Added Value in wedding photography
Added value? What the eff is that then?!
Article written by Adam Johnson (ARJ Photography).
When the three of us got into wedding photography between 2010 and 2012 it was relatively easy to differentiate yourself. Not a lot of wedding photographers knew how to “do SEO”, WordPress and Squarespace weren’t prevalent and web design was expensive, social media marketing wasn’t a thing and Google Adwords was (and still is) dauntingly complex and expensive, especially if you got it wrong.
So if you were able to get your head around any of those things – SEO, self designed websites, online advertising – then sticking your head above the virtual parapet wasn’t all that difficult. And if you were taking reasonable photos on top of that, jackpot.
Fast forward to now, and oh boy how things have changed.
Knocking together a website that looks great and professional is simple and quick however small your portfolio might be. Crowdsourcing a nice looking logo is cheap and easy. And worst (or best) of all it has never been easier to take good quality photos thanks to the incredible recent improvements to camera tech and, yes, an abundance of free and cheaply available training.
So now most people have nice brands and websites, and a good online presence, how do you stand out?!
Your photos? Guess again. Clients can’t differentiate between style and quality like we can. Not many clients get engaged and say to each other “I think we need a documentary wedding photographer with an authentic vibe who favours exposing for highlights, and edits with a desaturation of greens and yellows…” We joke and of course you should (in our opinions) always be striving to improve your work and be the best photographer you can be, but the revelation is that it’s not enough to differentiate you from the other 20 wedding photographers on your virtual street, however beautifully worded your about me page is.
So the answer is added value (and sales). Doing more than the next girl or guy, and successfully communicating the value of that in your proposition…
Do you offer a free pre-wedding shoot? Free thank you cards? Always stay to the end? Gift free prints or online gallery credit? Deliver a preview gallery in lightning quick time? Do you have a killer wedding planning guide that only your clients get access to? What do you do, over and above showing up at weddings with a camera, that you can communicate the value of to your prospective clients?
You get the drift. Now is the time to do more.
In the past few years we’ve trained, mentored and critiqued over a hundred photographers through our workshops, mentoring and NineDots membership, and we’ve met hundreds more through hosting the annual NineDots Gathering. And the thing we come across most often is that people straight up fail to communicate what they offer to their clients. They put up their pretty website, load it with nice photos and… that’s it. In the pricing page they say what everyone else says – they sell the commodities of the product (hours, USB, albums) and fail to sell the intricacies of how they work and why what they offer is different and BETTER than the other 10 photographers that client is also looking at.
It’s not so difficult to set yourself apart once you start to do more. Or realise that you’re already doing more but not selling the fact that you do more… So here are some tips and things to think about.
YOU OFFER A FREE PRE WEDDING SHOOT FOR EVERY COUPLE
In your marketing and pricing you should be putting this front and centre and explaining why you believe this is such an important – no, vital – part of wedding photography. Explain how it works and show sample images from the pre-wedding shoot and wedding for your couples. Or even testimonials of why your couples think their pre-wed was so helpful/important. In doing this you not only sell the ‘added value’ of this free service, but you introduce doubts in the minds of your potential customers about photographers who don’t offer it.
YOU HAVE A KILLER WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE EXCLUSIVE TO YOUR CLIENTS
Your photos are so beautiful but they take work and planning and you help your couples in every way to make sure they get the best possible photos with a comprehensive guide on how they can plan their day and what to think about to help them get the photos of their dreams. Again, this positions you as ‘more than a wedding photographer’ and when they ask other photographers if they have this, and they don’t, you win! Added value!
YOU DELIVER A LIGHTNING QUICK PREVIEW GALLERY
This gives you a chance to discuss how much you put into your editing but also let the couple know they’ll have a killer set of photos to share on their social media within 2, 3, 7 days, whatever. In a generation that demands things ever faster, this will only ever be seen as a huge bonus for people (even if you’re already doing it but just not communicating it). Added value only works at booking time, no point keeping things a secret for delivery time where the impact on the profitability of your business is far less.
YOU OFFER IN PERSON CONSULTATIONS
In the last few years as many photographers have moved to Skype as their preferred meeting place, face to face contact at enquiry and pre-wedding stage might give you the edge as people will always value the personal touch and you kind of want to be doing things for your clients which prompts them to say ‘you didn’t need to do that’… if they say that, you added value and they felt it!
So as our industry gets more saturated with bodies, as the average quality of photography continues to rise, now is the time to add value to your service and proposition. Don’t keep valuable elements of your service a secret. Now is the time to do more and shout about it in your marketing.
How are you doing more and adding value in your wedding photography business?
We will be writing more articles like this for the NineDotsZine to get you thinking about your business. Through NineDots membership we will also be helping you along that road to artistic and business freedom with a bucketload of content to help you in photography and business. Join us!
Thanks for reading Added Value in wedding photography by NineDots. NineDots is the ultimate wedding photography community. We run the infamous NineDots Gathering wedding photography non-conference every November in London, and ongoing content and awards to help wedding photographers improve through NineDots Membership. Join the greatest wedding photography community in the world!