Middle market wedding photography can turn a decent profit, but high-end photography reaps even more rewards –– if you know how to wisely invest in your brand. Sure, your portfolio features beautiful images, but you can’t rely on talent alone to attract affluent clientele. The key? Giving off the appropriate image of success. You might not be in the 1%, but your clients are, and they’re more likely to hire a photographer they can relate to. The more money you spend defining yourself as a “luxury” brand, the more potential you have to make more money. here are some tips for how to spend your money to get the most return
Dress to Impress
It might sound superficial, but having an upscale wardrobe will definitely help bring in wealthy clients. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars converting your entire closet, but investing in a few well-tailored name-brand suits and shoes will not only make you look more professional, it will give you an air of success. You want your clients to think you’re a coveted wedding photographer, and dressing in designer duds will assure them that you run a profitable, established business already catering to brides and grooms in their same wealth bracket.
Invest In the Best Equipment
You can shoot beautiful pictures without much equipment (sometimes a simple camera, a decent flash, and a lens or two are all you need to successfully photograph a wedding), but having an impressive selection of gear will assure your bride and groom that they’re paying top-dollar for a luxurious one-of-kind experience. They probably don’t know what any of the equipment does, but strategically filling your studio space with bright and shiny gear gives your clients the impression you are familiar with, and own, state-of-the-art equipment. By the way, this is definitely a case of getting as much bang for your buck as possible. A client isn’t necessarily interested in the difference between a $5k parabolic umbrella and a $25k parabolic umbrella, but being surrounded by well-staged equipment will make them feel like they’re paying for a Vogue-worthy photo shoot.
Pay Up for Promotional Material
Your website is the first place clients will look for examples of your work, and it needs to shine. Don’t make the mistake of using a free host like Tumblr or Weebly. Instead, invest money hiring a web designer to create an aesthetically pleasing layout, as well as a top-notch graphic designer to create a unique and recognizable business logo. All your promotional material should be the best money can buy –– from your business cards, to your pricing package, to your stationery. This might seem frivolous, but splurging on top-tier brading is almost as important as splurging on a good-quality camera. It will impress your clients, they’ll be more likely to hire you, and ultimately the investment will pay for itself.
Scout Upscale Meeting Spots
If you’re thinking of renting a studio or office space, make sure to scout out a nice area of town. I’d rent a small space in an affluent neighborhood over a cheap space in a less desirable zip code, because the bride and groom will be in their comfort zone when they come in for meetings. You can even consider hiring an interior designer to style your studio, or a graduate student looking to build their portfolio is also a good option! If you’re unable to afford a studio or you work from home, meet your clients somewhere on their turf. Keep in mind that just because you’re catering to the 1% doesn’t mean you are the 1%. I’d rather not invite clients into my chaotic and messy personal space, so instead I find an upscale coffee spot in a well-to-do section of town and go over my portfolio and price lists there. And I always pick up the tab at the end of the meeting –– even if it’s the most expensive latte and croissant I’ve ever had! Remember, your client wants to feel wined and dined, and the more you can do to make their experience special and luxurious, the more reason they’ll have to hire you.
Brett taught High Fashion, High-End Wedding course on creativeLIVE October 21-23.