me for a free session unless it benefited me.
- Raise your prices every 3 months. Does that sound scary? Good, it means you really need to raise your prices. If you are investing in your skills and your business, you need to be raising your prices because you are getting BETTER and better with all the work you’re doing. As you’re doing more experimental creative shoots, raise your prices. When you teach yourself fancy Photoshop skills, raise your prices. When you learn off camera flash, raise your prices. All of these added skills make you a more valuable photographer to your clients and you should charge as such.
Do these things for 6-12 months and you’ll be amazed at how you and your business grow. And please, shoot me an email, a DM, a Facebook message with anyyyy questions.